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Bishop, five priests arrested in Brazil, accused of embezzling Church funds

Brasilia, Brazil, Mar 21, 2018 / 01:58 pm (ACI Prensa).- A Catholic bishop, five priests and other administrative officials in the Brazilian state of Goiás have been arrested on accusations of embezzling more than two million reales (about $600,000) from the Catholic Church.

Bishop José Ronaldo of the Diocese of Formosa was among those arrested March 19, as part of operation “Caiaphas.” Among other findings, the operation discovered 70,000 reales (about $21,000) in cash in a cabinet with a false bottom. The cabinet belonged to Fr. Epitácio Cardoso Pereira, in the Planaltina township.

In wake of these developments, Pope Francis on March 21 appointed the Archbishop of Uberaba, Paulo Mendes Peixoto, as apostolic administrator of the diocese.

According to prosecutors, the embezzled money comes from tithes, donations, stipends for baptisms and weddings from churches. Authorities said the diversion of money has been going on since 2015 when the bishop took possession of the Diocese of Formosa.

Judge Fernando Oliveira Samuel said that the money “was systematically diverted by order of José Ronaldo and also approved by the rest of the clerics.”

According to authorities, legal wiretaps suggested that Bishop Ronaldo and four other priests purchased a ranch to raise livestock and a store where lottery tickets are sold.

“In addition to that, it is possible that the vehicles acquired by the diocese were intended for Fr. Moacyr Santana’s personal use in the city of Posse,” the judge added.

The public prosecutor in charge of the case, Douglas Chegury, said that similar irregularities occurred when Bishop Ronaldo was in the Diocese of Janauba.

Authorities began investigating the current case in December 2017 when members of the faithful complained that monthly expenses for the bishop’s residence had gone from 5,000 reales ($1,520) to 35,000 reales ($10,600) since Bishop Ronaldo assumed the diocese.

Consequently, the local faithful requested an open disclosure of the diocesan accounts. When the bishop refused, they said they would boycott church collections until the measure was taken.

Bishop Ronaldo claimed at the time that there were  "no improprieties" and that he did not take any of the money collected.

ACI Digital, the Portuguese language sister agency of CNA, repeatedly sought the reaction of the Diocese of Formosa but did not receive a response by press time.

The Secretary General of the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Leonardo Steiner, issued a press release March 20 stating that “In face of the jailing of the bishop of the Diocese of Formosa in Goiás State, the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference expresses its solidarity with the clergy and faithful of the diocese, reminding the brother bishop that justice is to abandon oneself, trusting in the merciful will of God.”

“The truth of the facts must be established with justice and transparency, considering the good of the particular church and the bishop,” the conference said.

The bishops of Brazil asked ”all the faithful of the Church to remain united in prayer to be true witnesses to the Gospel.”


In feeding the hungry of Chile, beloved friar's legacy lives on

Santiago, Chile, Mar 21, 2018 / 03:12 am (ACI Prensa).- Although he died in 1853, the legacy of Friar Andrés Garcia Acosta is as alive as ever in Santiago, Chile, through a soup kitchen bearing his name that feeds 150 people per day.

This outreach is part of the “Spoon Trail,” a Franciscan ministry where those in need can stop at different locations to receive breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Following the friar's example, dozens of volunteers at “Friar Andresito's Soup Kitchen” help feed the poor and homeless, including those facing addictions and prostitution.

For volunteers, the work is more than just an act of charity.

“This has meant everything to me,” volunteer Magdalena Urquhart told the postulator of the friar’s cause.

She said working with the poor has changed the way she viewed them. “Although in the beginning one has a certain amount of fear because there are a lot of alcoholics, a lot of drug addictions, they're people who need a lot of love, for someone to listen to them.”

Rogelio Caroca, who has volunteered for seven years, considers Friar Andresito to be his friend and admires him because of his witness as “a simple man who generously practiced charity across the board.”

Andrés Garcia Acosta, known as Friar Andresito, was born in the Canary Islands on Jan. 10, 1800. He became acquainted with the Franciscan Order during his childhood and youth.

In 1832, he embarked for the Americas, in one of the great waves of migration from the island caused by famines, lack of employment, and droughts.

He arrived in Montevideo, Uruguay, and in 1834, he entered the Franciscan Order. In 1838 the government expelled the Franciscans from the country, and he traveled to Chile when he learned that the Franciscans of the Strict Observance had been reestablished there.

