Archbishop Oscar Romero was beatified in El Salvador this morning, with Pope Francis declaring from the Vatican that the martyr's feast will be celebrated on March 24 each year — the day “in which he was born into heaven.” Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided over Blessed Oscar Romero's May 23 beatification Mass in the capital city of San Salvador. In his homily the cardinal said that “the figure of Romero is still alive and giving comfort to the marginalized of the earth.” “His option for the poor was not ideological, but evangelical. His charity extended to the persecutors.” Archbishop Romero was killed due to hatred of the faith on March 24, 1980, in the midst of the birth of a civil war between leftist guerrillas and the dictatorial government of the right. At the beginning of this year Pope Francis approved of his martyrdom and that the ceremony of his beatification be held. The Mass began at 10:00 a.m. local time in front of a multitude of near 300,000 people, who filled the streets surrounding the Salvador Plaza of the Mundo de San Salvador. At the beginning of the ceremony, the current archbishop of San Salvador, Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas, read a message asking Pope Francis “to deign to enroll in the number of the blesseds this venerable servant of God Óscar Arnulfo Romero Galdámez.” The postulator Archbishop Romero's cause, Mons. Vicenzo Paglia, then read a brief biography of the now Blessed. In a letter read first in Latin and then in Spanish, Pope Francis said that “to fulfill the hope of many faithful Christians” and by virtue of his apostolic authority he authorized that hereafter Archbishop Romero “is called Blessed and his feast is celebrated the day of March 24, on the day that he was born into heaven.” The Holy Father described the now Blessed Salvadoran as “Bishop and martyr, pastor according to the heart of Christ, evangelizer and father of the poor, heroic witness of the Kingdom of God.”
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