|Msgr. Vincenzo Paglia, in El Salvador, 2005. El Diario de Hoy.|
We may learn the date for the beatification of Archbishop Óscar A. Romero in the coming days. The Vatican official in charge of his beatification (photo) tweeted from Rome Thursday: “This Sunday I leave for El Salvador to deliver a report as Postulator of the Cause of Archbishop Romero.” [Update:] On Sunday, the San Salvador Church’s diocesan weekly promised that Paglia would bring “bombshell” news; the Archdiocese has scheduled a press conference with Paglia for Wednesday afternoon.
In a video message, San Salvador Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas appeared to confirm that the purpose of the trip by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia will be to announce the date, saying that it could be announced by a Vatican envoy sent to deliver the news in El Salvador. The archbishop revealed that the Salvadoran Church is expecting a beatification ceremony of major proportions, admitting that crowds could spill well beyond the Divine Savior Plaza where the ceremony will be celebrated. “It is true that we do not have a place large enough to welcome all the people who we think will come,” said the Archbishop: “we don’t have a place that can welcome a million, or half a million people.”
Archbishop Escobar explained that Salvadoran authorities selected the Divine Savior Plaza both for its symbolism (The Divine Savior or, in Spanish, “El Salvador del Mundo,” is the country’s patron) and because the area includes various spaces that could accommodate spill-over crowds, including a professional soccer stadium and a basketball arena. Escobar stated that officials are looking into setting up giant screens to beam the ceremony around the city: “The heart of the city would become the stage for the beatification of Archbishop Romero.”
He noted that a major hospital is in the vicinity to deal with any medical needs, and said that priests would be stationed throughout the city to distribute communion. Fr. Edwin Henríquez, a diocesan priest familiar with the planning, said in a radio interview that some 300 bishops are expected to attend the beatification, consistent with the scale envisioned by Escobar. The Salvadoran Church will be having a collection to help defray costs on Sunday March 22nd.
Meanwhile, commemorative events for Romero continue to be added to the calendar. Los Angeles became the latest big city to announce an event. Archbishop José Gómez will lead a commemorative Mass at Our Lady of Angels Cathedral on Sunday March 22nd.
Super Martyrio will continue to monitor developments and provide an update every Friday regarding plans for the beatification, as well as for commemorations of the anniversary of Archbishop Romero’s martyrdom on March 24.
Read last week’s update here.