Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Blessed Romero, “Martyr of Hope”


#BlessedRomero #Beatification
Before a packed San Salvador Cathedral, Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, Archbishop of Santiago de Chile, commissioned as Pope Francis’ personal representative for the occasion, delivered the homily for the centenary of Blessed Oscar Romero’s birth on August 15, 2017.
The Mass was attended by the President of El Salvador and other officials.  Church luminaries included San Salvador Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas and his auxiliary, the newly-minted Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez.  Also in attendance were Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the Archbishop of Manila; Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, the Archbishop of Managua; Cardinal Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, Archbishop of Merida (Venezuela); Cardinal José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán of Panama, as well as other regional archbishops and all the bishops of El Salvador, in addition to a few others from further afield, such as Archbishop Giovanni Ricchiuti, President of Pax Christi of Italy.
Born in Italy, Cardinal Ezzati arrived in Chile as a young man, where he became immersed in the culture.  He was even accused of being a communist and a subversive by the right-wing dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet for the ideas he expressed in a book he co-authored in 1979 which was criticized by the Chilean minister for education as being a betrayal of the nation.
Cardinal Ezzati titled his homily “Archbishop Romero, Martyr of Hope.”

Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, SDB
Cardinal Archbishop of Santiago de Chile
Extraordinary Envoy of His Holiness Pope Francis
to the celebration of the centenary of the birth of
Archbishop OSCAR ARNULFO ROMERO, Blessed and Martyr


1. The Birth of a Holy Shepherd

On the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin to the Heavens, in 1917, shortly before dawn cleared, Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdamez, the second son of Santos Romero and Guadalupe de Jesus Galdamez, opened his eyes to this world. He was born in Ciudad Barrios, in a modest family. His father worked as a telegrapher at the post office; his mother wanted to be a school teacher, but she dedicated herself to her family of eight children. The boy Oscar learned the “doctrine”, as the Catechism was called then. From the lips of his father and his mother a devout heart was formed, possessed of a deep Marian devotion. They prayed the Angelus together with the bells that announced the end of the workday, and they recited the Holy Rosary.

The relationship between the mystery of Mary, the Virgin Mother, which we celebrate today, with Archbishop Romero, is striking. He is born on the day when the Church celebrates the triumph of Mary above all evil, assumed body and soul to the Heavens, and he dies at the start of the celebration of the great feast of the Incarnation of the Son of God in the immaculate womb of the Virgin Mary, wherein we pass from the painful mysteries to the glorious mysteries of that Rosary that he never stopped praying.

Pope Francis, in naming me his Envoy, writes: “One hundred years have passed since the birth of Blessed Oscar Arnulfo Romero, bishop and martyr, illustrious pastor and witness of the Gospel, determined defender of the Church and the dignity of man. Son of the beloved land of El Salvador, he spoke to the people of our time about the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ and his love for all, especially the poor and marginalized. In his priestly life as well as in the beginning of his episcopal ministry he experienced a unique spiritual path that led him to foster justice, reconciliation and peace.”

It is impressive and exciting to read and reread some of his homilies as well as his Diary. How much good it has done my soul!

The Pope has kindly sent me as his personal Legate, to represent him in this ecclesial event that brings you together on this day of joy. You know as much as I do that he has great love for this land “that bears the name of the Divine Savior”, and you also know of his repeatedly stated desire that the martyrdom of Archbishop Romero bear abundant fruits of Ecclesial communion, reconciliation and solidarity among Salvadorans, in order to build a just and noble society. Much have you suffered; challenging are the circumstances you continue to face. The life of every Salvadoran is too valuable to not overcome homicidal violence with “the violence of love.” In this hopeful struggle for life, the Pope is with you, he exhorts you to humanize and share with equity the development of your country, and he sends you his apostolic blessing.

2. A bit of his story

Dear brothers, sisters, and friends: this is not the time to retell the story of the person we celebrate this morning. I know that, throughout this Jubilee year, you have been enriched spiritually with it; however, let me highlight just a few of its contours, to attempt to penetrate its heart and its message.

Somewhat shy and introverted, he entered the Minor Seminary led by the Claretian Fathers at age 13; at twenty, he went to the San José de la Montaña Seminary; from there, after being sent to Rome, he was ordained a priest on April 4, 1942. A little while later, he had to move up his return to his country because of the Second World War.  Once back, he exercised the priestly ministry in several communities, including as a parish priest in the Cathedral of San Miguel. He was later appointed Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador (1970), Bishop of Santiago de Maria (1974), and then Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of San Salvador on February 23, 1977, during complex and challenging times for the Homeland and for the Church.

Thus progressed the apostolic life of this young traditional priest. He was a virtuous man, very active in his parish, close to the people, charitable to the poor, albeit somewhat removed from the renewed pastoral options promoted after the Council.

Nevertheless, something began to change in him, especially in Santiago de Maria, as he got to know more closely the extreme poverty of the peasants. The righteous young man begins to worry about injustice and the Good Shepherd, who must do everything with everyone and for everyone, has the experience that it is not enough to accompany the poorest and to counsel the richest. Evangelizing, especially after the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Paul VI «Evangelii Nuntiandi», means “bringing the Good News into all the strata of humanity ... affecting and as it were upsetting, through the power of the Gospel, mankind's criteria of judgment, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration and models of life, which are in contrast with the Word of God and the plan of salvation” (EN 18-19). And there is no equidistance between good and evil, the just and the unjust, the poor and the rich. This is the preferential option for the poor and excluded, as an option of God himself in the history of his people.

