Friday, March 27, 2015

Romero beatification update #11

There was a large peace march in El Salvador on Thursday that doubled as the dress rehearsal for the beatification of Archbishop Óscar A. Romero on May 23rd.  Ground zero for the march was the Divine Savior Monument, where the beatification will be held, and the government estimated that 300,000 turned out—half a million have been projected for the beatification.  The march seems to have unfolded without incident which bodes well for the beatification, but we will keep an eye out for relevant insights here.
Thursday’s march bears three important lessons for those coming to El Salvador in May.  The first thing the march points to is the undeniable fact that El Salvador does not feel at peace and yearns for it.  A very serious crime problem, including a very high homicide rate (which local authorities dismiss as gang-on-gang violence), has the population on edge.  The second thing the march signals, though, is the goodwill of the law-abiding Salvadoran people.  The average Salvadoran is decent, friendly, and wants peace.  Perhaps the most important thing the peace march says to potential beatification-goers is that El Salvador is safe for a large-scale event.
Obviously, there is strength in numbers.  Conversely, though, there is danger in isolated areas and you should not wander off the beaten path, be out alone at late hours, etc.  Travel advisories, such as those issued by the U.S. State Department, are worth a read.  Salvadoran authorities have told the local press that the port authority, customs, police, and other entities will work together to assure visitors’ safety, and may have to hire temporary workers to meet the added service demands for visitors during the beatification.  The army contributed to security efforts at Thursday’s march.
Another reason for assurance about the May beatification is that the presence of numerous heads of state will mean that greater San Salvador will be officially on lockdown.  The foreign ministry has confirmed that it sent out invitations to regional heads of state, and that it has received expressions of interest from Central American leaders to be there.  They, and all others arriving in El Salvador, will enter the country through the Archbishop Óscar A. Romero International Airport, which will be decorated with new signage highlighting its new name.
Finally, I want to feature a useful website each week, to help readers learn more about El Salvador, Archbishop Romero, and related topics.  This week’s selection is Hablan de Monseñor Romero (Talking about Archbishop Romero  in Spanish), which is more than a Facebook fan page for the book of the same name.  The book, by Roberto Valencia, reveals Romero through in-depth conversations with nine close collaborators.  The Facebook page continues the discussion with additional insights and reposting of hand-picked additional information.
Please let me know what other information would be useful.  A programming note: there will be no new posts until after Easter, as Super Martyrio will be on break for Holy Week.

Read last week’s update here.

Recent posts:

Upbeat 35th Romero anniversary observed
Romero’s martyrdom, at thirty-five

Romero will be beatified in May
The Beatification Ceremony
Romero’s Feast Day
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