Monday, November 23, 2015

Six months a Blessed



A Salvadoran air force helicopter overflies the beatification ceremony.

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#BlessedRomero #MartyrOfMercy

Saturday, March 23, 2015 was not an ordinary day in El Salvador.  It was on that day, six months ago, that Archbishop Oscar A. Romero, killed 35 years earlier at the start of the Salvadoran Civil War, was beatified in a massive outdoor ceremony in San Salvador.  Half a year later, we look back on seven things that made the Romero beatification remarkable.
1. It was, as we said at the time, the largest non-papal beatification ceremony in church history.  The largest beatifications in history have been those where either the beatified subject was a pope or the celebrant leading the ceremony was a Pope.  Apart from such occasions, the Romero beatification, with half a million in attendance, was the largest on record.
2. The ascension of Archbishop Romero to the altars was also the most newsworthy event for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for 2015.  Even the canonization of Junipero Serra, a U.S. saint, by Pope Francis, on U.S. soil, took a backseat in terms of all around coverage, positive coverage, and impact.
3. It was a planetary celebration, proclaimed the Italian TV2000 broadcasters, and if you think that claim is hyperbole, consider that Italian TV carried it live, as did Salt + Light TV in Canada, TeleSur in South America, ESNE in the Americas and Europe, and CNN En Español, among others.
4. This next distinction is unique, but I believe it says something.  It was the only beatification ceremony that happened literally on the streets.  Most beatifications are held in some enclosed space, like a church, a stadium, or at least some park or field.
5. It was the first beatification on Central American soil.  Back in 2002, John Paul canonized Central America’s first saint in Guatemala, but none had been beatified in these lands yet.
6. If that last point seems trivial (this was intended as a trivia list), this next one is very significant for the people of El Salvador.  Romero was the first Salvadoran “blessed,” but he is expected not to be the last.  The local church is talking about proposing 500 others, most of them en masse, all martyrs of the recent Salvadoran Civil War.
7. There were statements issued the day of the beatification from both the Pope and the President of the United States (and the Secretary of State).  It’s not unheard of for the pope to issue a statement in addition to the beatification decree, but he doesn’t do it for everyone who is beatified.  The fact that the most powerful men on earth had something to say about this beatification reflects something of its unique and unusual nature.

Full coverage of the beatification HERE.

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