His pastoral ministry continues and tragic events arrive, which rattle his core. One of them was the massacre of a group of pilgrims returning to their village after visiting a shrine. Shortly afterwards, Father Rutilio Grande, who worked on the formation of Ecclesial Base Communities and supported peasant organization, was murdered, shot-up by “strangers”, alongside two parishioners on a rural road in his parish. This was too much. The fire of God scorched the Archbishop's heart. He demanded an immediate investigation from the President of the Republic and, on the following Sunday, celebrated a Single Mass in San Salvador with more than 100,000 participants. Overcoming his timidity, he became the “voice of the voiceless,” to proclaim “the violence of love” that banishes the violence of hatred. No to the violence of the regime. No to guerrilla violence. Yes to a peace that is based on justice and truth, and is respectful of the rights of the poor.

Turning from words to facts, he created the “Legal Aid” office, to assist with the human rights of the poorest peasants, an initiative that had a close relationship with the Vicariate of Solidarity, created by the Church in Chile to take up the victims of the dictatorship.

Additionally, this “voice of the voiceless” is heard on the radio throughout the country, every Sunday, providing an evangelical and Christian perspective on events; a word that forms and informs, a message of hope and respect for life, in a language understood by the poorest. The voice of the Pastor transcends the confines of San Salvador, and rattles the heart of the Church in America and other continents. As is typical of a controversial figure, his word is rejected by some and applauded by others. If you stand at the western façade of Westminster Abbey, a prominent Anglican temple, you will see in a prominent place in a gallery of ten martyrs a statue of Archbishop Oscar Romero, flanked by the Rev. Martin Luther King and the Lutheran theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

3. A pastoral conversion

What happened in the heart of Archbishop Romero that he allowed himself to be transformed in this way by the Spirit of God? Humanly speaking, his closeness with the poor, as he took on greater pastoral responsibilities, led him to see the injustice suffered by the peasants with his own eyes, and to witness with Jesus, how difficult it is for a rich blind man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Church has good news to announce to the poor,” he said. “Those who, for centuries, have heard bad news and lived the worst realities, are now hearing, through the Church, the word of Jesus which states, ‘the Kingdom of God is near,’ and there is also good News to announce to the rich: that they should become poor to share with the poor the goods of the Kingdom.”

Today, based on the Conference at Aparecida, we can say that our martyr experienced a profound “pastoral conversion”. It is a decidedly missionary conversion that directly implicates pastoral life and its options. According to Aparecida, “the Church’s ministry cannot ignore the historic context in which its members live.” That is why it must be open to “giving up outdated structures that are no longer helpful for handing on the faith”, moving from “a pastoral ministry of mere conservation to a decidedly missionary pastoral ministry.” Was that not what Archbishop Romero lived out years before Aparecida?

To make this conversion real took a step that concerns and challenges us all. It will not be possible to hear clearly the voice of God in history if we are not present in the vital events of our people. This is how our Blessed expressed it: “How I would like to sear this great idea in the heart of every person: Christianity is not a set of truths that must be believed, of laws to be fulfilled, of prohibitions. This way it seems very unappealing.  Christianity is a person who loved me so much and who demands my love! Christianity is Christ!

Pastoral conversion leads one to want to live like Jesus with the weakest, the poorest, those who do not count. And from that purifying experience, to proclaim the Good News with one’s life, witness and word, taking on the integral defense of life that includes social justice. I remember in this connection the urgent appeal made by Pope John Paul II thirty years ago during his visit to Chile, at ECLAC headquarters, for the entire American continent: “The poor cannot await!,” he said. In a world of so much wealth, so many possibilities, so many technological advances, it is incomprehensible that the poor should still be waiting. And it is even more incomprehensible that this continues to be the case in a Christian Continent.

Those who, like Archbishop Romero, enter decisively on the path of Jesus ... who speak and act in the manner of Jesus, know that they are liable to pass - to make Pasch - in a way similar to the Master. This is what happened to Romero. After his brief homily, in the rite of offering of gifts, before entering the heart of the Eucharist, the murderous bullet targeted his heart ... The sniper received a few coins, like Judas. A few days earlier, the same or another assassin had missed an opportunity to kill Archbishop Romero at another altar in the Archdiocese. That delay made it possible for us to hear the spiritual testament of this great Martyr Archbishop, in his brief homily before dying: “if the grain of wheat does not fall to the ground and die ...” And upon saying this, he gave up his spirit.

4. A Martyr of Hope

However, it is not only the bullet, the dagger, or the sword that make the martyr. In fact, in the words of Pope Francis the martyrdom of Archbishop Romero continued after his death through incomprehension, insults, slander.

Martyrdom is a gift from God. It is God who gives martyrdom as the supreme gift of love in the extreme. It is God who, by his Spirit sustains, the martyr, as he did with his Son Jesus, nailed to a Cross.

The figure of Archbishop Romero cannot be explained without this “virtue”, that is, without the divine strength that would establish martyrdom. There are martyrs for the sake of faith, “in hatred of the faith”; others are martyrs for charity; others, and especially in our American Continent, are martyrs for the sake of justice. It is fair to ask, are there martyrs of hope?