Friar Andresito was assigned to the Franciscan Church of the Strict Observance from 1839 to 1853. He served as almoner and helped out in the kitchen. As almoner he got to know the physical and spiritual needs of both the wealthy and the poor.

Friar Andresito was beloved and renowned by the people of his time. Besides being almoner, he visited jails and hospitals, attended to the sick and gave spiritual advice. He was known for his humility, dedication and joy.

On Sundays, he would distribute fruit and bread to the poor, an activity that today inspires “Friar Andresito's Soup Kitchen.”

On Jan. 9, 1853, Friar Andresito came down with pneumonia. He died Jan. 14 and hundreds of people came to pay their respects.

On July 10, 1855, the friar’s remains were exhumed, and his body was found incorrupt.

In 1927, the “Friar Andrés Brotherhood” was founded and spread throughout Chile. In 1977, the “Friends of Friar Andresito” society was established, with devotees in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and the United States.

Pope Francis recognized Friar Andresito's heroic virtues June 8, 2016 and he was declared venerable.

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

'Godmothers for Life' serve vulnerable moms in Uruguay

Montevideo, Uruguay, Mar 18, 2018 / 03:41 am (CNA/EWTN News).- An Uruguayan non-profit organization called “Godmothers for Life” has been serving mothers in crisis pregnancies for more than 17 years, working out of a facility at Saint Jerome Chapel in Montevideo.   

Offering talks, one-on-one conversations, and job training, these “godmothers” help vulnerable moms face their pregnancies with dignity and hope, and not to see abortion as the only way out of their situation.

Being chosen as a godparent is a significant honor in Latin America, where godparents are typically highly involved in the lives of their godchildren, which gives the group’s name a special meaning.

The organization has its origins in 2000 at Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico. Marta Grego and her husband traveled from Uruguay to visit the shrine where they experienced in prayer what they described as “Our Lady of Guadalupe's call” to dedicate themselves to the cause of life.

Marta felt in her heart that God was asking her to fight abortion and save babies when she got back to Uruguay. However, she did not see a clear path forward at the time, because she was working and supporting her family. Nevertheless, she felt God telling her, “You take care of my things and I'll take care of yours.”

When the couple returned to Uruguay, a pregnant woman rang their doorbell asking for food. She had made up her mind to get an abortion. That encounter was how Godmothers for Life got its start, with Marta Grego as its founder and director.

Although the original purpose of the organization was to help women decide to keep their babies, Teresa Rodriguez, the group’s current president, explained that they eventually saw “that besides the girls who wanted to abort, there were pregnant girls who were not thinking of aborting but were in a very vulnerable situation.”

In response, the group expanded its work by providing free job training courses and workshops on Christian and human formation, “always focusing on the mom and her baby, helping her to value motherhood, but also helping the family,” so they can find their way out of poverty. Currently, Godmothers for Life is serving about 60 at-risk women in Montevideo, relying solely on donations for their work.

“A bond is created between us and the mothers which is not based on dependency but on affection. We are one big family,” Rodriguez said.

In addition to their main location in Montevideo, Godmothers for Life has a place at Saint Eugene Chapel in the administrative district, where they care for an additional 60 women. They hope to extend the project to other areas of Uruguay. They have already begun plans in several other districts.


Baby box safe haven bill clears key hurdle in Peruvian congress

Lima, Peru, Mar 16, 2018 / 10:46 am (ACI Prensa).- A save haven bill that would allow mothers to leave their children at certain drop off locations to be taken into state custody without punishment is moving forward in the Peruvian legislature.

The “Saving Cradles and Confidential Birth” bill passed out of the Committee on Women March 14 with a favorable vote of 4-2, clearing the way for its final passage by the full assembly of the unicameral Peruvian congress.

The Saving Cradles Association, which is backing the legislation, told ACI Prensa, the Spanish-language sister agency of CNA, that this bill seeks to help “Peruvian women who for some very personal reason cannot or do not want to raise the children they are expecting, as well to help their own unborn children, and to protect babies abandoned on the street which puts their lives in danger.”

The bill provides for adequate and safe locations installed in private and public health care centers where women can leave their newborns. It establishes a legal procedure that allows for anonymity for the parents and places the state in charge of the adoption process.

