Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Archbishop Oscar Romero, Martyr, to Become Saint at Vatican Ceremony on 14 October


After a 38-year-wait, it’s now official. Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, murdered in 1980 for speaking out against military oppression, will become a saint of the Roman Catholic Church at a Vatican ceremony on 14 October. On 19 May, Pope Francisco, the first pontiff from the Americas, announced the decision during a meeting with cardinals based in Rome. Romero, long considered a saint by Catholics across the Americas, will be elevated to universal veneration at the Vatican ceremony alongside Pope Paul VI, the pontiff who first appointed him a bishop and made the fateful decision in 1977 to make him archbishop of San Salvador. Four others… two Italian priests and German and Spanish founders of separate women’s religious orders… will also become saints at the ceremony.

The Salvadoran’s canonisation, while expected in recent months, nonetheless represents the culmination of one of the clearest turnabouts of Francisco’s nearly five-year papacy. The cause for Romero languished for decades under Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who expressed unease with his connection to liberation theology and his vocal denunciations of government killings and kidnappings. Less than two years after his election as pontiff, Francisco placed Romero firmly on the sainthood track, formally decreeing in February 2015 that the archbishop was assassinated as a martyr for the Catholic faith. He then authorised his beatification, the last step before sainthood, in May of that year. El Salvador’s ambassador to the UK, Elisabeth Hayek-Weinmann, told us:

Romero’s coming sainthood represents a unique opportunity for us to heal our historical wounds, restore our social fabric, and build a new sense of national identity based on common values, with social justice and respect for human dignity at its core. His teachings and legacy provide us, as a nation, a strong moral compass.

During the 19 May meeting with cardinals, known as a consistory, Francisco formally received the request to authorise the canonization of the six persons by Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes. Amato gave Francisco a brief biographical sketch of each of the sainthood candidates. He said:

Romero was archbishop during a time of great political crisis in El Salvador and was outraged at seeing the violence against the weak and the killing of priests and catechists, he felt the need to assume an attitude of fortitude. On 24 March 1980, he was killed while celebrating Mass.

After hearing each candidate’s history, Francisco announced their canonisations as a group and set the date and place of the ceremony. As it became clear in recent weeks that Francis would announce Romero’s canonisation, discussions in Rome focused on whether the pontiff would decide to hold the ceremony at the Vatican or in El Salvador. Considerations included trying to make the event accessible to Salvadorans wishing to attend but wanting also to emphasise that, as a saint, Romero will be an example of Christian witness not just for El Salvador but the entire world. Carlos Colorado, a Salvadoran who runs the popular Super Martyrio blog that closely followed the process of Romero’s canonisation, said in an interview:

A ceremony in San Salvador would’ve been a blowout with people attending numbering in the hundreds of thousands.

In a recent blog, Colorado hypothesised that Francisco may still go to El Salvador soon in order to venerate the new saint’s tomb and bring a sense of celebration to the country. One opportunity would be for the pontiff to make a stopover there during his expected January 2019 visit to Panama for World Youth Day. Paulita Pike, an American who lived in El Salvador off-and-on since the early 1970s, knew Romero and now helps coordinate the popular Amigos de Romero/Cultura Romeriana Facebook page, said:

By canonising Romero in Rome, Francisco is holding him up as the model pastor, the model bishop, for the bishops gathered there. Wherever he’s canonised, he’s going to be our saint.

Pike kept vigil at Romero’s tomb in San Salvador’s cathedral overnight on 18 May with members of her group, awaiting news of the canonisation. She said:

He isn’t ours but he’s St Romero of the Americas. Now, he’s going to be St Romero of the world.

19 May 2018

Joshua McElwee

National Catholic Reporter



Friday, 13 April 2012

13 April 2012. A Photo Essay. A Point of Unity… Catholic Holy Week and Easter 2012

A young Pakistani Christian girl at Easter Mass at St John Church in Peshawar (Peshawar DistrictKhyber Pakhtunkhwa Province) PAKISTAN, 8 April 2012


Penitents in a religious procession pass pattern of coloured sawdust in Antigua Guatemala (Sacatepéquez Department) GUATEMALA, Good Friday, 6 April 2012


A girl in a religious procession with the image of the Virgin Mary in Pátzcuaro (Municipality of PátzcuaroMichoacán State) MEXICO, Good Friday, 6 April 2012


Believers carry a statue of Jesus of Nazareth during a traditional procession called “Ribbons of Jesus of Nazareth” on Holy Wednesday, 4 April 2012, in Cartago (Cartago Canton. Cartago Province) COSTA RICA


Believers at Easter Mass in Lilongwe (Lilongwe District. Central RegionMALAWI, 8 April 2012


‘The Devil’ whips Catholics to drive away their sins, Holy Monday, San Salvador (San Salvador DepartmentEL SALVADOR, 2 April 2012 


Presentation of “Via Dolorosa” in Asunción (Gran Asunción Autonomous Capital District) PARAGUAY, Good Friday, 6 April 2012


On 6 April 2012, Good Friday, pilgrims from all over the world formed a procession along the tidal causeway to Holy Island on April 6 in the English town of Berwick-upon-Tweed (Shire of Northumberland. North East England) ENGLAND UK  in a traditional annual Holy Week pilgrimage.


Members of the Brotherhood “Cofradia del Silencio”, Zamora (Province of Zamora. Autonomous Community of Castilla y LeónSPAIN, Holy Wednesday, 4 April 2012


Easter bonfire in Elbingerode (Landkreis Harz. Bundesland Sachsen-AnhaltGERMANY, Holy Saturday, 7 April 2012


Traditional Good Friday procession in Masatepe (Masaya Department) NICARAGUA, 6 April 2012


Romanian artist Lucia Kondrea shows her work at an exhibition of painted Easter eggs, 29 March 2012, Brussels (Brussels-Capital RegionBELGIUM


Archbishop John Sentamu baptised believer in York (North YorkshireYorkshire and the Humber Region) ENGLAND UK, Holy Saturday, 7 April 2012


Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Old City of Jerusalem PALESTINE (under Israeli occupation), Good Friday, 6 April 2012


Христос воскресе из мертвых, Смертию смерть поправ; И сущым во гробѣх живот даровав!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling on death by death; and upon those in the tombs, bestowing life!


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