Hope is the humblest of the theological virtues. But there can be no theological faith, if one does not have in one’s sight the point of arrival of human life and of creation, that is, the new earth and the new heavens. For its part, martyrdom for love does not exist without the virtue of hope, since the characteristic of love in the extreme, is to fast-forward the absolute moment, to live a glimpse of heaven amid the greatest calamities of this earthly life. Hunger and thirst for justice are also causes of martyrdom, especially when one lives with the moral certainty that fighting for them will be a reason for rejection and even death by those who create the injustice. All martyrs live by virtue of their hope, wholeheartedly believing that another world is possible.

Consistent with these reflections, I dare say that Blessed Archbishop Romero is a martyr of Hope. He is so for the poorest of the Continent, he is so for our beloved Church, he is so those who struggle for justice, reconciliation and peace, who, with renewed fondness, already call him “Saint Romero of the Americas.”

I conclude with the words that Pope Francis addressed to the dear Archbishop of San Salvador on the occasion of the Beatification of our Martyr: “May those who hold Archbishop Romero as a friend in the faith, those who invoke him as protector and intercessor, those who admire his image, find in him the strength and courage to build the Kingdom of God, to commit to a more equal and dignified social order.  It is a favorable moment for a true national reconciliation before the challenges we are facing. The Pope participates in your hopes, and joins in your prayers so that the seed of martyrdom may flourish and become entrenched in the true paths of the sons and daughters of that nation, which proudly hears the name of the divine Savior of the world.”

Brothers and Sisters,

The prophetic words of Archbishop Romero take on their full significance in this Eucharistic celebration: “Martyrdom is a grace of God that I do not believe I deserve. But if God accepts the sacrifice of my life, may my blood be a seed of freedom and a sign that hope will soon be a reality…If they kill me, I forgive and bless those who do it.”

Together with Blessed Oscar Romero, the Archbishop of this City, all Pastors of the Church in El Salvador, together with each of you, with our hearts and gaze planted on this earth, I invite you to invoke the beloved Mother and Patroness of this People: Our Lady of Peace, pray for us. Amen.

Beato Romero, "Mártir de la Esperanza"


#BeatoRomero #Beatificación
Ante una Catedral de San Salvador abarrotada, el Cardenal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, Arzobispo de Santiago de Chile, nombrado representante personal del Papa Francisco para la ocasión, pronunció la homilía para el centenario del nacimiento del beato Óscar Romero el 15 de agosto de 2017.
A la Misa asistieron el Presidente de El Salvador y otros funcionarios. Entre los luminarios de la iglesia presentes se encontraban el arzobispo de San Salvador, José Luis Escobar Alas, y su auxiliar, el recién elevado cardenal Gregorio Rosa Chávez. También estuvieron presentes el cardenal Luis Antonio Tagle, Arzobispo de Manila; el cardenal Leopoldo Brenes, Arzobispo de Managua; el cardenal Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, Arzobispo de Mérida (Venezuela); el cardenal José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán de Panamá, así como otros arzobispos regionales y todos los obispos de El Salvador, además de algunos desde más lejos, como el Arzobispo Giovanni Ricchiuti, Presidente de Pax Christi Italia.
Nacido en Italia, el cardenal Ezzati llegó joven a Chile, donde se integró a la vida nacional. Incluso fue acusado de ser comunista y subversivo por la dictadura derechista del general Augusto Pinochet por las ideas que expresó en un libro que co-autorizó en 1979, que fue criticado por el ministro chileno de Educación como una traición a la nación.
El Cardenal Ezzati tituló su homilía "Monseñor Romero, Mártir de la Esperanza".

Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, sdb
Cardenal Arzobispo de Santiago de Chile
Enviado Extraordinario de Su Santidad el Papa Francisco
a la celebración del centenario del nacimiento de
Mons. ÓSCAR ARNULFO ROMERO, Beato y Mártir


1. Nacimiento de un Pastor Santo

En la Solemnidad de la Asunción de la Virgen Santísima a los cielos, del año 1917, poco antes de clarear el alba, abrió sus ojos a este mundo Óscar Arnulfo Romero Galdámez, segundo hijo varón de don Santos Romero y de doña Guadalupe de Jesús Galdámez. Nace en Ciudad Barrios, en una familia modesta. Su padre trabaja como telegrafista en la oficina de correos; su madre quiso ser maestra de escuela, pero se dedicó a su familia de ocho hijos. El niño Óscar aprendió la “doctrina”, como se le llamaba al Catecismo, de los labios de su padre y de su madre se fue formando un corazón creyente, con una profunda devoción mariana. Juntos rezaban el Ángelus con las campanas que anunciaban el término del trabajo y recitaban el Santo Rosario.

Llama la atención la relación que existe entre el misterio de María, la Virgen Madre, que hoy celebramos, con Mons. Romero. El nace el día en que la Iglesia celebra el triunfo de María sobre todo mal, asunta en cuerpo y alma a los Cielos y muere cuando empieza a celebrarse la gran fiesta de la Encarnación del Hijo de Dios en las purísimas entrañas de la Virgen, día en que pasa desde los misterios dolorosos a los misterios gloriosos de ese Rosario que nunca dejó de rezar.

