Thursday, March 17, 2016

Bl. Oscar Romero and St. Patrick


 
BEATIFICATION OF ARCHBISHOP ROMERO, MAY 23, 2015
 

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In November 1979, Blessed Archbishop Oscar Romero accepted an invitation from the National Council of Churches to visit New York.  They had planned three days of activity, including a service in Riverside church next to their headquarters and a mass in St. Patrick's cathedral,” recalled Romero’s biographer James R. Brockman.  A great crowd gathered for Romero in St. Patrick’s on Wednesday November 7, 1979.

They heard a dictated message that Romero gave over the telephone to Dr. Jorge Lara Braud, one of the organizers.  Romero had to cancel the trip due to the deepening crisis in El Salvador.  This afternoon, a Mass had been scheduled in St. Patrick’s Cathedral with the Salvadorans and Central Americans of that great metropolis,” Romero recorded in His Journal.  I dictated to him an outline of the message I had prepared,” Romero reported, “as well as a message for the Salvadorans who will gather this afternoon in New York’s Cathedral.”  Romero had spent days crafting a speech he was ultimately not able to deliver.
Like Patrick, the bishop and great missionary to Ireland of the fifth century, Blessed Romero was a tireless evangelizer who spoke to anyone and everyone who would listen, building bridges and seeking solidarity and support.  During the three years he was archbishop, he crisscrossed El Salvador making pastoral visits and made numerous trips across Central America.  But it may not be known that he also made other international journeys, including four trips to Rome in three years for consultations with the Roman Curia and the Popes.  He traveled to Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Spain in 1979, and to Belgium in 1980.
Romero canceled his 1979 trip to New York because he did not love traveling more than he loved his own people.  In fact, he traveled because he believed his responsibility to the Church and the poor required it.  As he noted after concluding another journey, “I always believe that the best part of any trip is the return home.” (His Journal, May 13, 1979.)

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