Today brought wonderful news from the Vatican: Pope Francis has recognized a second miracle from Blessed Oscar Romero which puts him on the path to canonization.
He was beatified by Pope Francis in May 2015.
Romero was Archbishop of San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. He was assassinated on 24 March 1980 as he was celebrating Mass.
At the time, El Salvador was in the grip of a cruel civil war between guerrilla forces on the left and a dictatorial government on the right.
When he was appointed, Oscar Romero was seen as a “safe” pair of hands but during his three short years as Archbishop, and seeing the oppression and violence at first hand, he became an outspoken critic of the injustice he was witnessing all around him.
Under heavy press censorship, Romero scheduled weekly broadcasts which were often the only way people heard about the atrocities in their own country.
He raised his voice in defence of the human rights of the people of El Salvador.
He died a martyr, aged 62 and in the following decade, around 70,000 Salvadorans were killed in the civil war.
The Festival begins on Friday 9 March with a wonderful opportunity to see the very first screening in Wales of the recent and acclaimed Italian/Swiss film: “The Claim: Archbishop Romero, his people and Pope Francis” at the Jane Hodge Hall, The Cornerstone Centre, Charles Street, Cardiff CF10 2SF at 7.30 pm.
On Tuesday, 13 March the talented Rise Theatre company present “Romero, Heartbeat of El Salvador” at 7.30 at The Priory Centre, St Mary’s Church in Wales Church, Abergavenny NP7 5ND.
Tickets are available from 01873 858787 or the box office.
And finally on Thursday 15 March at The Cornerstone in Cardiff once more: “Romero and the Social Challenges of El Salvador today” a talk from Ruben Zamora (Romero Trust Speaker 2018 and at one time El Salvador’s ambassador to the US in April 2013).
Prayer of Archbishop Oscar Romero:
“It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.