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Sunday, December 4, 2016
Keeping alive the memory of Archbishop Oscar Romero
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¬†"It is good that so many people in the UK continue to draw attention to Archbishop Oscar Romero. In his life and in his death he was truly a witness for Justice and Peace in El Salvador." Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor was speaking last night at the London launch of the Archbishop Romero Trust, a newly-formed charity. He is one of the patrons, along with Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop John Sentamu and Archbishop Rowan Williams. The occasion also launched the book 'Through the Year with Oscar Romero: Daily Meditations', which is published by Darton, Longman and Todd, in a collaborative venture with CAFOD and Christian Aid. Since his assassination, while celebrating Mass on 24 March 1980, Archbishop Romero has become a "beacon for the Gaudium et Spes generation", according to Julian Filochowski, the former Director of CAFOD who chairs the Trust. Speaking at Vaughan House, Westminster, he said it was "the greatest grace and privilege of my life to have worked with Archbishop Romero and enjoyed his friendship". He felt that the archbishop's life and ministry were "the option for the poor made flesh". These sentiments were echoed by Bishop Michael Evans of East Anglia, a trustee of the new initiative, who visited El Salvador on the 25th anniversary of the killing in 2005. "The purpose of the Trust is to make sure that Romero's voice is still heard" he said. "If only we had more bishops like him" he added, drawing smiles from around the room. John Sentamu, the Anglican Archbishop of York, who has provided the Foreword to the book, urged those present to give generous support the Trust. He said his experience of visiting El Salvador within a few days of Romero's killing "has stayed with me ever since". He expressed delight that he and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, had been invited to be patrons. "Oscar Romero is a gift to the world," he said, "a gift to the cause of justice, peace and love". It was pointed out that Romero is one of the ten twentieth century martyrs commemorated in a niche immediately over the West front door of Westminster Abbey. Romero's denunciation of atrocities ≠ killings, torture and disappearances ≠ from the pulpit between 1977 and 1980, made him a hero of El Salvadorean poor, and cherished by Christians around the world. The new book is made up of a selection from his broadcast talks. However, his unswerving commitment to the poor and to non-violence made him enemies among the wealthy and powerful sectors of society and eventually led to his death at the hands of a death squad gunman. He was one of the 60,000 civilian victims of El Salvador's Civil War. The Trust intends to promote knowledge and awareness of the life and work of Archbishop Romero, to commemorate the anniversary of his death annually, and to provide support to human rights and justice initiatives in Latin America. People can support the work of the Archbishop Romero Trust by making a donation or by becoming a 'Friend of Romero' for an annual subscription of £10. Make cheques payable to: 'Archbishop Romero Trust' and send to: 8 Dean's Mews, Cavendish Square, London W1G 9EE. 'Through the Year with Oscar Romero: Daily Meditations' is available from CAFOD for £9.95 plus 20% p&p.
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