JUBILEE YEAR for the CENTENNIAL of BLESSED ROMERO, 2016 — 2017
The Congregation for Divine Worship, the entity charged with handling liturgical affairs in the Catholic Church, has granted that an “optional memorial” of Blessed Oscar Romero may be celebrated annually in St George’s Cathedral Southwark (London), every March 24th, on the anniversary of his martyrdom. The faculty was granted in an “indult” [Latin text here; English translation here] a license granted by the pope authorizing an act that the common law of the Church does not permit.
Because Romero has been beatified but not yet canonized, veneration is only currently allowed in El Salvador; the indult makes the London Cathedral the only place outside El Salvador where a Romero “cult” is properly sanctioned. The rare permission was granted following a petition by the Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Rev. Peter Smith, to have Blessed Romero added to the liturgical diocesan calendar. The indult that was granted is limited to the cathedral church, because it contains a shrine enclosing Romero relics installed in 2013 [more].
The indult is signed by Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the CDW, who made headlines last year after calling for a return to “ad orientem” worship in Advent 2016. It is also signed by Archbishop Arthur Roche, the Secretary of the Congregation—himself, an Englishman.
The Archdiocese of Southwark announced that it will take advantage of the indult to celebrate a Mass in honor of Blessed Romero in St George’s Cathedral at 12.30 pm on Friday 24th March 2017, presided by Bishop Patrick Lynch, auxiliary bishop of Southwark. Bishop Lynch will be vested in a red chasuble used in the beatification ceremony and presented to the Cathedral by the Diocese of San Salvador; he will also use the new collect prayer for Blessed Oscar Romero.
An initiative for U.S. bishops to request a similar indult in 2015 floundered.