Sunday, July 03, 2016

Romero relics attract, inspire faithful


The faithful line up to venerate the relics of Blessed Romero and the other saints.

#BlessedRomero #MartyrOfMercy
Hundreds of faithful crowded the Los Angeles Cathedral on Friday, July 1 to venerate the relics of a quartet of saints from England and the Americas:
  • Saint Thomas More, the Lord Chancellor of England executed by King Henry VIII in 1535 for his opposition to the British rupture with the Catholic Church;
  • Saint John Fisher, English archbishop and Cardinal killed weeks before St. Thomas, for the same reasons;
  • Saint Junipero Serra, the missionary of California from the 1700s, canonized by Pope Francis during his visit to the United States last year; and
  • Blessed Oscar A. Romero, the Salvadoran martyr-bishop killed in 1980 and beatified last year.
Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez gave the homily at the well-attended Friday lunchtime Mass. “These four saints had challenges with the authorities where they lived,” said the archbishop. “All of them! It’s interesting, isn’t it?”  Then he proposed the explanation for the fact and its consequences: “Following Jesus means that we are going to come in conflict with the authorities in society, just as Jesus did and just as the saints and martyrs did.”
After the Eucharist, the organizers played a recording of Romero urging the Salvadoran army not to massacre peasants. “No one has to fulfill an immoral law,” Romero was heard to say, in words that sounded startlingly in tune with the American bishops’ campaign on religious freedom.
Greg Weiler, a member of the St. Thomas More Society, a Catholic lawyers’ group, who traveled from Orange County to attend the event, said he felt chills when he heard Romero’s voice in the cathedral. Weiler had not heard Romero’s voice before, and the audio clip and its translation into English by the pastor of the cathedral, intensified his interest to better understand Romero’s message.
The relics of the Salvadoran Blessed were added as an exclusive attraction of the L.A. leg of the tour and received top billing in the promotion of the event, given the presence of so many Salvadorans in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The use of the relics was made possible by the beneficence of Maria Hilda and Guillermo Gonzalez, who loaned the relics—a piece of a sheet with the blood of the martyr and a microphone he had used.
Maria Hilda Gonzalez recounted how she and her husband obtained the microphone during the funeral of the martyr archbishop on March 30, 1980 after being trapped inside the Salvadoran cathedral when disturbances disrupted the funeral rites for the prelate. Her husband found Romero’s microphone discarded nearby.
Mrs. Gonzalez explained the importance of the microphone, which “we have preserved all our life knowing that he [Romero] often said that we have to be the microphones of God and we ask God through the intercession of Archbishop Romero to let us be true microphones, seeking as he did justice and peace in our families and in our communities and our country.”
Speaking to Super Martyrio, Mr. Gonzalez also highlighted the importance of preserving the memory of the Blessed. “We have to keep Archbishop Romero in our hearts because he gave his life for us,” he said.
In his homily, Archbishop Gomez asked the four revered figures to work a miracle. “We ask these saints today to intercede for the persecuted church,” Gomez said, “to give our brothers and sisters courage and comfort”.

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