Friday, June 10, 2016

The last journey of Oscar Romero


#BlessedRomero #MartyrOfMercy
A Salvadoran crossed the US border after walking in the footsteps of many other immigrants spilling out of the Sonoran Desert to pass into Tijuana and then to San Diego, California. It is Archbishop Oscar Romero, the Blessed, whose image has been taken on a pilgrimage called “the Migrant Passage”, from his native country to the great nation of the North. The caravan arrived in the US on Thursday June 9, a few steps shy of its final destination of Trinity Episcopal Church in Los Angeles, on Sunday June 12.
The image of Blessed Romero was borne on a makeshift carriage atop a pickup truck that carried it from El Salvador to the United States, on a pilgrimage designed by the Romerista Inter-Sectoral Council of El Salvador (CRIES, for its Spanish name) to highlight the serious risks that threaten the life and liberty of people who are forced to migrate from their country. CRIES is made up of various organizations including the Lutheran World Federation/World Service Department; the Anglican Episcopal Church; and representatives of various other institutions.
The murder of Archbishop Romero triggered the Salvadoran civil war, which unleashed a wave of Salvadoran refugees to the United States during the eighties. Today, the migration of Central Americans to the United States, as well as the migration of African refugees to Europe are two of the most serious humanitarian crises that challenge the international community.
The pilgrimage began with a tour within El Salvador, which took it to iconic places like the towns of Aguilares and El Paisnal, home to another great Salvadoran martyr, Father Rutilio Grande. It visited the San Salvador Cathedral and the Chapel of Hospitalito Divina Providencia, where Blessed Romero faced his martyrdom. The pilgrimage toured 10 provinces, 27 municipalities, 32 churches and was witnessed by over 10 thousand people inside the country.
The delegation was present when Salvadoran postal officials unveiled stamps with the theme “Archbishop Romero, the passage of the migrant person”, in support of the pilgrimage.
It left El Salvador on May 28 and followed a route that took it to the following geographical points:
  • El Progreso, Jutiapa, Guatemala, on May 28;
  • Guatemala City, May 29;
  • Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, May 30;
  • Tecun Uman, Guatemala; entering Mexico through San José de Tapachula, on May 31;
  • Tierra Blanca, Veracruz and Oaxaca, on June 2;
  • It visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, June 3;
  • Guadalajara on June 4;
  • It crossed the Sonoran desert on June 7; and
  • It reached the American border on June 9.
All along the route, it visited places of import to the plight of migrants, including shelters, sanctuaries and churches.

The pilgrimage’s passage through four American countries has highlighted the figure of the Salvadoran Blessed, drawing closer to the ideal of “St. Romero of the Americas”. The trip also follows a tradition of carrying religious icons from El Salvador abroad—several years ago, an image of the Divine Savior of the World, the Salvadoran patron saint, was taken to Los Angeles in similar fashion, where he is now featured in the annual “Day of the Salvadoran” in that city.
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