Thursday, August 04, 2016

Blessed Romero proposed patron of WYD 2019


Pope Francis with Romero icon at August 3, 2016 General Audience.

#BlessedRomero #MartyrOfMercy
Panamanian bishops in Rome paying a courtesy call on Pope Francis to thank him for selecting Panama for World Youth Day in 2019 proposed Blessed Oscar Romero as a patron saint of the triennial Catholic gathering.  Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa Mendieta of Panama told journalists Aug. 3 that Blessed Romero is a role model for pastors, a shepherd who was close to his people and who gave his life for others.  “I think the figure of (Blessed) Romero is always present as a model that should all follow as Christians, of being someone close to others, of being able to denounce (injustice) and announce (the Gospel),” he said.
Panamanian Cardinal José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán told the Vatican newspaper that Romero is a “spiritual reference” for the event.  “The central one at the moment is Archbishop Romero, who was beatified last year,” Cardinal Lacunza said.  “He he had a pastoral line in defense of the neediest and the excluded, the same as Pope Francis. He was a man, a shepherd, who in life defended the rights of poorest of the poor and the liberty of all persons, despite the oppression of a military dictatorship. I believe that this will also give voice to social issues that still apply in some Central American countries.”
Bishop Manuel Ochogavia Barahona told Catholic News Service that the people of Central America “have a great affection” for the Salvadoran archbishop and that he remains a symbol of hope for “all peoples of Latin America.”  Ochogavia said that he and his fellow bishops were attending the initial organizational meetings with the Pontifical Council for the Laity and that the themes and patron saints of the event will ultimately be decided by Pope Francis “in the coming months.”
Despite such disclaimers, the Panamanians seemed to make a full court press for Blessed Romero, discussing their proposal to make Romero the patron saint of World Youth Day 2019 with various press outlets.  Archbishop Ulloa told Vatican Radio that the selection of Panama for the event was a balm to all Central and Latin America and that he entrusted the success of the event to Blessed Romero and Saint Mary the Ancient, the Patroness of Panama.
The Panamanian prelates have been publicly supportive of Romero’s canonization cause.  In October 2012, Archbishop Ulloa blessed a bust of Romero on Panama’s Coastal Beltway, one of the sites being examined for the WYD events.  Cardinal Lacunza gave a powerful sermon honoring Romero in San Salvador in March 2015.  The President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, was one of the Latin American statesmen to attend the beatification last year.
Additionally, the lobbying for Romero may be part of the regional strategy to bring World Youth Day to the isthmus.  Panama obtained the support of all the Central American bishops, helping it to edge out South Korea for the honor of hosting the event.  The other Central American governments also supported Panama’s campaign, with the promise that the entire region would benefit from the selection of Panama for the event.

Panama’s selection was announced by Pope Francis at the end of WYD2016 in Krakow, Poland this weekend. The Pope traditionally attends the event.
The Panamanian Church has scheduled a press conference this Friday at the Panama airport when the bishops return from their trip to Rome.

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