Oscar Romero to Be Beatified May 23; Is Cause for Rutilio Grande Next?

According to a report in Avvenire, the weekly newspaper of the Italian Bishops Conference, the beatification of El Salvador's martyred Archbishop Oscar Romero will take place on May 23 at a ceremony in El Salvador, the day before Pentecost Sunday.

The date was announced yesterday, as Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, postulator of Romero's cause for sainthood, was visiting El Salvador. The Avvenire report noted that the announcement comes on the eve of another significant anniversary in El Salvador, that of the March 12, 1977 assassination of Salvadoran Jesuit Rutilio Grande, three years before the death of Romero. According to the report, the church may be beginning an effort toward the canonization of this early victim of repression by the Salvadoran oligarchy that will parallel Romero's cause. Monsignor Paglia told reporters in El Salvador that a "close bond" unites Romero and Grande from a "theological and pastoral perspective" because "it is impossible to understand Romero without understanding Rutilio Grande."

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According to the report, Pope Francis met Grande once in the 1970s, though they did not speak together. Pope Francis described him as a priest who "left the center to go to the peripheries," a model that has become a familiar refrain of his pontificate. 

The Holy See's Congregation for the Causes of Saints has yet to make an announcement on the official date of the beatification.

On February 3rd, Pope Francis recognized Archbishop Romero's martyrdom "in odium fidei (out of hatred of the faith).

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Leo Cleary
3 years 5 months ago
Archbishop Oscar Romero was a personal friend of Jesuit Fr. Rutilio Grande even before he was surprisingly named Archbishop of San Salvador. When Fr. Grande was murdered on a rural road along with his driver and a 15 year old passenger, it was meant as a "message" to Romero. If the Archbishop kept up his foolish antics of speaking our for justice and the human rights of common Salvadorians, he too would find the same fate. The murder of Fr. Grande was the turning point for Romero. He so respected the man that when Grande was murdered it was like the straw that broke the camel's back. The archbishop presided at the funeral Mass for his Jesuit friend and gave a striking homily that galvanized the poor and marginalized toward seeking and working for the justice due them as daughters and sons of God. The years that followed found the US government seeking to have Romero silenced since they considered him a "communist" and dangerous to the political health of El Salvador and Latin America in general. Most other Salvadorian bishops, under the sway of rich Catholic land owners send messages to the Vatican that Romero was subversive and dangerous to the life of the Church in El Salvador. So much so that Romero was not welcomed when he visited the Vatican. Even John Paul 2 did not smile when a photo of the two was taken. We do not want to forget that it was the murder of the smart and Christ like Jesuit Father Grande that turned the key in Romero's heart to act in favor of his people's human dignity. Romero, and Grande before him, died for the faith: a faith that does justice.
Paul Ferris
3 years 4 months ago
Leo, thank you for your comment. It is a good reminder.

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