The Congregation for the Causes of Saints announced that Pope Francis has recognized the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador.
Archbishop Romero was assassinated on March 24th, 1980, while celebrating Mass at a local chapel. The Salvadoran prelate was an outspoken voice against the Revolutionary Government Junta and their persecution of the Catholic Church and repression of basic human rights.
His cause for canonization began in 1990 and was formally accepted by John Paul II in 1997, when the martyred archbishop was given the title "Servant of God." Although Romero's cause passed a theological audit by the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith in 2005, the process was slowed down due to the death of John Paul II. Following Benedict XVI's election, several liturgical changes to the Congregation of the Causes of Saints further delayed the cause.
During his return flight from South Korea in August 2015, Pope Francis explained to journalists that the Salvadoran archbishop's cause was initially blocked "for prudence".
"What I would like is to have clarified when there is martyrdom in ‘odium fidei’ (out of hatred for the faith), whether it is for confessing the credo or for performing the works that Jesus commands us to do for our neighbor," the Pope said.
"For me, Romero is a man of God. He was a man of God but there has to be the process, and the Lord will have to give his sign (of approval). But if He wishes, He will do so! The postulators must move now because there are no impediments."
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi informed journalists that Archbishop Vicenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family and Postulator of Archbishop Romero's Cause for Beatification, will hold a press conference tomorrow to speak further on the Pope's recognition of the Salvadoran prelate's martyrdom.
Taking a few moments in contemplative prayer and keeping one's gazed fixed on Christ will "make hope grow."
This was the reflection given by Pope Francis this morning during his homily at Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father reflected on today's reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, which calls on Christians to "persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith."
Referring also the Gospel from St. Mark, the Holy Father reflected on the importance of contemplating Jesus' life and works in order to find peace and hope.
"How should I contemplate with the Gospel today?" he asked. "I see that Jesus was in the midst of a crowd, around him there was a large crowd. This passage says the word 'crowd'" five times. But did Jesus rest? I could think: 'He's always with the crowd.'"
"But a great part of Jesus life," he continued, "was passed on the road, with the crowd. But did he rest? Yes, one time, the Gospel says, he slept on the boat but a storm came and the disciples woke him up. Jesus was continuously among the people. And if I look at Jesus this way, I contemplate Jesus that way, I imagine Jesus that way. And I tell Jesus what comes to my mind."
The Holy Father went on to recall the Gospel, in which Jesus healed the daughter of a synagogue official, imagining how Jesus was in the midst of those who doubted the girl's healing. This imagining, the Pope said, is a prayer of contemplation, to read and imagine the scene in which Christ found himself in. He then invited the faithful to do the same.
"Make this prayer of contemplation.'But I have so much to do!' 'But in your home, 15 minutes, take the Gospel, a small passage, imagine what happened and speak with Jesus about it. Thus your gaze will be fixed on Jesus and not on soap operas, for example. Your ears will be fixed on the words of Jesus and not so much on the gossip of the neighbors," he said.
By praying with the Gospel, as well as prayers like the Rosary, the Pope went on to say, one's Christian life can move toward memory and hope.
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis once again invited the faithful to make this prayer of contemplation in their daily lives.
"Today, for example, look for 10 minutes -15, no more – read the Gospel, imagine and say something to Jesus. Nothing more; and in that way your knowledge of Jesus will be greater and your hope will grow. Do not forget, to have your gaze fixed on Jesus. And this is what the prayer of contemplation is for."
This is a modest effort at a "blog" my attempt to offer some brief reflections each day that come from various sources that I find interesting - primarily the daily reflections of Pope Francis as found on Zenit and Rome Reports. Fr. John