El Papa Francisco, al nombrarme su Enviado, escribe: “Ya se cumplen cien años del nacimiento del beato Óscar Arnulfo Romero, obispo y mártir, ilustre pastor y testigo del Evangelio, decidido defensor de la Iglesia y de la dignidad del hombre. Hijo de la amada tierra de El Salvador, habló a la gente de nuestro tiempo de la obra salvífica de nuestro Señor Jesucristo y de su amor hacia todos, especialmente hacia los pobres y descartados. Tanto en su vida sacerdotal como en el comienzo de su ministerio episcopal experimentó un singular camino espiritual, que lo llevó a propagar la justicia, la reconciliación y paz”.

Es impresionante y emocionante leer y releer algunas de sus homilías así como su Diario de Vida. ¡Cuánto bien al alma me han hecho!

El Papa ha tenido la bondad de enviarme como su Legado personal, para representarlo en este acontecimiento eclesial que los convoca en este día de júbilo. Uds. saben tanto como yo, que él tiene un afecto muy grande por esta tierra “que lleva el nombre del Divino Salvador”, y saben también, de su reiterado deseo de que el martirio de Mons. Romero no deje de dar frutos abundantes de comunión eclesial, de reconciliación y solidaridad entre los salvadoreños, a fin de edificar una sociedad justa y noble. Mucho es lo que Uds. han sufrido; difíciles las circunstancias que tienen que seguir enfrentando. Es demasiado valiosa la vida de cada salvadoreño como para no superar la violencia homicida con “la violencia del amor”. En esta esperanzada lucha por la vida, el Papa esta con ustedes, los exhorta a humanizar y a compartir con equidad el desarrollo de su país y les envía su bendición apostólica.

2. Algo de su historia

Queridos hermanos y amigos: No es en momento para volver a contar la historia de quien celebramos, en esta mañana. Sé que, a lo largo de todo este año jubilar, se han enriquecido espiritualmente con ella, sin embargo, permítanme destacar sólo algunos de sus rasgos, para procurar adentrarnos en su corazón y en su mensaje.

Algo tímido e introvertido, a los 13 años ingresó al Seminario Menor dirigido por los Padres Claretianos, a los veinte al Seminario de San José de la Montaña, de alii, enviado a Roma, fue ordenado sacerdote el 4 de abril de 1942. Poco tiempo después, a causa la segunda guerra mundial, tuvo que adelantar su regreso a la patria, donde ejerció el ministerio presbiteral en varias comunidades, entre ellas, párroco en la Catedral de San Miguel. Más tarde es nombrado Obispo Auxiliar de San Salvador (1970), Obispo de Santiago de María (1974), hasta que el Papa Pablo VI lo nombra Arzobispo de San Salvador, un 23 de febrero de 1977: tiempos complejos y desafiantes para la Patria y para la Iglesia.

Así se fue desarrollando la vida apostólica de este joven sacerdote de corte más bien tradicional. Hombre virtuoso, muy activo en su Parroquia, cercano a la gente, caritativo con los pobres, algo distante de las opciones pastorales renovadas impulsadas por el post concilio.

Sin embargo, algo empezó a cambiar en él, especialmente en Santiago de María, al conocer más de cerca la pobreza extrema de los campesinos. El varón justo se empieza a inquietar por la injusticia y el Pastor Bueno, que quiere hacerse todo con todos y para todos, tiene la experiencia de que no basta con acompañar a los más pobres y dar consejos a los más ricos. Evangelizar, sobre todo después de la Exhortación Apostólica del Papa Pablo VI «Evangelii Nuntiandi», significa “llevar la Buena Nueva a todos los ambientes ... transformar con la fuerza del Evangelio los criterios de juicio, los valores determinantes, los puntos de interés, las líneas de pensamiento, las fuentes inspiradoras y los modelos de vida de la humanidad, que están en contraste con la palabra de Dios y con el designio de salvación” (lb.18-19). Y no hay equidistancia entre lo bueno y lo malo, lo justo y lo injusto, los pobres y los ricos. Así se comprende la opción preferencial por los pobres y excluidos, como opción del mismo Dios en la historia de su pueblo.

Su ministerio pastoral continúa y llegan acontecimientos trágicos que remecen sus entrañas. Uno de ellos fue la matanza de un grupo de peregrinos que regresaban a su pueblo después de visitar un Santuario. Poco tiempo después, fue el asesinato el P. Rutilio Grande, acribillado por “desconocidos”, junto a dos parroquianos en un camino rural de su parroquia, empeñado en la formación de comunidades Eclesiales de Base y apoyando la organización campesina. Esto fue demasiado. El fuego de Dios incendió el corazón del Arzobispo. Exigió al Presidente de la Republica una investigación inmediata y, al domingo siguiente, celebró una sola Misa en San Salvador con más de 100.000 participantes. Venciendo su timidez pasó a ser “voz de los sin voz”, para clamar “la violencia del amor” que destierra la violencia del odio. No a la violencia del régimen. No a la violencia guerrillera. Si a una paz, basada en la justicia y en la verdad, respetuosa de los derechos de los pobres.

Y pasando de la palabra a los hechos, crea la oficina del “Socorro Juridico”, para ir en ayuda de los derechos humanos de los campesinos más pobres, iniciativa que tuvo una relación muy cercana con la Vicaria de la Solidaridad, creada por la Iglesia en Chile, para acoger a las víctimas de la dictadura.