Members of congress supporting the bill said that the legislation seeks to “give an alternative to women who cannot or do not want to raise their newborns, as well as to ensure the boy or girl's right to life and to live in a family.”

The Saving Cradles Association congratulated “members of congress Betty Ananculi, Juan Carlos Gonzales, Tamar Arimborgo and Cecilia Chacón who are working in a concrete and effective manner for the women and children of Peru.”

The organization said it is “hopeful that this goal will soon be achieved with a favorable vote in the full assembly of the Congress of the Republic.”


Archdiocese of Mexico backs sentence of priest jailed for abuse

Mexico City, Mexico, Mar 15, 2018 / 02:58 pm (ACI Prensa).- The Archdiocese of Mexico reaffirmed its commitment to fighting sexual abuse and expressed its support for the 62-year jail sentence for a priest found guilty of abuse.

The archdiocesan communications office issued a statement March 13 on the sentence imposed on the priest Carlos Lopez Valdés, who was found guilty of molesting Jesús Romero Colín several times between 1994 and 1998.

Lopez Valdés, who is now 72, served at San Agustín de las Cuevas parish in Tlapan, south of Mexico City. Romero was his altar boy, and was abused between the ages of 7 and 11.

Romero filed a complaint against the priest in 2007 and the Archdiocese of Mexico then opened an ecclesiastical trial, which found the priest guilty and dismissed him from the clerical state.

Lopez Valdés was arrested Aug. 27, 2016, in Jiutepec. Morelos State, and sent to the Reclusorio Oriente (prison) in Mexico City.

Romero has also accused former Mexican cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of protecting the priest and concealing the abuse. The now-retired Cardinal Rivera was accused last year by two former priests of failing to report several cases of abuse. The Mexico of Archdiocese at the time denied any failure to act on the part of the cardinal.

Romero sent a letter to Pope Francis in 2013. The Holy Father replied expressing his “pain” and “shame” for what had happened and asked for “forgiveness in the name of the Church.”

In their March 13 statement, the archdiocese expressed its “complete readiness to cooperate with the authorities to procure justice in society.”

“We express our solidarity with the victim and his family. We deeply regret what happened. This terrible behavior causes us pain and shame and confirms us in our commitment to do everything necessary to address the root cause of these situations,” they continued.

“We will not be satisfied until this evil is extirpated. As Pope Francis has recently said, this is one of the priorities of the Church in our time.”

The archdiocese also reiterated that “our standard is 'zero tolerance' in face of these situations,” and acknowledged “the need to report, recognize the evil and ask forgiveness.”


This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Peruvian bishops: Welcome Venezuelan migrants with solidarity

Lima, Peru, Mar 15, 2018 / 11:07 am (ACI Prensa).- The Peruvian Bishops' Conference called on the people of the country to act with Christian solidarity toward Venezuelan migrants fleeing hardship in their homeland.

In a statement issued March 9, the Peruvian bishops meeting in a plenary assembly expressed their “fraternity with the Venezuelan people” and recalled that “in decades past thousands of our compatriots had to emigrate to Venezuela.”

“Current circumstances require us to act with Christian solidarity toward our brothers from that country, who for various reasons have been forced to leave their homeland and are with us today. May Peru be a second home for them where they feel very welcome and safe,” the bishops stated.

Venezuela is in the midst of an acute political and economic crisis under President Nicolas Maduro, resulting in severe shortages of food and medicine, which is increasing emigration.

The Peruvian department that oversees immigration has estimated that there are currently 115,000 Venezuelans in the country, of which 31,000 have a temporary work permit which allows them to work and study for one year.

Peru is increasing the number of permits it issues to accommodate for the surge in newcomers.

In a statement released March 8, the immigration department head, Eduardo Sevilla, said that some 900 Venezuelans are arriving in Peru every day.

“But not all stay in the country,” he said. “Many of them have tourist visas and can stay for up to six months.”

Other countries, including Colombia, have also seen an increase in Venezuelan immigrants in recent months.


This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


Argentine Church to release baptismal records from dictatorship period

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mar 14, 2018 / 02:03 pm (ACI Prensa).- The Argentine Bishops' Conference will release to the justice system, in accordance with Pope Francis' wishes, dozens of baptismal records from the country’s dictatorship period.

The conference said it will release the records of 127 baptisms performed in the Stella Maris chapel of the Escuela Superior de Mecánica de la Armada, a naval school for technical instruction in Buenos Aires.

