JUBILEE YEAR for the CENTENNIAL of BLESSED ROMERO, 2016 — 2017
This Wednesday, May 23 marks three years since Archbishop Oscar Romero was beatified, and less than a week after it was announced that he will be canonized by Pope Francis on Sunday, October 14, during a synod of bishops at the Vatican. For a bit of context, the time between Romero’s beatification and his canonization will be similar in duration to the period he served as Archbishop of San Salvador from 1977 to 1980 (roughly three years).
As the third anniversary of his beatification arrives, the news about his imminent canonization has already circled the world and traversed El Salvador. In an interview with Salvadoran television, documentary filmmaker Gianni Beretta (“The Claim”) pointed out that the announcement “has been highlighted by all the newspapers in Europe.”
In fact, the news has been featured in media all over the world. Most of the headlines mention Archbishop Romero along with Pope Paul VI in identifying who will be canonized. In fact, several headlines even place Archbishop Romero above the great conciliar pontiff (see image).
One of the articles focused on Romero was the Wall Street Journal’s report, written by its respected Vatican correspondent Francis X. Rocca.
In the French newspaper La Croix, Nicolas Senèze reports that during the consistory, when summarizing the lives of the new saints (six in all), “Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, particularly addressed Oscar Romero.”
The first journalist to break the news of the canonization date was Joshua McElwee, in the National Catholic Reporter. In his report, published before the consistory was even concluded, McElwee emphasizes that the announcement “represents the culmination of one of the clearest turnabouts of Francis' nearly five-year papacy.”
In the British Catholic newspaper The Tablet, Christopher Lamb wrote that “Francis regards both Paul VI and Romero as guiding lights for the contemporary church.” He added that the two saints “might also be described as two pillars of his pontificate.”
Other journalists brought other points of view. On the Italian site Il Sismografo, Luis Badilla commented that the announcement came on the same day of the funeral of Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, for many years “a tenacious and rigid opponent” of Romero and his canonization process. In El Bolivia’s El Mundo, the emphasis was on the canonization announcement for Nazaria Ignacia March, born in Spain, but also considered the first Bolivian saint, because she lived a long time in that country.
Finally, the news has naturally made the largest waves in El Salvador. The local Church has tried to harness the interest to call the faithful to a deep reflection. In a statement, the current Archbishop of San Salvador challenged his flock that the canonization “lead us to overcome the causes of [gang-related] violence [that plagues the nation], the grave poverty of so many of our brothers and sisters, social exclusion, corruption and impunity, so that the peace for which Archbishop Romero sacrificed his life becomes a reality for our people.”
That would be the greatest miracle that “Saint Romero of the World” could obtain for his country.