This March sees the forty first anniversary of the martyrdom of St Oscar Romero.
Despite the limitations still in place throughout the world, the feastday of St Oscar Romero was marked in many ways.
Three highlights in the UK were the annual Ecumenical Service from St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, the annual Mass in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, and the Mass at St George's Cathedral, Southwark which houses the diocesan shrine to St Oscar Romero.
Mass of St Oscar Romero and installation of Guardians of the Diocesan Shrine of St Oscar Romero
Saturday, 27 March at 12.30pm, St George's Cathedral, Southwark
Archbishop John Wilson celebrated Mass in his cathedral, which houses the diocesan shrine to St Oscar Romero, on the Saturday after Romero's feast day. He preached on 'Unchanging Truth in Changing Times'.
A limited congregation was able to gather in the cathedral, and it was also streamed live HERE.
The Metropolitan Cathedral is home to the Diocesan Shrine of the saint, situated in the Romero Chapel, between the older chapels of St Joseph and St Patrick – it is thus a place of special pilgrimage and devotion for the entire Metropolitan Province, and beyond. The centrepiece of the Shrine is the three-dimensional Romero Cross, whose faces were designed and painted by the Salvadoran artist, Fernando Llort.
The Cross contains a reliquary holding a precious fragment of the blood-stained alb that had formed part of Archbishop Romero’s martyrdom clothing as he celebrated Mass on 24 March in 1980 (now his feast day). This is the heart of the Shrine. Displayed alongside is a zucchetto - one of St Oscar Romero’s episcopal skullcaps. The Cross is overlooked by a bust of Archbishop Romero by the artist, Lado Goudjabidze.
The Shrine was inaugurated at an ecumenical service in 2013 and was formally designated a Diocesan Shrine with a decree issued by Archbishop Peter Smith on 14 October 2018, the day of Oscar Romero’s canonisation in Rome. In December 2019 Archbishop John Wilson issued statutes for the Shrine and appointed Canon Richard Hearne as Shrine Rector, together with four Guardians of the Shrine – Mgr Canon John O’Toole, Canon Alan McLean, Ms Kathleen O’Brien and Mr Julian Filochowski. The four Guardians were formally installed at the Mass, the process having been delayed due to COVID-19.
Let us Dream: Unmasking a Post-Covid future with St Oscar Romero
This year's ecumenical service at St Martin-in-the-Fields took place on Saturday, 13 March. Hundreds of people joined live, and over a thousand have watched the service since.
You can watch the service, led by Revd Richard Carter, one of the trustees of the Romero Trust, and with address given by Dr Gemma Simmonds CJ, below. Gemma is a sister of the Congregation of Jesus. She is a Senior Research Fellow of the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, Cambridge, where she is director of the Religious Life Institute. You can read the text of Gemma's address HERE.
Click HERE to download the liturgy booklet for the celebration.
Annual Romero Anniversary Mass, Liverpool
Outside of El Salvador, the Archdiocese of Liverpool is the only place to hold a Mass to mark the martyrdom of Arhcbishop Romero every year since his assasination. This year's Mass took place at the newly named parish of St Oscar Romero, which serves the communities of Seaforth and Liverpool. Mass was celebrated by the parish priest, Fr Dominic Curran on Tuesday, 23 March - the eve of the feast of St Oscar Romero. Click HERE to download the liturgy booklet for the Mass
You can watch the celebration again here: