Saturday, May 19, 2018

IT'S ROME!


JUBILEE YEAR for the CENTENNIAL of BLESSED ROMERO, 2016 — 2017


Romero at St. Peter's, as a priest and as archbishop. The next time he will be there as a saint.
#BlessedRomero #Beatification
Oscar Romero, the martyred archbishop from El Salvador, will be canonized in Rome on October 14 of this year. Pope Francis so decided it in a consistory of cardinals, as had been anticipated. Archbishop Romero will be raised to the altars alongside Pope Paul VI and other new saints during a synod of bishops that will be held that month in the Vatican. The announcement, which came on the morning of Saturday May 19, ends weeks of anticipation and speculation about the canonization of a man many already called “St. Romero of America.”
The news bursts out in a festive atmosphere in the saint’s homeland, where the Archdiocese of San Salvador ordered that “at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday the 19th, when the news of the place and the date of the Canonization are made known, the bells of all the parishes ring as a sign of joy for the news.”  Other dioceses circulated similar instructions. The night before the announcement, San Salvador Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for the consistory in the Crypt of the Metropolitan Cathedral where Romero’s remains rest, and later the faithful held a vigil in the place, with tamales and prayers allusive to the martyred bishop.
The consistory marks the end of the approval process for Romero's sainthood, which was long and complicated. From a technical point of view, the consistory is the “easiest” step in the entire process; nobody doubted that Romero would make the cut. No one who reaches that level stops there. In fact, some even say it is a legal fiction. However, the symbolic value is enormous because it means that everything is complete. The Romero case fascinates because it presents a great reversal of fortunes. Romero had been abandoned, his fellow bishops were against him, he died under harsh accusations, his funeral was a catastrophe, and several successive governments of his own country wanted to relegate him to oblivion. But his fame has been steadily growing, and now there are books, a Hollywood movie, a statue in London inaugurated by the Queen, and even an airport and an asteroid are named after him. This process symbolizes the grand finale of his great comeback.
The selection of Rome as the site for the ceremony will undoubtedly disappoint some of Romero’s followers in El Salvador, who obviously wanted him to be canonized there. The Salvadoran bishops’ conference sent a letter to Pope Francis urging that Romero, known as a champion of the poor, should be canonized along with the poor of his nation. Last Monday, Francis summoned one of those bishops, Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez, to the Vatican presumably to explain why it would be preferable to convert the Salvadoran into “San Romero of the World” by canonizing him in Rome.
The Roman scenario is different from what a Latin American canonization would have been in several respects. First, the combination of a Latin American Pope, a Latin American popular saint, in Latin American lands, would have raised the event to a continental celebration. Second, a canonization in El Salvador would have meant that only Romero would be canonized in the ceremony, making the canonization intensely Romero-centered. By contrast, in Rome, Romero will be one of six saints and will not be the central reference, since Paul VI outranks him. In addition, in the practice of Pope Francis, the homilies during canonizations usually make only brief references to the canonized saints. Undoubtedly, the prevailing judgment is that the Church needs to make Romero more universal and less a Salvadoran or Latin American phenomenon.

Now he belongs to the worldwide Church.
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