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Inside NCR

To cover Romero, you need a healthy reporter

Oscar Romero’s is one of the most uplifting, heroic stories of the 20th century, with ramifications beyond Catholicism and far beyond El Salvador. Twenty years have not dimmed his memory; rather, his stature grows with the passing of time. We mark another Romero anniversary this week.

One would travel far to find a journalist more suitable to cover the occasion than Gary MacEoin, himself by now a fabled figure, veteran of more big stories and champion of more worthy causes than your average dozen scribblers.

He wanted us to mention that Yvonne Dilling and Gene Palumbo contributed to his report. Palumbo is a freelance writer who has lived in El Salvador for many years. In 1992 Dilling spent an afternoon crossing the Rio Lempa under fire of Salvadoran army helicopters, ferrying on her back Salvadoran infants fleeing with their parents to Honduras. She then joined the refugees as a Caritas worker for 18 months at Mesa Grande, a U.N.-protected camp in Honduras. She is currently a member of the pastoral team in the Rivera y Damas vicariate in the diocese of Chalatenango, El Salvador.

MacEoin, who is 91, writes that his trip to El Salvador brought about another kind of miracle conversion: “Not to be outdone, I’ve had my own miracle. For almost a year I was the victim of dysphagia, an illness that causes the unfortunate victim to reject all solid food. Three eight-ounce cans of a liquid diet supplement have for months supplied more than half of the 1,500 calories a day I need to survive. Well, I made sure to have a supply for my trip. I need not have bothered. Day by day in San Salvador my intake of solid food grew. It is now back to normal.”

Many will tell you, though, that the word normal applied to MacEoin is usually an understatement.

Another visitor to the Romero celebrations was Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, N.M.,.

We the staff of NCR indulged in cake and ice cream March 28 in a modest but sweet gesture of recognition of former publisher William S. McSweeney. The occasion was the imminent departure, in June to be exact, of McSweeney and his wife Ann to a new life of sun and relaxation in Sarasota, Fla.

Following an earlier career with the Hallmark card company of Kansas City, Mo., Bill became publisher of the National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company in 1986, a position he held until 1997. During his frequent travels, the amiable publisher made many friends. Since his retirement he has been active in many capacities in the local Kansas City community.

We thought the McSweeneys’ friends everywhere would want to know this latest news, and would no doubt join us in wishing them, as we say, ad multos annos.

-- Michael Farrell

National Catholic Reporter, April 14, 2000