St Oscar Romero has been celebrated in annual Romero Week events in England, Scotland and Wales with inspirational speakers.
This article originally appeared on The Tablet online, written by Ellen Teague. In the image: Dr Maria Exall, who gave the address in St Martin-in-the-Fields for Romero Week, pictured with Julian Filochowski (Co-Chair of the Romero Trust) and his fellow Trustee and Associate Vicar for Mission of St Martin's, Rev Richard Carter. (Image: Ellen Teague)
Ten event locations included London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds and Liverpool, mainly organised by the Archbishop Romero Trust.
It was the forty-third anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, who was assassinated by a right-wing death squad on 24 March 1980 while saying Mass.
“Faced by great injustice and huge inequalities, Archbishop Romero klistened intently to the cries of the poor,” Julian Filochowski, co-chair of the trust told The Tablet, adding: “There could be no better model for the Church today.”
Peggy Healy, a close colleague and friend of Maryknoll Sisters who were martyred in El Salvador in 1980, spoke at six events. She had also met Archbishop Romero.
“He was not only somewhat small in physical stature but one of those people who would never ever stand out in a crowd,” she said.
“He was simple, humble, present, listening but he had the impact of a giant – the impact of a saint.” Romero felt “the world that the Church must serve is the world of the poor.”
Peggy called on listeners “to bring about a new pandemic of kindness and service and presence and mercy and justice.”
You can read the text of Peggy Healy's talk by clicking here, or watch the talk given in Liverpool below.
Ecumenical Service in St Martin-in-the-Fields
For the annual ecumenical service in St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, the guest speaker was Maria Exall, the Catholic president of the TUC.
The theme was, “Responding to the Cry of the Poor Today: The inspiration of St Oscar Romero and the Martyrs of El Salvador”. She highlighted injustices in the UK today such as in-work poverty, child poverty and the harsh treatment of immigrants, suggesting that Romero can guide us in how to respond.
“We are here to serve others, to defend workers’ rights, including the right to form unions,” which she pointed out is endorsed by Catholic Social Teaching.
She reported that “the TUC general council is full of Catholics”, and concluded: “St Oscar Romero pray for us.”
You can a transcript of Maria Exall's address by clicking here, or watch it below.
Revd Richard Carter of St Martin’s led the service and said Romero has an “incredible relevance today, especially for those of us who long for a world of greater justice, especially for victims of violence and poverty”.
He said Romero “was a voice for the voiceless” and that there is a need for such a voice today.
Bishop Nicholas Hudson spoke on Romero at Evensong in St Albans Cathedral on 19 March. You can read his text here.
Archbishop John Wilson spoke at St George’s Cathedral in Southwark on Tuesday where Oscar Romero awards were given out to schools in the archdiocese.