BY DAVID V BARRETT
THE BISHOPS of El Salvador are preparing to write to the Vatican calling for Archbishop Oscar Romero to be canonised.
Their intervention comes ahead of a series of events marking the 30th anniversary of the archbishop’s death. Archbishop Romero was shot through the heart on March 24 1980 while celebrating Mass in a hospital chapel.
They have received support from Bishop Michael Evans of East Anglia, who said this week that he was a “prophet of justice” and a martyr, Bishop Evans said: “Archbishop Romero has inspired Christian communions throughout the world. The Anglican Church has recognised him as a great heroic man of faith, a great prophet of justice and peace, a martyr who gave his life for God.” Archbishop Romero’s Cause was opened in 1997 and Pope John Paul II gave him the title Servant of God.
San Salvador Archbishop José Escobar Alas said: “It is our great desire that Archbishop Romero be canonised as soon as possible.” He said the Congregation for Saints’ Causes was considering the matter.
Two major ecumenical services will be held in Britain to mark his martyrdom. The first, on Saturday March 20, at York Minster, will be led by Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, and the Anglican Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.
A week later, on Palm Sunday, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will lead a service at Westminster Abbey.
Cardinal O’Brien will preside at a Mass in Edinburgh Cathedral on the anniversary of Archbishop Romero’s death.
The Diocese of East Anglia will hold a Romero Week, with a choral evensong at the Anglican cathedral and an anniversary Mass at St John’s Cathedral, Norwich.
In El Salvador the new president, Mauricio Funes, will take part in a commemoration. He has dedicated his presidency to the memory of Oscar Romero.
Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham and Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds will be among the British clergy there.