JUBILEE YEAR for the CENTENNIAL of BLESSED ROMERO, 2016 — 2017
|Poster citing Romero about the poor: ‘in them is the call of the Holy Spirit.’ |
Source photo courtesy Canonization Office.
Many Catholics will be awaiting the announcement of the date and place for the canonization of Archbishop Oscar Romero and other saints being made by the Vatican this Saturday, May 19, after a consistory for that purpose with the Pope and his cardinals. But Ground Zero for Romero’s followers will be the Crypt of the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Salvador, which contains his Tomb, and where the faithful at the urging of the secular group Cultura Romeriana will hold a vigil beginning Friday night, until the consistory at the Vatican, which begins at 10 a.m. Roman time—barely 2 o'clock in the morning in San Salvador.
What: Mass & Vigil for Blessed Romero Canonization Announcement
When: Friday, May 18, beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Crypt of the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Salvador
On Thursday, May 17, Cultura Romeriana announced that the vigil would begin with Holy Mass presided over by San Salvador Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas at 8 on Friday. That same day (Thursday) the Archdiocese issued a communiqué calling its parishes to organize vigils like Cultura Romeriana’s. The vigil has been set out as a parallel to—and a preview of—the vigil of Pentecost, which will take place in the Cathedral on Saturday night. It is clear from the comments of several people familiar with the preparations that the event will have the flavor of a popular party, with tamales and coffee for the participants, as well as readings and reflections on the first Salvadoran saint.
The proximity of the announcement to the Feast of Pentecost on Sunday colors the spiritual tone of this time. The Vigil in the Crypt will begin on the 43rd anniversary of the publication of then Bishop Romero’s first pastoral letter, which was entitled "The Holy Spirit in the Church," and which was published on May 18, 1975 for Pentecost. The announcement regarding Romero's canonization will come on the Saturday of the vigil of Pentecost, just as his beatification on May 23, 2015 was also on the Saturday of the vigil of Pentecost for that year. For the vigil organizers, the Pentecostal context makes it seem like the announcement about Romero's canonization comes from the Holy Spirit itself.
After the 2015 Pentecost Mass, Romero's successor as Archbishop of San Salvador, Msgr. Escobar Alas, related Romero to the Holy Spirit based on a phrase in the decree of beatification, in which Pope Francis refers to Romero as “Father of the Poor,” which according to Archbishop Escobar is a term used to refer theologically to the Holy Spirit. In a commentary on this blog, Dr. Duane Arnold wrote that it derives from the discourse of Christ in the synagogue in Luke 4:18 (“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news (euangelion) to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed...”).
All this recalls a phrase used by Romero himself: that “The Church cannot be deaf to the pleas of the poor and needy, because in them is the call of the Holy Spirit” (Orientación 4.032, 5).
The vigil in the Crypt strikes us as a brilliant and prophetic gesture. Veni Creator Spiritus!
|Cultura Romeriana poster with event details.|