Por otra parte, esta “voz de los sin voz” se escucha par radio en todo el país, cada domingo, haciendo una lectura evangélica y cristiana de los acontecimientos; una palabra que forma e informa, un mensaje de esperanza y respeto a la vida, en un lenguaje que entienden los más pobres. La voz del Pastor traspasa las fronteras de San Salvador, remece el corazón de la Iglesia en América y de otros continentes. Como es propio de una figura controvertida, su palabra es rechazada par algunos y aplaudidas par otros. Quienes se detienen en el pórtico occidental de la Abadía de Westminster, importante templo anglicano, en un lugar destacado de la galería de los diez mártires, podrá contemplar una estatua de Mons. Óscar Romero, flanqueado por el pastor Martin Luther King y el teólogo luterano, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

3. Una conversión pastoral

¿Qué pasó en el corazón de Mons. Romero para dejarse transformar de esa manera por el Espíritu de Dios? Humanamente hablando no cabe duda que su cercanía con los pobres, en la medida que fue asumiendo responsabilidades pastorales mayores, lo llevó a ver con sus ojos la injusticia que sufrían los campesinos y a constatar con Jesús, cuán difícil es que un rico ciego entre en el Reino de los Cielos.

La Iglesia tiene una buena noticia que anunciar a los pobres,-decía-. Aquellos que, desde hace siglos, han escuchado malas noticias y han vivido la peor realidad, están escuchando ahora, a través de la Iglesia, la palabra de Jesús: “el Reino de Dios está cerca”, y de ahí, también hay una buena noticia que anunciar a los ricos: que se vuelvan pobres para compartir con Ellos bienes del Reino.”

Hoy, basados en la Conferencia de Aparecida, podemos decir que nuestro Mártir experimentó una profunda “conversión pastoral”. Se trata de una conversión decididamente misionera que toca directamente la vida pastoral y sus opciones. Según Aparecidala Iglesia no puede prescindir del contexto histórico en que viven sus miembros”. Por eso debe estar “disponible a abandonar las estructuras caducas que ya no favorezcan la transmisión de la fe”, pasando “de una pastoral de mera conservación a una pastoral decididamente misionera”. ¿No fue eso lo que vivió Mons. Romero años antes de Aparecida?

Haciendo real esta conversión dio un paso que a todos nos concierne y nos cuestiona. No será posible de escuchar con nitidez la voz de Dios en la historia si no estamos insertos en el acontecer vital de nuestro pueblo. Así lo expreso nuestro Beato: “Como quisiera yo grabar en el corazón de cada uno esta gran idea: el cristianismo no es un conjunto de verdades que hay que creer, de leyes que hay que cumplir, de prohibiciones. Así resulta muy repugnante. ¡EI cristianismo es una persona que me amó tanto y que me reclama mi amor! ¡EI Cristianismo es Cristo!”.

La conversión pastoral lleva a desear vivir como Jesús con los más débiles, los más pobres, los que no cuentan. Y, desde esa experiencia purificadora, anunciar la Buena Nueva con la vida, el testimonio y la palabra, asumiendo la defensa integra l de la vida que incluye la justicia social. Recuerdo, a propósito, el llamado urgente que hizo San Juan Pablo II hace treinta años en su visita a Chile, en la sede de la CEPAL, para todo el Continente americana: “¡los pobres no pueden esperar!”, dijo. En un mundo de tanta riqueza, de tantas posibilidades, de tantos adelantos tecnológicos, es incomprensible que los pobres deban seguir esperando. y más incomprensible aun, que esto siga sucediendo en un Continente Cristiano.

Quienes como Mons. Romero entran decididamente por el camino de Jesús ... quienes dicen y obran a la manera de Jesús, saben que están expuestos a pasar- a hacer pascua - de manera semejante al Maestro. Así le sucedió. Terminada su breve homilía, en el rito del ofrecimiento de los dones, antes de entrar en el corazón de la Eucaristía, la bala asesina apuntó a su corazón ... El francotirador recibió como Judas unas cuantas monedas. Pocos días antes, el mismo u otro sicario, había perdido la ocasión de dar muerte a Mons. Romero junto a otro altar de la Arquidiócesis. Esa demora hizo posible escuchar el testamento espiritual del este gran Arzobispo Mártir, en su breve homilía antes de morir: “si el grana de trigo no cae en tierra y muere ... ” Y dicho esto, entregó su espíritu.

4. Mártir de la esperanza

Sin embargo, no es solo la bala, la daga, o la espada la que produce el martirio. De hecho, al decir del Papa Francisco el martirio de Mons. Romero continuo después de su muerte en la incomprensión, la maledicencia, la calumnia.

El martirio, que es un don de Dios. Es Dios quien regala el martirio como don supremo del amor hasta el extremo. Es Dios quien por su Espíritu sostiene al mártir, como lo hizo con su Hijo Jesús, clavado en una Cruz.

La figura de Mons. Romero no se explica sin esta “virtud”, es decir, sin la fortaleza divina que acamparía el martirio. Hay mártires que lo son por causa de la fe, “en odio a la fe”; otros lo son por causa de la caridad; otros, y especialmente en nuestro Continente Americana, lo son por causa de la justicia. Es legitime preguntarse: ¿habrá mártires que lo sea por causa de la esperanza?

