BEATIFICATION OF ARCHBISHOP ROMERO, MAY 23, 2015
#BlessedRomero #MartyrOfMercyThe Archdiocese of San Salvador has authorized my “Blessed Oscar Romero Chaplet” which will be handed out to the faithful during the solemn Mass for the start of the Jubilee Year for the Centenary of the Birth of the Blessed on Monday August 15 at the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Salvador. The Chaplet is a variation of the Rosary with the usual “mysteries” substituted with five episodes from the life of the martyr:
· The celebration of his first Mass in 1944
· His convening the “Single Mass” for the funeral of Father Rutilio Grande in 1977
· His repossession of Grande’s parish after a military occupation in 1977
· Romero’s invitation to a Holy Hour in the Chapel of the Divine Providence Hospital
· Romero’s last Mass on March 24, 1980 which was the occasion of his martyrdom
[The prayer was published earlier in this blog.] Each of these vignettes from the life of Romero is a Eucharistic phenomenon and traces the life of Romero, including his prophetic denunciation, through his Eucharistic devotion. I was inspired to develop the Chaplet for Romero’s birthday in 2005, and received the approval of the Church this year when on July 28, on the feast of Sts. Nazarius and Celsus, fourth century martyrs, Msgr. Rafael Urrutia, chancellor of the Archdiocese of San Salvador, gave the “nihil obstat” and H.E. Msgr. José Luis Escobar Alas, Archbishop of San Salvador, granted the “imprimatur” to the Chaplet.
The production of the elegant pamphlet that constitutes the first print edition of the Chaplet was entrusted to Cultura Romeriana, under the artistic direction of Paulita Pike and design by Caro Jaime. It was reproduced in the printers of the Dutriz Group through the generous patronage of the San Salvador Archdiocese. Paulita took the flyer to Ciudad Barrios, the native land of Blessed Romero and left copies with the parish priest of the local church and with the Papal Nuncio to El Salvador.
The spiritual objective of the Chaplet is to help the believer to meet Blessed Romero in the spiritual realm in which Romero moved to understand his message in the context in which he intended it. Pope Benedict XVI summarized that context when he described one of the central ideas of the Second Vatican Council to be that, after we encounter Jesus in the Eucharist “we go out into the world … it is an encounter with the Risen One who renews Creation; his true purpose is to create a world that is a response to the love of God” (Last Address to Clergy of Rome, February 14, 2013). Blessed Romero does not go out into the world as a politician, but as a “Heroic witness of the Kingdom of God, Kingdom of justice, brotherhood and peace” (Beatification Decree, May 2015). The encounter with the Risen One awakens Blessed Romero to “the political dimension of the faith” (Speech in Leuven, February 2, 1980) inspired from the Eucharist; this is why it is so significant that his martyrdom takes place during its celebration.
When Blessed Romero acts as an intermediary between the kingdom and the world, he assumes an apparent duality—through which he is able to “drink from the double chalice of the Altar and of the People, with one single hand consecrated to service”—in the immortal words of Dom Pedro Casaldaliga (“Saint Romero of the Americas, Our Shepherd and Martyr”). The proud and hard of heart believed these qualities to be irreconcilable contradictions and mistook Romero’s “evangelical option” for a partisan political option (Card. Amato, Beatification Homily). The Chaplet helps us to recover the sanctifying mission of Romero in history.
In this sense, his first Solemn Mass, celebrated in his homeland in 1944, offered for the protection of the pope, becomes the first assertion of his slogan “To Think and Feel with the Church,” which evokes his unconditional adherence to the Church and its pastors.
His decision to convene the “Single Mass” to teach the value of the Mass after the martyrdom of Father Grande, highlights his deep recognition that the Mass is the gateway par excellence between the Kingdom and the world.
When he enters Aguilares to take possession of the occupied Church, recover the desecrated Hosts, and lift up the offended villagers, he is explicitly insisting on the dignity of man as a direct result of the sacredness of the Eucharist.
When calls us to Eucharistic adoration while inviting us to visit the sick, he is literally reaching the link between the encounter with the Lord and the encounter with our neighbor that Pope Benedict (and Pope Francis) tells us that the Council requires us to honor.
Finally, all of this is made concrete in Blessed Romero’s last Mass, in which he himself becomes “sacrifice and celebrant” (González Huguet, “Hymn to Msgr. Romero”), and merges the concepts of sacrament and service. “His blood commingled with the redemptive Blood of Christ” (Card. Amato, Beatification Homily).
In this Chaplet, by drawing on the profoundest Eucharistic moments in the public ministry of Blessed Romero, we acknowledge what his close collaborator Msgr. Ricardo Urioste (R.I.P.) recognized: “We must follow this man because he is following God.”