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Rome Reports

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The final hours of Monsignor Romero

MONS. FERNANDO SÁENZ LACALLE Archbishop Emeritus of San Salvador Mons. Romero and I had a long-lasting friendship. In fact, with his permission, I used to organize regular meetings for priests. They were small gatherings for a few hours every month, and he frequently attended. On March 24, 1980, the day he died, we had one of these meetings. That morning we went to the beach. We were given permission to use a house, but the house keeper was not there and we had no keys to get in. So we had to climb the fence separating the house's garden from the beach. We ;enjoyed the garden, but the house stayed closed. A guard came in the afternoon. But it was an extraordinarily friendly gathering, even though it was simple. We sat on the ground, in the shade of palm trees, studying a document he had brought. Later we had lunch. The group was small because he asked us to postpone the day of the meeting, but we still discussed topics regarding the priesthood. There was a very pleasant environment of fraternity and spirituality. I think the Lord intended this be a preparation for his death. We returned at about three-thirty. (He warned us that he had a Mass that evening and that he must return early.) We continued our discussion from the morning, and then left him at a little hospital. I soon got a phone call telling me that he had been murdered. I went to the clinic to administer the last rites, but they had already given him the anointing of the sick. JMB/ATO ; RR SV -PR Up: MPI