La esperanza es la más humilde de las virtudes teologales. Pero, no puede haber fe teologal, si no se tiene ante los ojos el punto de llegada de la vida humana y de la creación, es decir: la tierra nueva y los cielos nuevos. Por su parte , el martirio por causa del amor no existe sin la virtud de la esperanza, ya que, lo propio del amor hasta el extrema, es adelantar los tiempos definitivos , es vivir un instante de cielo en medio de las calamidades más grandes de esta vida terrena. También tener hambre y sed de justicia es causa de martirio, sobre todo cuando se vive con la certeza moral de que luchar por ella es motivo de rechazo y hasta de muerte por quienes producen la injusticia. Todos los mártires viven por causa de la esperanza, pensando, porfiadamente, que otro mundo es possible.

Coherente con estas reflexiones, me atrevo a decir que el Beato Mons. Romero es un mártir de la Esperanza. Lo es para los más pobres del Continente, lo es para nuestra querida Iglesia, lo es para los que luchan por la justicia, la reconciliación y la paz que, con cariño renovado, ya lo llama “San Romero de América”.

Termino con las palabras que el Papa Francisco dirigiera al querido Arzobispo de San Salvador con ocasión de la Beatificación de nuestro Mártir: “Quienes tengan a Monseñor Romero como amigo en la fe/ quienes lo invoquen como protector e interceso0 quienes admiren su figura/ encuentren en el fuerza y ánimo para construir el Reina de Dios/ para comprometerse por un arden social más equitativo y digno. Es momento favorable para una verdadera y propia reconciliación nacional ante los desafíos que hoy se afrontan. El Papa participa de sus esperanzas/ se une a sus oraciones para que florezca la semilla del martirio y se afiancen por los verdaderos senderos a los hijos e hijas de esa Nación/ que se precia de llevar el nombre del divino Salvador del mundo”.

Hermanos y hermanas,

En esta celebración eucarística cobran todo su significado las palabras proféticas de Mons. Romero: “EI martirio es una gracia de Dios que no creo merecer. Pero, si Dios acepta el sacrificio de mi vida, que mi sangre sea semilla de libertad y señal de que la esperanza será pronto una realidad ... Si llegaran a matarme, perdono y bendigo a quienes lo hagan”.

Junto al Beato Óscar Romero, al Arzobispo de esta Ciudad, a todos los Pastores de la Iglesia en El Salvador, junto a cada uno de Uds., poniendo el corazón y la mirada en esta tierra, los invito a invocar a la querida Madre y Patrona de este pueblo: Nuestra Señora de la Paz, ruega por nosotros. Amen.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Happy 100th Birthday, Blessed Romero!


Abp. Paglia [L.] and friends.
#BlessedRomero #Beatification
This was originally published in the CRUX news site.
Blessed Oscar Romero, the martyred Salvadoran archbishop beatified by Pope Francis in 2015, was born one hundred years ago this week (August 15) and his centennial was marked by devotees around the world.  At a memorial service at St. George’s Cathedral in London on Saturday, August 12, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, postulator of Romero’s canonization cause, reminded over 500 attendees gathered there that they joined faithful “in El Salvador and in other parts of the world, to remember this shepherd for his Gospel witness that brings light to believers and non-believers alike.”  He added that, “my great hope is that Pope Francis will soon canonize him a Saint.”  Paglia told Vatican Radio that canonization may come as soon as next year.  [More]
In Romero’s El Salvador, 1,500 pilgrims walked from his tomb in the San Salvador Cathedral to the highland village where Romero was born 100 years ago, some 90 miles away.  Pope Francis sent Chilean Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati as his personal representative to the commemorations, publishing the letter of his commission, in which the Pope calls Romero an “illustrious pastor and witness of the gospel.”  The Pontiff writes that Romero was a “defender of the Church and of human dignity,” and a herald of “the saving work” of Christ, manifested in his “love for all, especially the poor, the abandoned and the marginalized,” seeking to promote “reconciliation and peace.”
In the United States, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez celebrated a commemorative mass for Romero at Our Lady of Angels Cathedral, while Dallas Bishop Edward J. Burns is presiding at a mass at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, calling on all his priests to celebrate similar masses in their parishes.  An independent group of Romero devotees that promoted the Romero centennial in the United States documented commemorations in various Latin American countries and in places as far-flung as Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia … [More]
Abp. Gomez.
One hundred years after his birth,” Archbishop Gomez said at the tribute at the L.A. Cathedral, “Blessed Oscar Romero still inspires us for his humility and courage — for his love for the poor and his witness of solidarity and service to others, even to the point of laying down his life.”
Read the rest of the article at CRUX.  See the latest on the canonization cause here.

¡Feliz 100 ° cumpleaños, Beato Romero!


