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Card. Rosa Chávez: Possibility of papal trip to El Salvador well-received by Vatican


On May 19, the date and location of Óscar Romero's canonization will be released. The bishops from El Salvador have made a single request of Pope Francis.   

CARD. GREGORIO ROSA CHÁVEZ
Auxiliar Bishop of San Salvador
There's a letter to the pope from the bishops of El Salvador, personally given to the Holy Father with two proposals. The first request: 'Holy Father, for you to celebrate the canonization in our country, where we can all see you in-person. If that's not possible, if you could stop by El Salvador when you go to Panama.' The letter's content was made public, that's why I can repeat it. This idea was well-received by the Vatican, that the pope makes a stop on his trip. It's two hours from El Salvador to Panama, if the canonization isn't there, but rather here in Rome. We'll see what happens.” 

Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez is one of the people who knew future saint Óscar Romero the best. They experienced very difficult times together, like when Romero was accused of supporting liberation theology.   

CARD. GREGORIO ROSA CHÁVEZ
Auxiliar Bishop of San Salvador
There's a tremendous moment when strong accusations against him were reaching Rome, and he had to defend himself. We worked together all night on the defense document. That was a dramatic time because it was painful to see what they were saying about him and we said, 'But that's not true.' For me, it was one of the most dramatic moments in terms of his relationship with Rome. There were other accusations later, but that first time left a mark on me.” 

Óscar Romero angered the military and oligarchs with his constant denunciation of inequality, and his condemnation of violence wasn't good for guerrilla groups, either. Thus, he knew there would be retaliation.    

CARD. GREGORIO ROSA CHÁVEZ
Auxiliar Bishop of San Salvador
He knew they were going to kill him, we all knew. The question was how and where. We were afraid it would be an attack, that they'd trap him in his house, that they'd fake a traffic accident. We feared that. God gave him the grace of dying on the altar during the offering. It's not easy to imitate Romero. He's a disciple who risked his life, who went against the grain, who was misunderstood but never stopped being a disciple, with a mysticism of victim, of offering.” 

El Salvador has greatly changed since then, but continues to suffer from the scourge of violent gangs. The cardinal assures the future St. Óscar Romero could help resolve the situation.   

CARD. GREGORIO ROSA CHÁVEZ
Auxiliar Bishop of San Salvador
The violence of young gang members. Each day, 10 to 12 people are murdered in a country of six million. It's one of the highest rates in the world. People are disheartened, they don't see a way out. The pope is presenting the formula. Romero can bring peace to the country under three conditions. First, through awareness of what he preached, second, by imitating his example, and third, by invoking his intercession.” 

St. Romero of America is about to become St. Romero worldwide. As the cardinal says, he's a new saint who could intercede for those who suffer injustice, for migrants or even journalists, given that he was an exceptional communicator.