The school functioned as one of the largest clandestine centers for detention, torture and extermination during the military dictatorship in power from 1976 to 1983.

The Military Diocese recently found the records, which will be turned over to federal judge Sergio Gabriel Torres and attorney general Pablo Parenti.

According to the Associated Press, local courts have discovered a “systematic plan of stealing the children of disappeared women and illegally adopting them out during the dictatorship.” After detained women gave birth, the children were reportedly given new identities and illegally adopted out to military families.

However, the records to be turned over by the local Church are not believed to be illegally adopted children of the detained-disappeared, but rather children of soldiers who were baptized, said Bishop Santiago Olivera of the Military Diocese.

He clarified to the Argentine National News Agency Telam that an investigation into the records will bring certainty on this point.

“Sharing the sentiments and earnest desire of the Holy Father, the Argentine Bishops' Conference is making available to the justice system the totality of the recorded information and the aforementioned documentation, in continuity with the procedures of this conference as to the requirements of the justice system in recent years,” the committee said in a statement.

They also stressed that “these records can be accessible to well-recognized human rights organizations and researchers from various academic fields.”

“We have the firm conviction that the Church must maximize its efforts to contribute to the path of remembrance, truth and justice in all fields, especially in face of the gravity of the crimes against humanity perpetrated under State Terrorism,” the statement said.

The Executive Committee of the Argentine Bishop's Conference also stressed its “commitment to immediately inform the judicial authorities of any data and information that may come forth in the future.”

In January this year, Pope Francis authorized the publication of the chapel's baptismal records when he met in the Vatican with the Bishop for the Military Diocese, Santiago Olivera, Telam reported.

Also with the Holy Father's authorization, the Vatican initiated a system in October 2016 for relatives of those who were detained-disappeared to access the archives that the Holy See has on the dictatorship in Argentina.

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Apartment building donated to house homeless, pregnant mothers in Alberta

Edmonton, Canada, Mar 14, 2018 / 03:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Every year in Edmonton, the city sees around 100 homeless, pregnant women who are in need of health care, shelter, and support.

Many of these women struggle with addictions, mental health issues, or finances, and give birth to babies who are in need of neonatal care.

However, local Edmonton developer Gene Dub recently donated a four-story building to a non-profit program called Pregnancy Pathways, with the aim of helping these struggling pregnant women.

After hearing about the need for a shelter for homeless mothers on the radio, Dub said he “just happened to have a building,” according to the Edmonton Journal.

“We agreed this was just as good a cause as you could possibly get,” Dub continued.

The building, known as the old Grand Manor Hotel, has 18 studios and one-bedroom units. Dub purchased the historic building years ago and was renting it as low-income housing.

These units will soon shelter homeless, pregnant women within the city, and the mothers are expected to move in within the next month. They will be housed there through six to nine months postpartum.

Pregnancy Pathways is a collaborative organization which offers homeless mothers opportunities to change their lives through affordable housing and holistic support in a number of different sectors.

The program consists of 25 partner agencies which aim to help struggling mothers in any way possible. Whether they need counseling, employment, education, detox, or healthcare, the organization’s goal is to set up homeless women with a better future.

Each woman is paired with a wellness coordinator who accesses the needs of each mother. From there, they determine what her needs are and will help her make the connections necessary to ensure better opportunities in the future. Typically, women are in the program for around one year.

“The objective of Pregnancy Pathways is healthy women and healthy babies with a better chance for everyone to meet their potential,” said the program’s website.

“Through the program, mothers will also be better able to make a decision about raising their baby, finding other ways to become involved in their child’s life or choosing adoption or foster care for their newborn.”

Why the devil hates Mary – especially during exorcisms

Mexico City, Mexico, Mar 8, 2018 / 03:25 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Italian priest Sante Babolin said that Satan is behind attacks in various parts of the world against the Virgin Mary, noting that she is a powerful advocate for him during exorcisms.

“In my experience – so far I have performed 2,300 rites of exorcism – I can say that the invocation of the Most Holy Virgin Mary often provokes significant reactions in the person being exorcized,” he told Mexican weekly Desde la Fe.

Fr. Babolin, who also taught at the Gregorian University in Rome, said that “in face of the failure of the onslaught by non-believers, now, in order to offend and confound the Catholic people, the Virgin Mary, whom the devil hates, is being attacked.”