Mons. Paglia [izq.] y amigos
#BeatoRomero #Beatificación
Esto fue publicado originalmente en el sitio de noticias de CRUX (en inglés).
El beato Oscar Romero, arzobispo mártir salvadoreño beatificado por el Papa Francisco en 2015, nació hace cien años esta semana (15 de agosto) y su centenario ha sido marcado por devotos alrededor del mundo. En un acto conmemorativo en la Catedral de San Jorge en Londres el sábado 12 de agosto, el arzobispo Vincenzo Paglia, postulador de la causa de canonización de Romero, recordó a más de 500 asistentes allí presentes que se unían a fieles “en El Salvador y en otras partes del mundo, para recordar a este pastor por su testimonio evangélico que trae luz tanto a los creyentes como a los no creyentes”. Añadió que “mi gran esperanza es que el papa Francisco pronto lo canonice como un Santo”. Paglia dijo a la Radio Vaticana que la canonización puede llegar tan pronto como el próximo año.  [Más]
En El Salvador, 1.500 peregrinos caminaron de la tumba de Romero en la catedral de San Salvador a la aldea altiplana donde Romero nació hace 100 años, a unos 90 kilómetros de distancia. El Papa Francisco envió al cardenal Ricardo Ezzati como su representante personal a las conmemoraciones, publicando la carta de su comisión, en la que el Papa llama a Romero un “ilustre pastor y testigo del Evangelio”. El Pontífice escribe que Romero era un “heraldo de la Iglesia y de la dignidad humana”, y de “la obra salvadora” de Cristo, manifestada en su “amor por todos, especialmente a los pobres, abandonados y marginados”, buscando promover “la reconciliación y la paz”.
En Estados Unidos, el arzobispo de Los Ángeles, José Gómez, celebró una misa conmemorativa para Romero en la Catedral de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, mientras que el obispo de Dallas Edward J. Burns está presidiendo una misa en el Santuario de la Catedral de la Virgen de Guadalupe, instando a sus sacerdotes a celebrar misas similares en sus parroquias. Un grupo independiente de devotos de Romero que ha promovido el centenario de Romero en Estados Unidos documentó conmemoraciones en varios países latinoamericanos y en lugares tan lejanos como Kuala Lumpur, Malasia ... [Más]
Mons. Gómez.
A cien años de su nacimiento”, dijo el Arzobispo Gómez en el homenaje en la Catedral de Los Ángeles, “el beato Óscar Romero es todavía una fuente de inspiración para nosotros por su humildad y valor, por su amor a los pobres y su testimonio de solidaridad y servicio a los demás, hasta el punto de entregar su vida”.
Lea el resto del artículo en CRUX (en inglés). Vea las últimas noticias sobre la causa de la canonización aquí.

Buon 100 ° compleanno, Beato Romero!


Mons. Paglia [sinistra] ed amici.
#BeatoRomero #Beatificazione
Questo è stato originariamente pubblicato nel sito della news CRUX (in inglese).
Il beato Oscar Romero, arcivescovo Salvadorano martirizzato beatificato da Papa Francesco nel 2015, è nato cento anni fa questa settimana (15 agosto) e il suo centenario è stato segnato da devoti in tutto il mondo. In un servizio commemorativo alla Cattedrale di San Giorgio a Londra, sabato 12 agosto, l’Arcivescovo Vincenzo Paglia, postulatore della causa di canonizzazione di Romero, ha ricordato davanti più di 500 partecipanti che si sono riuniti lì che si uniscono ai fedeli “in El Salvador e in altre parti del mondo, per ricordare questo pastore per la sua testimonianza evangelica che parta luce anche ai credenti ei non credenti”. Ha aggiunto che “la mia grande speranza è che Papa Francesco presto lo canonizzerà come un Santo”. Paglia ha detto alla Radio Vaticana che la canonizzazione può venire non appena l’anno prossimo. [Vedere più]
In El Salvador, 1.500 pellegrini camminarono dalla tomba di Romero nella Cattedrale di San Salvador fino al villaggio montanaro dove Romero nacque 100 anni fa, a circa 90 miglia di distanza. Papa Francesco ha inviato il cardinale cileno Ricardo Ezzati come suo rappresentante personale alle commemorazioni, pubblicando la lettera della sua commissione, in cui il papa chiama Romero “illustre pastore e testimone del vangelo”. Il papa scrive che Romero era un “difensore della Chiesa e della dignità umana”, e un araldo del “lavoro salvifico” di Cristo, manifestato nel suo “amore per tutti, soprattutto i poveri, gli abbandonati e gli emarginati”, cercando di promuovere “la riconciliazione e la pace”.
Negli Stati Uniti, l’Arcivescovo di Los Angeles Jose Gomez ha celebrato una messa commemorativa per Romero presso la Cattedrale di Nostra Signora degli Angeli, mentre il vescovo di Dallas Edward J. Burns presiede ad una messa presso il Santuario della Vergine di Guadalupe, invitando tutti i suoi sacerdoti per celebrare masse simili nelle loro parrocchie. Un gruppo indipendente di devoti Romero che ha promosso il centenario Romero negli Stati Uniti ha documentato commemorazioni in vari paesi dell’America latina e in luoghi tanto lontani come Kuala Lumpur, Malesia ... [Vedere più]
Mons. Gomez.
Cento anni dopo la sua nascita”, ha dichiarato l’Arcivescovo Gomez all’omaggio nella Cattedrale di Los Angeles, “Il beato Oscar Romero ci ispira ancora per la sua umiltà e coraggio - per il suo amore per i poveri e per la sua testimonianza di solidarietà e del servizio agli altri, anche al punto di sacrificare la propria vita”.
Leggi il resto dell’articolo a CRUX (in inglese). Leggi qui per l’ultime notizie sulla causa della canonizzazione.

