– Tens of thousands of people filled the streets of El Salvador's capital on Saturday to celebrate the beatification of Óscar Romero, a Roman Catholic archbishop who walked with his people in their poverty.

People joined in the songs and prayers of the ritual that blessed Romero, who was assassinated here as he celebrated mass on March 24, 1980.

As symbols were carried to the stage to commemorate his final step toward sainthood, one stood out: the Eucharist that Romero was unable to complete. "Romero was a good priest, a wise bishop, but above all he was a virtuous man," said Cardinal Angelo Amato, an emissary from Pope Francis.

"He saw his tormented homeland with hope in his heart," Amato continued. "His words were not a provocation to hatred and revenge but the brave exhortation of a father to his divided children."

Romero's paternal face was everywhere, on the solemn altar and on T-shirts. He belonged to everyone. "In his embrace, you could feel his great love for us, the poor, because we are poor," said Victoria Ramírez, 51.

New York Times