Desde la Fe noted the 2017 events of the Spanish drag queen Borja Casillas, who masqueraded as the Virgin Mary and mocked her in a performance, as well as a woman who dressed up as the Virgin Mary and simulated an abortion during a protest in Argentina.

The Italian exorcist said that “as proof of this hatred” of the devil toward the Mother of God, “while I was insistently invoking the Most Holy Virgin Mary, the devil answered me: 'I can't stand That One (Mary) any more and neither can I stand you any more.'”

Fr. Babolin also noted that “the Second Vatican Council declares that Mary, daughter of Adam, in accepting the divine message, became the Mother of Jesus, and embracing with her whole heart and without the hindrance of any sin the saving will of God, consecrated herself totally, as the servant of the Lord, to the person and work of her Son.”

The priest pointed out the passage in the book of Genesis – which is evoked in the Rite of Exorcism – where God says to the serpent that “she will crush your head.”  

In this ritual, he said, the exorcist says to the devil: “Most cunning serpent, you shall no more dare to deceive the human race, persecute the Church, torment God's elect and sift them as wheat (...) The sacred Sign of the Cross commands you, as does also the power of the mysteries of the Christian Faith (...) The glorious Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, commands you; she who by her humility and from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception crushed your proud head.”

Fr. Babolin also said that “the strongest reactions” of the devil during the exorcism occur “when references are made to her apparitions.”

Because of this, he frequently pronounces the name of Holy Mary with her titles of Lourdes, Fatima or Guadalupe. In the latter case, he said, “I use this formula: 'Holy Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen of Tepeyac.'”

The exorcist warned that “the instrument the (the devil) normally uses to trap us is money, since it offers the possibility of satisfying the impulses that converge in pleasure and power.”

Satan “subjugates us to himself manipulating the truth and offering us his dazzling light, showing us his version of 'freedom' and promising us the instant gratification of our whims.”

“As far as interpersonal communication, the sense of sight overtakes the sense of hearing; and consequently the image over the word; that is to say, desire precedes reflection,” he said.

Fr. Babolin encouraged Catholics to denounce attacks on the faith as well as to organize and participate in prayer events, pray the Rosary, and participate in Masses at places where offenses were committed.


This article was originally published on CNA April 28, 2017.

Insides that didn't decompose – and other stunning facts about Oscar Romero

San Salvador, El Salvador, Mar 8, 2018 / 02:49 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his role as Vicar General, Monsignor Ricardo Urioste was one of the closest collaborators of Oscar Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador who was martyred for the faith in 1980 and beatified in 2015.

And this monsignor has some stories to tell.

Among the most fascinating involve details surrounding the day Romero was killed, what the late archbishop really thought about the controversial and problematic Liberation Theology, and the fact that the martyr’s insides hadn’t decomposed when they were exhumed three years after his death.

Archbishop Romero was brutally killed while celebrating Mass on March 24, 1980 – a time when El Salvador was on the brink of civil war. In February 2015, Pope Francis officially recognized his death as having been for hatred of the faith. This week, the Pope recognized a second miracle attributed to Romero's intercession, paving the way for his canonization.

Msgr. Urioste, who currently heads up the Archbishop Romero Foundation, said that during the time the martyr lived, whenever “he preached, spoke, was a pastor, they accused him of being communist, Marxist, a politician, and a thousand things."

However, he noted how after 12 years of extensive study on the life and writings of the archbishop, the Vatican never found anything that supported these claims.

In an interview with CNA, Msgr. Urioste revealed some of the lesser known facts surrounding the martyred archbishop, as well as his continuing legacy on the Church and the world at large.

What happened on the day Archbishop Romero died

Msgr. Urioste can easily recall the day that Archbishop Romero was killed, saying that it was “an ordinary day of work” for him.

In the morning, the archbishop had a meeting with a group of priests, and then they ate lunch together. Afterward he went to confession with his usual confessor, which was a priest named Fr. Segundo Ascue.

Once he confessed, Archbishop Romero went to celebrate a 6 p.m. Mass in San Salvador’s hospital of Divine Providence, which was staffed by nuns. The Mass, Mons. Urioste recalled, had been widely publicized throughout the diocese.

While he was celebrating Mass in the hospital’s chapel, the archbishop was shot in the chest from outside.

