Mgr Ricardo Urioste, vicar general of San Salvador when Blessed Oscar Romero was Archbishop, and founder of the Romero Foundation, sadly passed away on 15 January.
Mgr Urioste was a great friend of the Romero Trust, and we will miss him. So recently he was in London, in 2013, for the installation of the Southwark Romero Cross. You can read the homily he gave at that time here.
Mgr Ricardo Urioste with Bishop Michael Evans, founding member of the Archbishop Romero Trust and former bishop of East Anglia, who is commemorated in the Romero Cross in St George's Cathedral, Southwark
Mgr Urioste also gave the inaugural Romero Lecture, when he recalled that despite become an incredibly close friend of Archbishop Romero, he hadn't attended Romero's episcopal ordination as Archbishop of San Salvador because he was so disappointed by the choice of Romero to lead the diocese. Thankfully, having worked closely with Blessed Romero, Urioste saw the true Romero. You can read Mgr Urioste's 2007 lecture here.
Mgr Ricardo Urioste delivering the homily at the installation of the Romero Cross in St George's Cathedral, Southwark
Clare Dixon, Secretary of the Romero Trust, recalls:
'I had the privilege of accompanying Monseñor Urioste on a visit he made around England in 1987, in the midst of the civil war in El Salvador. One of the events we attended was a meeting with the priests of the Liverpool Archdiocese. There were several dozen clergy present as Monseñor Urioste spoke of his experience as a priest, ministering to a wounded, crucified people.
'As he spoke of how helpless and inadequate he often felt in the face of such suffering I struggled to hold back tears. His audience, themselves working in a city where there was much poverty and hardship, listened to him with rapt attention as he confessed how he had been ministered to by the poor, that far from evangelising them, he had been evangelised by them. He spoke of how he often felt overwhelmed when, every day at the Archdiocesan offices, he was unable to attend to his planned duties because of the constant stream of emergencies and interruptions: a massacre in one of the outlying parishes, the mother of a young student whose tortured body had been dumped in a shallow grave, the arrival of villagers seeking refuge and protection from the Church.
'“But then I thought”, he said “in the Gospels we read about how, when Jesus was travelling from place to place, on his way to somewhere, he was often stopped on the road, by someone seeking his help, asking for a miracle, needing support. Often we never found out what happened when Jesus arrived at his planned destination because these interruptions were the most important thing for him. And I said to
myself,if this is how Jesus lived his life, why should I ask for anything different? How could I wish for anything more than this?”
'As the meeting ended, I looked up and saw the audience, dabbing the tears away from their eyes at his testimony.'
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.
Blessed Oscar Romero, pray for us.