Francis’ Letter to the Archbishop of San Salvador

Mons. José Luis Escobar Alas
Archbishop of San Salvador
President of the Episcopal Conference of El Salvador
Dear brother,
The beatification of Mons. Óscar Arnulfo Romero Galdámez, who was pastor of this dear archdiocese, is a reason for great joy for Salvadorans and for all those who enjoy the example ofthe best sons of the Church. Mons. Romero, who built peace with the power of love, bore witness to the faith with his life given to the extreme.
The Lord never abandons his people in difficulties, and he always shows diligence in their needs. Heseesthe oppression,hearsthe painful cries of his children, and comes to their aid to free them from oppression and bring them to a new land, fertile and spacious, “flowing with milk and honey (Ex 3:7-8).” Just as he chose Moses to lead his people in his name, he continues to raise pastors after his own heart, who feed his flock with knowledge and prudence.
In this beautiful Central American country, bathed by the Pacific Ocean, the Lord granted to his Church a zealous bishop who, by loving God and serving his brethren, became an image of Christ the Good Shepherd. In times of difficult coexistence, Mons. Romero knew how to lead, defend and protect his flock, remaining faithful to the Gospel and in communion with the entire Church. His ministry was distinguished by a special attention to the poorest and most marginalized. And in the moment of his death, while celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of Love and Reconciliation, he received the grace of fully identifying with the One who have his life for his sheep.
On this day of celebration for the Salvadoran nation, and also for the beautiful Latin American countries, we give thanks to God because he granted a martyr bishop the ability toseeandhearthe suffering of his people, and was molding his heart so that, in his name, he will guide and enlighten, to make his work a full exercise of Christian Charity.
The voice of the new Blessed continues to resonate today to remind us that the Church, a gathering of brothers around their Lord, is the family of God in which there can be no division. Faith in Jesus Christ, when it is well understood and is assumed until its final consequences, generates communities who are builders of peace and solidarity. It is to this that the Church in El Salvador, in America and in the entire world is called to today: to be rich in mercy, to become a leaven of reconciliation for society.
Mons. Romero invites us to wisdom and reflection, to respect for life and harmony.
It's necessary to renounce “the violence of the sword, of hatred,” and to live “the violence of love, which left Christ nailed to a cross, which makes each person overcome their egoism and ensures that no such cruel inequalities are among us.” He knew how to see and experience in his own flesh “the egoism that lurks in those who do not want to give up themselves in order to reach others.” And, with the heart of a father, he cared for “the most poor,” asking the powerful to convert their “weapons into scythes for work.”
Those who have Mons. Romero as a friend in the faith, who invoke him as protector and intercessor, who admire his image, finds in him strength and courage to build the Kingdom of God, and to commit to a more equitable and dignified social order.
It is a favorable moment for a true and proper national reconciliation in front of the challenges that currently faced today. The Pope participates with his hopes, he joins his prayers so that the seed of martyrdom flourishes and becomes entrenched by the true paths of the sons and daughters of this nation, which proudly bears the name of the Divine Savior of the world.
Dear brother, I ask you, please, to pray and do pray for me, while at the same time I impart my apostolic blessing to all those who are united in different ways in the celebration of the new Blessed.
The Vatican, May 23, 2015

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