Msgr. Urioste said that after getting a phone call informing him of what happened, “I immediately went to the hospital, and he was already taken to the polyclinic. A television set arrived, they interviewed me, and after I went to the hospital where he was."

He recalled how as the sisters were going to embalm Archbishop Romero’s body, he told them “please be careful not to drop his insides anywhere, but that they pick them up and bury them, and they did, burying them in front of the little apartment he had in the hospital where he lived."

Three years later, on the occasion St. John Paul II’s visit to the country, the nuns of the hospital “made a monument to the Virgin in the same place where we had buried (Romero’s) insides.”

“When they were digging they ran into the box and the plastic bag where they had placed the insides, and the blood was still liquid and the insides didn't have any bad smell,” he revealed.

“I don't want to say that it was a miracle, it's possible that it's a natural phenomenon, but the truth is that this happened, and we told the archbishop at the time (Arturo Rivera y Damas), 'Look monsignor, this has happened,' and he said 'Be quiet, don't tell anyone because they are going to say that they are our inventions,'” he said.

However, “Pope John Paul II was given a small canister with Archbishop Romero’s blood,” he noted.

Msgr. Urioste recalled that when John Paul II arrived to San Salvador, the first thing he did “was go to the cathedral without telling anyone. The cathedral was closed, they had to go and look for someone to open it so that the Pope could enter and kneel before the tomb of Archbishop Romero.”

John Paul II asked during his visit that no one manipulate the memory of Archbishop Romero, Msgr. Urioste recalled, and lamented how “they politicized him.”

“The left had politicized him, putting him as their banner. And the right politicized him, saying things that are untrue about the bishop, that are purely false, they denigrated him.”

One of the things that the Church in El Salvador wants, Msgr. Urioste said, is that “the figure of the archbishop, known now a little more than he was before, is a cause for reflection, a motive for peace, a motive for forgiveness, a motive for reconciliation with one another, and that we all have more patience to renew ourselves and follow the paths that Archbishop Romero proposed to us.”

“I think that (Romero’s) figure is going to contribute a lot to a better meeting and reconciliation in El Salvador,” he said.

What Archbishop Romero really thought about Liberation Theology

Despite the many accusations leveled against the archbishop of San Salvador, his Vicar General said that Romero “never had a Marxist thought or Marxist ideology in his mind.”

“If there had been, the Vatican, which has studied so much, would not have beatified him, if they had found that he had Marxist interests.”

The real backbone of his closeness to the poor, he said, was the Gospel and the teaching of the Church.

“He was a servant of the Gospel, he never read anything from Liberation Theology, but he read the Bible.”

Msgr. Urioste noted that the archbishop's library, “had all these books from the early Fathers of the Church, from the current Magisterium of the Church, but (he) never even opened any of the books from Liberation Theology, or Gustavo Gutiérrez, or of anyone else.”

“He read the Bible and there he encountered a Jesus in love with the poor and in this way started walking toward him,” he said.

What set Archbishop Romero apart

One of the most distinguishing characteristics of Archbishop Romero was “his great sense of work. He was an extremely hardworking man and devoted to his work day and night – until midnight and until dawn,” Msgr. Urioste said.

He recalled how the archbishop would begin to prepare his Sunday homilies the day before, and would always include three reflections on the Eucharist. When Romero preached, he made frequent reference to the Fathers of the Church, based his comments on Church teaching and related his thoughts to the country's current reality.

“A homily that doesn't have this relation with what is happening sounds the same here as in Ireland, in Paris, as anywhere,” the priest said.

He recalled how in Romero's time the government was “a ferocious military dictatorship, which had 'national security' as its theme.”

Everyone who either sided with the poor or expressed concern for them “was accused of being communist, they were sent to be killed without thinking more. There were 70,000 deaths like this in the country at that time,” Msgr. Urioste noted.

“The social economic reality was of a lot of poverty, of a great lack of unemployment, of low wages.”

Ultimately, Archbishop Romero’s beatification, the monsignor said, was “a triumph of the truth.”

It is a triumph, he said, of the truth of “who Archbishop Romero really was, what he did, how he did it, from the Word of God, from the Magisterium of the Church, in defense of the poor, who were the favored ones of Jesus Christ and who were were also the favored ones of Archbishop Romero.”

A verison of this article was originally published May 23, 2015.