On Aug. 15, El Salvador will celebrate the 100th birthday of Blessed Óscar Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador assassinated at the altar in 1980. For newly appointed Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez, the time is right to revive Romero’s legacy in a country still battered by violence and poverty.
Cardinal Rosa Chávez was surprised by his appointment this spring, the result of Pope Francis looking through the ranks and choosing an auxiliary bishop who happened to be a close friend of Romero. On May 21, he announced that he accepted the new title in Romero’s name, and the words hit the headlines of El Salvador’s local newspapers.
“The press outlined the relation I have with Msgr. Romero, and [my nomination] is seen as a gift to the country and to the church,” El Salvador’s first cardinal said in a phone interview with America. Among the Salvadoran people, parallels between the new cardinal and the martyr were quickly drawn. “The atmosphere [in El Salvador] is full of joy and hope,” he said.
Óscar Romero is venerated in El Salvador and throughout Latin America because of his courage, faith and focus on the poor. (…)
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