Bishop Rowan Williams led an Anglican delegation to the Vatican Oct. 14 for the canonization of Oscar Romero, and his successor sent a letter to Pope Francis to mark the occasion.
Archbishop Justin Welby’s letter described the former Archbishop of San Salvador, who was assassinated as he celebrated Mass in March 1980, as “a true example to all Christians, and particularly to our fellow bishops.”
The service at St Peter’s Basilica also celebrated the canonization of Pope Paul VI and five other saints: Nazaria Ignazia of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Maria Catherine Kasper, Vincenzo Romano, Francesco Spinelli, and Nuncio Sulprizio.
Bishop Williams led a delegation of 10 Anglican bishops at the service, which included the Rt. Rev. David Hamid, Suffragan Bishop in Europe.
“I recall meeting so many who were inspired by Oscar Romero to continue the struggle for justice for the poor of the region,” Bishop Hamid wrote on his weblog after the service. “In the hearts of the people of Latin America Romero was already considered a saint; ‘San Oscar de las Américas’ they acclaimed him, almost right after he was assassinated. On the occasion of his canonization, for the poor of the Americas this is a moment of great joy to have his martyrdom officially recognized by the Church. I never imagined I would be present to witness this event.”
During the service, Pope Francis used three symbolic and historic elements, including Pope Paul VI’s favorite chalice and pastoral cross. He also wore the blood-stained cincture that Romero was wearing when he was murdered.
Romero was assassinated on the eve of Archbishop Robert Runcie’s installation in Canterbury Cathedral on March 25, 1980. In an act of solidarity, Archbishop Runcie offered prayers from the place in the cathedral at which Archbishop Thomas Becket was martyred eight centuries earlier.
Anglicans in El Salvador “thank God for giving us the gift of Saint Romero, our brother,” wrote the Rt. Rev. Juan David Alvarado Melgar, Bishop of El Salvador.
“Saint Romero leaves us as a legacy the commitment to work together in the construction of peace and to follow the path to the kingdom of God. Peace has a radical ingredient, and it is justice.”
Adapted from ACNS