Monday, August 14, 2017



#BlessedRomero #Beatification
General Update:

This is the latest on Archbishop Romero’s canonization process as of Monday, August 14, 2017 on the eve of the centenary of his birth.  In statements related to Romero’s centennial in August 2017, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, postulator of the cause, expressed hope that Romero could be canonized in 2018, and Salvadorean Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez has made optimistic remarks in that regard. However, the Salvadoran Church has denied a report in which Rosa Chávez allegedly had stated in a social network that the pope had telephoned him to confirm an upcoming canonization.
On Tuesday, February 28, 2017, the Archdiocese of San Salvador closed the diocesan phase of an investigation into an alleged miracle by Blessed Oscar Romero, who was beatified in May 2015.  The Postulator of the Cause, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, told Catholic News Service on Thursday, March 23 that officials at the Congregation for Saints’ Causes had opened the documentation concerning the alleged miracle and would begin studying it March 24.

The miracle, if confirmed, would allow Romero to canonized, becoming the first Salvadoran saint.  The findings must be confirmed by the Vatican.  Experts maintain that the approval process normally takes six to eighteen months and Pope Francis has recently told Salvadoran bishops that he intends to let the process run its normal course and not accelerate it, leaving it an open question whether Romero can be canonized during this centennial year, as many would like.
The approval process takes place in Rome in the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and will come in four phases. 
  • First, the miracle must be approved by a 7-person commission of medical experts. 
  • Secondly, that finding must be ratified by a 6-person commission of theologians. 
  • Third, the finding must also be approved by the fourteen Cardinals and the bishops of the Congregation.
  • Fourth and finally, following all those approvals, the Congregation draws up a decree recognizing the miracle which is presented to Pope Francis for final approval.
Manuel Roberto Lopez Barrera, Ambassador of El Salvador to the Holy See, confirmed in an interview given at the headquarters of Vatican Radio on March 22, 2017 that for “the recognition of the miracle, there are four stages including a medical commission, a commission of theologians, cardinals and bishops and then the Pope, who will decide on the day of the canonization.”  As of Monday, August 14, 2017, there are no reports that any of these four approvals have occurred yet.

The Salvadoran bishops went to Rome for their “Ad Limina” visits with Pope Francis and the Roman Curia.  After the first, nearly three-hour meeting with the Pope on March 20, the Military Ordinary, Bishop Fabio Colindres said that the investigation of the miracle by the Vatican authorities “seems to be following a very good process, it is on track, [but] not yet concluded, expecting it to be in the best way.” The bishop said that “naturally, there are no dates for canonization nor a date for a possible visit of the Pope to El Salvador.” According to Bishop Colindres, the Pope smiled “with great affection and said ‘we will see, the time will come, I can not give hard dates now’.”  Similarly, the auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, then-Msgr. (now Card.) Gregorio Rosa Chavez, revealed that Francis told the prelates that “we must respect the rhythms of the Holy See” and that the cause for the canonization must follow its course without acceleration.

On Wednesday, March 22, 2015, the Salvadoran bishops visited the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and met with its Prefect, Cardinal Angelo Amato.  According to reports, the prefect assured them that the cause “is not in the freezer. According to the military bishop Fabio Colindres, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints “is inviting us to make Romero more and better known, and that he is and has been a great saint.”
Left to right: Card. Jose Gregorio Rosa Chavez, Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador; Msgr. Miguel Angel Moran Aquino, Bishop of Santa Ana; Msgr. Elias Samuel Bolanos Avelar, S.D.B., Bishop of Zacatecoluca; Msgr. Jose Luis Escobar Alas, Archbishop of San Salvador; Angelo Cardinal Amato, S.D.B., Prefecto of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Msgr. Fabio Reynaldo Colindres Abarca, Bishop of El Salvador, Military; Msgr. Luis Morao Andreazza, O.F.M., Bishop Emeritus of Chalatenango; Msgr. Jose Elias Rauda Gutierrez, O.F.M., Bishop of San Vicente; Msgr. Oswaldo Estefano Escobar Aguilar, O.C.D., Bishop of Chalatenango; Msgr. William Ernesto Iraheta Rivera, Bishop of Santiago de Maria; and Msgr. Constantino Barrera Morales, Bishop of Sonsonate.


Let me say that this “four-part decision” has some caveats. First, there are other parts. There will be a review of the validity of the San Salvador process; a «positio» or summation document of the miracle must be put together—we are simplifying all of that here. Those procedural steps can be quite significant.  For example, the validity review is a prerequisite to the other steps and must be obtained before the process can move forward.  In the canonization of Mother Teresa, obtaining the decree on the validity of the diocesan inquiry within three months allowed the Roman process to move forward at lightning speed; the rest of the process also lasted about three months.  (In the case of John Paul II, that same step took over one year.)

Most importantly: I do not want to imply that we are going to find out when each step is completed. We may not know until the four parts have been fulfilled. During the beatification, we did have notice of the individual moves, and I think that same level of information can be expected in this process.

If we learn of these approvals in real-time, they will probably come with a lapse of time in between each step: normally there will be four different dates. In the beatification we saw an exception, because the same day that the cardinals approved the martyrdom decree, they delivered it to the pope and he gave his approval on the same day as the cardinals (the theologians’ vote had been a month prior). That is unusual. There may be an “express” approval, but I would expect to see three or four approvals—unless they DO NOT tell us about the previous approvals and keep the news until everything is completed as indicated in the previous paragraph.