Gregorio Rosa Chávez

Gregorio Rosa Chávez (Spanish pronunciation: [ɡɾeˈɣo.ɾjo ˈrosa ˈtʃaβes]; born 3 September 1942) is a Salvadoran Latin Catholic prelate who serves as the current Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador. He was a close collaborator of the slain Archbishop Saint Óscar Romero.[1][2]

Gregorio Rosa Chávez
Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador
Cardenal Gregorio Rosa Chávez.jpg
Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez in mid-2017.
ChurchCatholic Church
Appointed17 February 1982
PredecessorMarco René Revelo Contreras
Other post(s)Cardinal-Priest of Santissimo Sacramento a Tor de' Schiavi (2017-present)
Ordination24 January 1970
by José Eduardo Alvarez Ramírez
Consecration3 July 1982
by Lajos Kada
Created cardinal28 June 2017
by Pope Francis
Personal details
Gregorio Rosa Chávez

(1942-09-03) 3 September 1942 (age 79)
Previous post(s)
  • Secretary-General of the Episcopal Secretariat of Central America and Panama (1984-88; 2001-05)
  • Titular Bishop of Mulli (1982-2017)
Alma materUniversity of Louvain
MottoCaritas pax nostra ("Our love and peace")
Coat of armsGregorio Rosa Chávez's coat of arms
Styles of
Gregorio Rosa Chávez
Coat of arms of Gregorio Rosa Chávez.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
Ordination history of
Gregorio Rosa Chávez
Priestly ordination
Ordained byJosé Eduardo Alvarez Ramírez, C.M.
Date24 January 1970
PlaceSan Miguel Cathedral, San Miguel, El Salvador
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecratorLajos Kada
Co-consecratorsJosé Eduardo Alvarez Ramírez, C.M. & Arturo Rivera Damas, S.D.B.
Date3 July 1982
PlaceChurch of María Auxiliadora, San Salvador, El Salvador
Elevated byPope Francis
Date28 June 2017

Pope Francis made Rosa a cardinal on 28 June 2017 and he is the first cardinal hailing from El Salvador. It is rare for the pope to name an auxiliary bishop as a cardinal as the bishop or archbishop of a diocese typically is afforded that distinction.[3] In archdiocesan affairs the archbishop still has precedence; but Rosa ranks higher in the official structure.[4][5] Besides his native Spanish, he can speak French and has some knowledge of both English and Portuguese.[citation needed]


Rosa Chávez meets with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
The cardinal mingles with the faithful at a Mass at the metropolitan cathedral on 8 July 2017.

Gregorio Rosa Chávez was born on 3 September 1942 in Sociedad to farmers.

His initial education was spent in Sociedad and later at Jocoro. He underwent both his theological and philosophical studies in San Salvador at San José de la Montaña (1957–61) before he studied communications (obtaining a licentiate) in Louvain at the college from 1973 to 1976.[3] He continued his studies from 1966 to 1969 before serving as an episcopal aide for the diocese of San Miguel from 1970 to 1973. His education in communications began his lifelong interest in media communications as a tool of evangelization. He received his ordination to the priesthood at the San Miguel cathedral in 1970 and he served as the pastor of the El Rosario church in San Miguel from 1970 to 1973 while serving as the diocesan director of social communications from 1971 to 1973. Rosa served as the spiritual assessor for some religious movements from 1970 to 1973 and served as the rector at San José de la Montaña from 1977 to 1982. Under his close friend Saint Óscar Romero from 1977 he headed the archdiocesan communication's office until 1982.[3][5] From 1977 until 1982 he served as a theological professor and from 1979 to 1982 served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Organization of Latin American Seminaries.

In 1982 he was appointed as a bishop and received his episcopal consecration at the church of María Auxiliadora in San Salvador. He attended an "ad limina" visit of the Salvadoran episcopate to Pope Benedict XVI on 25 February 2008 and another one to Pope Francis on 20 March 2017.

