24 March: Bl. Oscar Romero, martyr

There is a piece at Vatican Radio that this Holy Thursday, 24 March, will be the “feast day” of Bl. Oscar Romero, the Salvadoran Archbishop who was murdered while celebrating Mass in 1980. It seems to be the Church’s day of prayer for missionary martyrs.

It’s not his feast day where I am, in the sense that anything liturgical can be done in his honor.

And it wouldn’t be even if it weren’t Holy Thursday.

I’m all for prayer to true martyrs whom the Church has recognized as such. We can also invoke the prayers of the countless martyrs whose names are know only to God.

However, the liturgical cult of a Blessed, only beatified, as many martyrs are, is generally only extended to the diocese where that Blessed lived and died and also, perhaps, to their religious orders and some other places closely associated with the Blessed, such as a native country or diocese, etc.

Canonization, not beatification, opens the way to being on the universal Church’s calendar, not just a local calendar.  Sometimes the Church allows for much wider observance and cult of mere Blesseds, depending on their popularity.

So, for the whole Church, even were tomorrow not Holy Thursday, which bumps every other consideration off the calendar because our focus ought to be on the Institution of the Eucharist and the Priesthood and the beginning of the Lord’s Passion (and not on political agendas or other sidelines), we don’t celebrate Bl. Oscar Romero liturgically.

In years to come, unless he is canonized if you are in El Salvador, then you might have permission to remember him liturgically, but if you aren’t, then you probably won’t.

The moderation queue is ON.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Polycarpio says:

    I suspect that, among your faithful readers, I am the most devoted to Blessed Romero, whom I met in my childhood in El Salvador and in whose beatification I blog (over at Super Martyrio). Of course, you are right! I am sure that Romero himself would back you up on that point. I took the Vatican Radio piece more lightly, as a means to encourage those who may remember Romero on Thursday, including myself, to focus more intensely on the Eucharistic meaning of Holy Thursday. It was the Eucharist that Romero was preaching about when he was killed. His final words: “To Christian faith at this moment the wheaten Host is transformed into the body of the Lord, who offered himself for the redemption of the world, and in this chalice the wine is transformed into the Blood that was the price of salvation. May this body immolated and this blood sacrificed for mankind nourish us also, so that we may give our body and our blood to suffering and to pain, like Christ …”

  2. Supertradmum says:

    Like all the individual patronal martyrs of the many dioceses of England, Scotland and Wales, which are not on the universal calendar….I miss those, like St. Philip Howard or Oliver Plunkett, which are big deals in A and B and in London, but optional memorials, even though saints. Only two of many….

  3. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Thank you! I was wondering about Beati on the calendars of religious Orders.

    “Sometimes the Church allows for much wider observance and cult of mere Blesseds, depending on their popularity.” St. Charlemagne is an interesting example.

  4. JARay says:

    I received an email today saying that Fr. Thomas Uzhunnail who was kidnapped in the Yemen is to be crucified tomorrow (Good Friday). The email is supposed to be from the Franciscan Sisters of Seissen and they really do exist in South Africa.

  5. Eugene says:

    Father everyone knows you hate VII. Do liturgical rules really matter in this age of heretical enlightenment, after all the Supreme Pontiff has done away with the Missa in Caena Domine. [The Pope can do whatever he wants. The rest of us have to pay attention to the rules.] The washing of feet especially those of females and non Catholics,done while kneeling before them, but never kneeling at the consecration, has replaced the great annual liturgical observance of Holy Thursday, which was always my most favoured Mass to serve as an altar boy many years ago in once Catholic northern Italy.

  6. KAS says:

    I shall be sure to pray my Rosary today for all our Priests! We need you guys.

    Someone complained to me that their priest didn’t do such and such and I looked at her like she’d suddenly turned orange and green because she made no sense. Our priests have the task of bringing us the Sacraments and if they do NOTHING else all day that should be enough to earn our gratitude. However, our priests do all sorts of other good, all day, and sometimes all night, and she was complaining about something a lay person could do. sigh.

    I think I shall pray for our priests today, and praise God in gratitude for His institution of the Priesthood, and pray that laity will comprehend the difference and do their own work and avoid interfering with the work of the priesthood. Why is this such a difficult concept? It seems so simple to me. Oh well. Thank you for your service to God and to us!

  7. cda_sister says:

    I came across a beautiful writing this past week on social media. By the time I finished reading … I was in tears. Holy Thursday has always been a most anticipated and loved day for me because of what it commemorates. The 2 greatest gifts Christ could have left us here on earth. The Holy Eucharist and the Priesthood. This morning, I sent this to my recently former pastor of 14 years, in honor of and in thanksgiving for his priesthood, his faithful and loving service to those Christ has put in his care, past and present. I will also send to my new pastor, who has big shoes to fill, but is truly a blessing to us. What better day to share this with all our holy priests than today.

    The Beautiful Hands of a Priest
    We need them in life’s early morning, We need them again at its close;
    We feel their warm clasp of true friendship, We seek them when tasting life’s woes.
    At the altar each day we behold them, And the hands of a king on his throne
    Are not equal to them in their greatness; Their dignity stands all alone;
    And when we are tempted and wander, To pathways of shame and of sin,
    It’s the hand of a priest that will absolve us, Not once, but again and again.
    And when we are taking a life’s partner, Other hands may prepare us a feast,
    But the hand that will bless and unite us – Is the beautiful hand of a priest.
    God bless them and keep them all holy, For the Host which their fingers caress;
    When can a poor sinner do better, Than to ask Him to guide thee and bless?
    When the hour of death comes upon us, May our courage and strength be increased,
    By seeing raised over us in blessing – The beautiful hands of a priest.

    May God continue to bless, strengthen and keep holy all his faithful servants and may the Holy Spirit call more worthy men to the vocation of the priesthood.

    Thanks to you too, Fr Z….for all you do. You provide a wealth of information that enables me to learn more and more about my awesome Church and faith. For one in the autumn of life, and a cradle Catholic, this is a tremendous blessing.

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