SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (CNS) — Salvadorans plan to walk more than 90
miles in three days to mark the centennial of Blessed Oscar Romero’s birth.
Participants will leave the Metropolitan Cathedral in San
Salvador Aug. 11 and are scheduled to arrive in Ciudad Barrios, the eastern
city where Blessed Romero was born, Aug. 13.
The pilgrimage, “Caminando hacia la cuna del Profeta”
(“Walking toward the prophet’s birthplace”), will go through four dioceses
— San Salvador, San Vicente, Santiago de Maria and San Miguel.
Blessed Romero was born Aug. 15, 1917, and the actual
centennial will be marked by a Mass at San Salvador’s cathedral. Chilean
Cardinal Ricardo Ezzatti of Santiago, Pope Francis’ special envoy to the celebration,
will be the main celebrant.
Masses also are scheduled in other parts of the country. On
Aug. 12, in the western Santa Ana Diocese, Archbishop Leon Kalenga Badikebele, apostolic
nuncio to El Salvador, will deliver the homily at a commemorative Mass, while
Salvadoran Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez, a close friend of Blessed Romero, is
scheduled to give a presentation on the archbishop’s life and work.
When it announced the activities July 31, the Salvadoran
bishops’ conference stated that, as far back as three years ago, it “invited
all the worshippers, Salvadorans and of the world, to prepare for this centennial
to remember Blessed Romero as a man, a pastor and a martyr.”
The murdered priest was beatified May 23, 2015, in San
Salvador. In a letter to the gathering, read before an estimated 250,000 people
gathered for the event, Pope Francis described Blessed Romero as “a voice
that continues to resonate.”
Ordained April 4, 1942, in Rome, the Salvadoran religious leader
was appointed archbishop of San Salvador Feb. 23, 1977, and was gunned down
after Mass at a hospital chapel March 24, 1980, a day after a sermon in which
he called on Salvadoran soldiers to obey what he described as God’s order and
stop carrying actions of repression.
The archbishop’s March 30 funeral at the cathedral, attended
by more than 200,000 mourners, was interrupted by gunfire that left 30-50
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