On 21 May 2017, Pope Francis announced that he would name Rosa as a cardinal. He received the news at 5:00am in a telephone call and later told the press: "I thought it was a joke. I never thought that this could happen to me".[5] Shortly after he received the news, Chávez visited to the tomb of Romero. Rosa attributed his appointment as a cardinal as a recognition and an honor reserved for Romero. He said that he believed that Romero was a cardinal in his blood and he therefore would be named as one in Romero's name.[6] Rosa was elevated as the Cardinal-Priest of Santissimo Sacramento a Tor de' Schiavi on 28 June 2017. He took formal possession of his titular church on 2 July. At a Mass on 8 July 2017 the cardinal said that Pope Francis had asked him to go to Seoul in South Korea for a meeting on how to achieve peace with their neighbor North Korea.[2] Francis made him a member of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development on 23 December 2017.[7]

Rosa has been outspoken in the past about government abuses and once named alleged killers of six Jesuits as well as their housekeeper and her daughter slain in 1989; he received death threats following this and was accused of being a communist.[5] The death of Arturo Rivera prompted expectations that Rosa would succeed him as the metropolitan archbishop though he never ascended to the position. The conflict in El Salvador ended in 1992 but it was Rosa Chávez who participated in the negotiations from 1984 to 1989 between the Salvadoran Government and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front.[2]

The cardinal begins in the morning listening to Vatican Radio and does not go to sleep until he has read important national and international newspapers. He is the current President of Caritas El Salvador and Caritas Latin America.[3] He is the current pastor at the San Francisco parish church.

Óscar RomeroEdit

Rosa first met Óscar Romero circa 1956 while the latter was a priest and the former was a seminarian. He worked for Romero following the conclusion of his philosophical studies for around twelve months and the two became good friends.[6]

Cardinal Rosa has been a vocal advocate for the canonization of Óscar Romero and attended his beatification in mid-2015.

He confirmed on his Facebook page in a post that he had an evening discussion with Pope Francis who alluded to the fact that he might visit El Salvador in 2018 to canonize Romero.[8] But Rosa Chávez later confirmed in a recording the archdiocese released not long after that the post was false and that he did not have social media pages. He said that no papal visit nor canonization was scheduled.[9]

Coat of armsEdit

The new coat of arms for the cardinal was unveiled in the week leading up to his elevation as a cardinal. The shield is split into quarters with a golden star representing his devotion to the Mother of God in the upper-left. There is a palm frond in the upper-right meant to depict the Salvadoran martyrs since a palm represents martyrdom.

The bottom-left depicts rosemary which acknowledges Blessed Óscar Romero who used that image on his own coat of arms. The bottom-right has two hands shaking one another as a means of depicting an option for the poor which is a dimension of the social magisterium that appeals to Rosa Chávez.[10]


  1. ^ "Gregorio Rosa Chávez". Salvadoraran Bishops Conference. Archived from the original on 17 February 2009. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Junno Arocho Esteves (11 July 2017). "Salvadoran cardinal: Pope sending him to Korea to work for peace". CRUX. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d "Consistory of June 28, 2017 (IV)". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Pope names new cardinals from Laos, Mali, Sweden, Spain and El Salvador". CRUX. 21 May 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d Joe Slama (21 June 2017). "El Salvador's first cardinal a friend of Blessed Oscar Romero". Catholic News Agency/EWTN News. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Gregorio Rosa Chávez: I will be a cardinal on behalf of Romero". Rome Reports. 26 June 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Resignations and Appointments, 23.12.2017" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 23 December 2017. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Cardenal Rosa Chávez confirma posiblemente llegada del Papa Francisco a El Salvador". Solo Noticias. 14 August 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  9. ^ "El Salvador cardinal says Facebook account posting Romero rumors is not his". Catholic News Agency. 14 August 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Shield of Cardinal-elect Gregorio Rosa Chavez". The Archbishop Romero Trust. 27 June 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.

External linksEdit

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by — TITULAR —
Titular Bishop of Mulli
17 February 1982 – 28 June 2017
Succeeded by
Jayakody Aratchige Don Anton Jayakody
Preceded by
Marco René Revelo Contreras
Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador
17 February 1982 –
Titular church established Cardinal-Priest of Santissimo Sacramento a Tor de' Schiavi
28 June 2017 –