Sunday, October 05, 2014

Romero goes back to Rome

Ab. Romero at the altar of his martyrdom.
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The latest twist in the unlikely story of Archbishop Óscar A. Romero has been a Mass celebrated in San Salvador to bless a statue of the prospective Salvadoran saint. This mass—to bless a statue!—was presided by the Apostolic Nuncio, concelebrated by the Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador, with the participation of the former President of El Salvador, as well as the current speaker of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, and a representative of the Republic of Taiwan. The next stop for this statue is the "El Salvador" Gardens in Rome. It will be interesting to see who turns out for its arrival in the Italian capital.
The ceremony was poignant for other reasons. The liturgy was held at the same altar where the Archbishop was murdered 34 years ago. From the altar, Msgr. Leon Kalenga, the papal representative, who was born in Ghana, reminded the assembly that he stood on the spot where Ab. Romero had been assassinated in 1980. “Archbishop Romero was a great pastor and a man of peace,” said Kalenga. “I stand on the exact spot where ... Archbishop Romero met his death but his blood was not a seed of hatred or enmity, but of reconciliation and forgiveness; we are happy to bless this image of our beloved Archbishop Oscar Romero,” added the prelate.
Also present were the two surviving brothers of Romero and his vicar general, who is now president of the Romero Foundation in El Salvador, Msgr. Ricardo Urioste. “Truth, freedom, justice and peace were the pillars of the cause of Archbishop Romero,” Urioste declared.
The statue was created by the Salvadoran sculptor Guillermo Perdomo.
For his part, the Speaker of the Assembly, Sigfrido Reyes, said that surely, Archbishop Romero would be happy with the fact that his image will be installed in his beloved Rome, where he was ordained a priest, and he expressed one wish: “I hope that Pope Francis will soon announce the news we have been waiting for—the prompt beatification and subsequent canonization of Saint Romero of America!

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