Irish bishops offer prayers as Archbishop Oscar Romero is beatified tomorrow

22 May 2015

Archbishop Oscar Romero will be beatified tomorrow 23 May.  The ceremony will take place in San Salvador, at the city’s Divine Savior monument.  Oscar Romero was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador on 3 February 1977.  Archbishop Romero was known for his courage as he spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture.  He was assassinated on 24 March 1980 while celebrating Mass in a small chapel in a hospital in San Salvador, El Salvador.

In 1997, Saint John Paul II bestowed upon Oscar Romero the title of ‘Servant of God’, and a cause for beatification and canonisation was opened for him.  The cause stalled, but was reopened by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.  He was declared a martyr by Pope Francis on 3 February 2015, paving the way for his beatification tomorrow.

Speaking ahead of the beatification ceremony Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland said, “In this year of the fiftieth anniversary of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, the universal call to holiness as taught in Lumen Gentium* (Light of Nations) is something that we all need to hear again and again.  The beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero in San Salvador gives us some really important expressions of this ‘call to holiness’.  To be holy must also include a concern for the poor and the marginalised.  Our care for those who suffer from injustice and rejection is a critical part of the journey to sanctity.  Archbishop Romero’s beatification as a martyr also reminds us that we must be prepared to endure opposition if we are to truly live as Jesus called us to live.  My prayer is that this declaration of a new Blessed will encourage all of us in Ireland to respond ever more fully to that universal call to holiness.”

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, will celebrate Archbishop Romero’s beatification at the Festival of Peoples Mass in Saint Mary’s Pro Cathedral, Dublin at 6.30 pm this Sunday, Pentecost Sunday.  President Michael D Higgins will be attendance.  The Annual Festival of Peoples Mass celebrates the gifts that the local Church has enjoyed from the thousands of people who have come to live in our city and county in recent years from all over the world.  The Sunday celebration will include Irish and global music from massed choirs with many ethnic groups attending in traditional dress.  Everyone is welcome to attend this special occasion.

Trócaire, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church, has long been affiliated with Archbishop Romero and worked alongside him in El Salvador in the 1970s.  In 1979 Trócaire began funding the El Salvador Human Rights Commission, which had been founded by Archbishop Romero, in response to the unlawful killing of 8,000 people.  In 1980 Archbishop Romero wrote to Trócaire thanking the agency for its support of the Archdiocesan radio station which he used to educate the largely illiterate population about their rights.  “I would like once more to thank your kindness and preoccupation for our country and our Church and the kindness of the Irish Bishops’ Conference and Trócaire” he said.

A special beatification feature is now available on which features a more detailed biography of Archbishop Romero, and prayers and resources for parishes to assist in celebrating the beatification.


Notes to Editors

  • Beatification is a step on the path to sainthood. Beatification allows a person to be honoured by a particular group or region.  In order to beatify a candidate, it must be shown that the person is responsible for a posthumous miracle.  Martyrs – those who died for their religious cause – can be beatified without evidence of a miracle.  Archbishop Romero was declared a martyr by Pope Francis on 3 February 2015, thus paving the way for his beatification.  Oscar Romero was born on 15 August 1917 in Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador.  He was ordained to the priesthood on 4 April 1942 in Rome.  In 1974 he was appointed Bishop of Santiago de Maria, El Salvador.  He became the fourth Archbishop of San Salvador on 3 February 1977.
  • Lumen Gentium* (Light of Nations) is the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church.

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