IMAGE: CNS photo/Jose Cabezas, Reuters
By Melissa Vida
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Before the sun rose in Rome Oct. 14,
88-year-old Gaspar Romero and his brother, 93-year-old Tiberio Romero were at
the head of the line of thousands of people waiting to get into St. Peter’s Square.
The two were at the Vatican for the canonization of their
brother, St. Oscar Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador who was assassinated
In the glow of the lights under the colonnade surrounding
St. Peter’s Square, the Romero brothers and other family members waited with a
group of priests from El Salvador.
“Thanks to this event, our country has become known in
the whole world,” Gaspar Romero told Catholic News Service. “So many people
in the world were waiting for this.”
While standing in line, he shared an anecdote of the honors
his brother received throughout the years.
“The biggest honor was when Queen Elizabeth of England
contacted me,” he said, explaining it happened under atypical
circumstances. “I had seen in the papers that the Westminster Abbey was
preparing a statue (of Archbishop Romero in 1998), and so I wrote a thank-you
note to them.”
A few days later, the British ambassador visited Gaspar Romero at
his home and invited him to meet the queen. “For me that was something
unexpected, unexplainable and unasked for,” he said with a chuckle.
The Anglican Church, while not formally canonizing St.
Romero, honored him and nine others as “martyrs of the 20th century”
and erected their statues in Westminster Abbey. Lord Rowan Williams, the former
archbishop of Canterbury, led an official delegation of the Anglican Communion
at the canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Square.
Although he had kept a low profile in the wake of his
brother’s death, Gaspar Romero recently has begun to share his experience
“I feel proud as a brother and as a family member,”
he said, “but also as part of the (Salvadoran) people because over there,
they love him a lot.”
The younger Romero said his trip to Rome made him realize
just how much people from around the globe share that sentiment.
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