A friend called him a quiet saint because — even though he was a giant of the church in El Salvador — he was always calling attention to A friend called him a quiet saint because — even though he was a giant of the church in El Salvador — he was always calling attention to the plight of others and never called attention to himself.
For decades, he patiently waited until the Catholic Church officially recognized the holiness he said he witnessed in the life and death of Archbishop Oscar Romero. Msgr. Ricardo Urioste Bustamante, president of El Salvador’s Romero Foundation, a much-loved figure of the Salvadoran church, died this morning at age 90.
Many of the country’s Catholics had kept him in prayer since he fell in late December and was hospitalized. Salvador Sanchez Ceren, president of El Salvador, said in a tweet that Msgr. Urioste was “a promoter of peace and reconciliation in El Salvador.”
From 1977 until 1980, Msgr. Urioste was vicar general, or the No. 2, for the Archdiocese of San Salvador, under Archbishop Oscar Romero, whose beatification he witnessed last May in San Salvador.
Days before the beatification of the man he so admired, he recalled in a Catholic News Service interview in San Salvador his early encounters with the now-Blessed Romero: “I said I have to follow this man because he is following God.”
Msgr. Urioste said he admired the archbishop’s life of prayer and his love of the poor, whom he considered the representation of Christ in the world.
“He was always looking for the presence of the Lord,” Msgr. Urioste said.
Msgr. Urioste, too, was often seen over the years in the poorest of the country’s parishes, always supporting the cause for Romero as martyr and saint, making sure the younger generations had an accurate memory of Blessed Romero.
Patricia Lazo, of El Salvador’s Catholic Agape TV, said she remembers Msgr. Urioste’s explanation of Romero, given “with great simplicity and clarity.”
“I was able to understand completely the figure of Msgr. Romero and why he wasn’t of the left, nor of the right,” Lazo said.
Msgr. Urioste also leaves the legacy of his love of the Gospel. He often took to the radio to explain it to others with great zeal, Lazo said.
“There’s a lot of sadness because he leaves behind a great legacy, but also a great void,” she said. “He could not conceive of a church that does not serve those who need help the most and one that didn’t bring Jesus to others with its testimony.”