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Paul VI and Romero to be proclaimed saints

Blessed Paul VI and Blessed Oscar Romero. The two men have been described as ‘great friends’ (CNS)

Pope Francis has cleared the way for the canonisations of Blessed Paul VI and Blessed Oscar Romero.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, said Paul VI would be declared a saint in late October at the end of the synod on youth. Blessed Paul, who was born Giovanni Battista Montini, was pope from 1963 to 1978.

Blessed Oscar’s canonisation date has not been announced. The archbishop was shot dead in 1980 while celebrating Mass in a hospital chapel.

Manuel Roberto Lopez, El Salvador’s ambassador to the Holy See, welcomed the announcement. “To see that he will be canonised along with Paul VI, who was a great friend of Archbishop Romero and supported his work, is a great blessing,” he said.

Vatican correspondent Andrea Tornielli, meanwhile, told the New York Times: “It’s not a coincidence that the Vatican announced them together. They both cared for the poor and social justice, and Pope Paul VI encouraged Romero all his life long.”

A Salvadoran newspaper published an account of the miracle that cleared the way for Romero’s canonisation.

The newspaper, El Diario de Hoy, said a woman named Cecilia had been having problems with her pregnancy. After she gave birth, she was diagnosed with Hellp syndrome, a life-threatening condition.

The newspaper said a doctor told Cecilia’s husband that her liver and a kidney were damaged and, “if you believe in something, in a god, [pray] for her because the way she is, it’s likely that she’ll die”.

The husband went home to pray, opened a Bible his grandmother had given him, saw a card with Blessed Romero’s image in it. Even though he’d had an “aversion” to his grandmother’s prayers to the archbishop, he prayed for his intercession.

Though Cecilia had slipped into a coma, she awoke on September 10, 2015, and made a full recovery, the newspaper said. The couple told the newspaper they knew it was a miracle, but did not tell their story for a while.