Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Romero relics in L.A.


#BlessedRomero #MartyrOfMercy

A handkerchief with the blood of Blessed Oscar Romero from the day that he was assassinated on March 24, 1980 while celebrating Mass in San Salvador and a microphone that he used to celebrate Mass every Sunday will be exhibited for veneration at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles this Friday July 1st, alongside the relics of Saints Thomas More and John Fisher, two 16th-century English martyrs.

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez will welcome the relics during a special Mass at 12:10 p.m., followed by a presentation from the curator of the English saints’ relics from 12:50 p.m. to 2 p.m.  The relics of the English saints had been touring various American cities as part of the U.S. bishops Fortnight For Freedom campaign.  Blessed Romero’s relics were added as an exclusive feature of the L.A. leg of the tour and they are receiving top billing in the L.A. Archdiocese’s promotion of the event as the “Relic Tour of Blessed Oscar Romero, alongside relics of St. Thomas More & St. John Fisher.”

By coincidence, the curator who tends to the relics of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher in Britain is the same conservation expert who preserved the relics of Blessed Romero in El Salvador, including the relic used at the beatification ceremony last year.  The relics that will be displayed in L.A., however, are of different provenance.

The Romero relics are on loan from a Salvadoran family in Los Angeles, sources in the L.A. Archdiocese told this blog.  The family will be present during the Mass.  The relics will only be available at the Cathedral for public veneration on July 1, after the noon Mass until 2 p.m.

The L.A. Archdiocese, home to over a quarter million Salvadorans, has long embraced the Salvadoran martyr.  In 2011, Archbishop Gomez authored a statement by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) commemorating Romero’s martyrdom.  Last year, he led a thanksgiving Mass following Romero’s beatification.  In a nod to the Salvadoran community, California Gov. Jerry Brown attended the Mass. Salvadorans are the second largest foreign born group in Los Angeles, and 57% of them are Catholics. 

Thanksgiving Mass, 2015.  Photo courtesy L.A. Archdiocese.
Before Archbishop Gomez, his predecessor Cardinal Roger Mahony, who championed immigrants’ and farmworkers’ rights and was fluent in Spanish, presided a memorial Mass in San Salvador for the 20th anniversary of Romero’s martyrdom in the year 2000.  Mahony was the only American cardinal who attended Romero’s beatification last year.

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