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Beatification of Oscar Romero

Ana Maria Pineda, R.S.M. attended the beatification of Oscar Romero last month. Here are her reflections on that momentous event:

  The long awaited beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador took place on Saturday, May 23, 2015 in San Salvador, El Salvador. The event was monumental, historical, and of incredible significance for this beautiful and still suffering country. After the tragedy of 12 years of civil war and its after affects, it was one glorious day when El Salvador could be confirmed in the fact that Archbishop Romero had truly lived a life in defense of the poor and most vulnerable and was doing it in the spirit of the Gospel. He was a man who saw the injustices and spoke out against them. He used the power of the word during his Sunday sermons and whenever the opportunity and need presented itself. But, aside from speaking out against the injustices suffered by many in El Salvador, his life was also a witness to the power of love.

  The joy and pride in the crowd was palpable. A round of "Viva Romero!" kept resounding at different moments until it seemed like a chorus. From all sides of the crowd this triumphant shout could be heard. The aerial view of the plaza was unimaginable. People were streaming from all directions converging on the plaza of El Divino Salvador (The Divine Savior, patron of El Salvador). It was estimated that 300,000 would attend, but the latest estimate was beyond that number.


Portrait of Oscar Romero at his beatification.

  Others watched the 3 1/2 hour event on TV. The bells rang gloriously several times; the music was magnificent with touches of "pueblo" music combined with classic church songs. Throughout it all people joined in the singing. The Gospel was beautifully sung as a proclamation announcing this truly good news. Beato Oscar Romero of the Americas...The papal representative said, "Monseñor, you belong to us, but now you belong to the world." The shirt that he wore that day that still has the bullet hole and is stained by his blood was presented as a relic during the ceremony.

  The most talked about moment was the appearance in the sky of the circular rainbow. At the moment that they finished reading the proclamation by Pope Francis to have Romero included in the list of martyrs, a circular rainbow appeared right above the crowd. It was a moment of amazement as the crowd looked up to the heavens to see this gift of a rainbow. It stayed there for almost the duration of the ceremony.

  Ultimately, there are not words to describe this event. But, I for one felt that as a native Salvadoran, I was included in a historic event that will remain with me for a lifetime.

religious studies