Salvador's Blessed Romero canonization probably in Rome in October

By Rhina Guidos

WASHINGTON (CNS) — During an April 11 homily in Washington,
Salvadoran Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas said the canonization of Blessed Oscar
Romero will “probably” be in Rome and “probably” take place at end of October after
a meeting of bishops.

He hedged his
statement in an interview with Catholic News Service saying the final decision
is up to Pope Francis.

“Soon we will have a canonization,” the archbishop said to a
crowd of mostly Salvadoran immigrants gathered for Mass at the Shrine of the
Sacred Heart. “On May 19, we will know the date and the place.”

That’s the date cardinals will gather at the Vatican for a
meeting known as a consistory, where they’re expected to decide the details.

The archbishop’s statement came hours after reports that
Honduran Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga said to members of the press in Madrid that
the Romero canonization would take place Oct. 21.

El Salvador’s Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez, who also was
present at the Mass in Washington, referenced Cardinal Maradiaga’s statement
and said, “Let’s wait until the official announcement” but also said the Honduran cardinal was close to the pope and may know details.

Archbishop Escobar, who occupies the post held for three
years by Blessed Romero, from 1977 until his assassination in 1980, said El
Salvador’s bishops sent the pope a message asking that the canonization be held
in their country. Many of the country’s poor would not be able to otherwise attend
the ceremony, a first for El Salvador, he said. Archbishop Romero’s May 2015 beatification took place in El Salvador. Ultimately, the pope will
decide what to do, he said.

The archbishop and the cardinal are part of a delegation of
Salvadoran bishops seeking to meet in April with U.S. lawmakers to plead for
relief for immigrants who have benefited from two imperiled U.S. immigration
programs: Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Action for Childhood
Arrivals. Their end would affect more than 140,000 Salvadoran nationals living
in the U.S. under those protections, he said.

Archbishop Escobar told those gathered at Mass to pray for
Blessed Romero’s intercession and a miracle so that lawmakers find a permanent
solution and an answer to their pleas.

Blessed Romero was assassinated March 24, 1980 during Mass after
repeatedly pleading for an end to violence, to injustice against the poor, and
to the killing of innocent civilians during an armed conflict that ultimately
lasted 12 years and resulted in more than 70,000 deaths in the country.

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