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Saturday, December 10, 2016
Birmingham celebrates Oscar Romero
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Archbishop Bernard Longley pictured with (left) Abigail McMillan, and Helen Moseley, CAFOD Diocesan Managers, based in Walsall.
Bishop William Kenney CP, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham presided and preached at a  special Mass  at St Chad's Cathedral, in honour of Archbishop Oscar Romero on Wednesday,  the 30th anniversary of his martyrdom.

Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated on Sunday 24 March 1980 while celebrating Mass in the chapel of a hospice for cancer patients, where he lived in San Salvador City.

Archbishop Bernard Longley, who returned that morning from a six-day visit to El Salvador spoke briefly at the end of Mass about his visit on behalf of CAFOD. The Archbishop of Birmingham emphasised that Archbishop Oscar Romero had courageously spoken about the injustice and the oppression of the poor in El Salvador, a country about to be torn apart by civil war.

More than 200 people from parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Birmingham attended the  special Mass of Justice & Peace concelebrated by seven priests.

During his thought-provoking homily, Bishop Kenney said: "Peace belongs to forgiveness. Without forgiveness there is no real peace. Peace is much more than the absences of war and violence. Peace and forgiveness means acceptance of my sisters and brothers.

"Archbishop Oscar Romero relived this when he said: 'I am bound, as a pastor, by divine command to give my life for those whom love, and that is all Salvadoreans, even those who are going to kill me'."

After Mass Archbishop Bernard Longley, Bishop William Kenney and many of the congregation attended a short film and presentation about Archbishop Oscar Romero and the work of CAFOD in El Salvador.

The event was introduced by Abigail McMillan, CAFOD Diocesan Manager, based in Walsall, and Roisin O'Hara, CAFOD Regional Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean spoke passionately about Archbishop Romero.

Ms O'Hara explained that CAFOD had begun working in El Salvador in the early 1970's, a few years before Mgr Romero was appointed Archbishop in February 1977. CAFOD supported the diocesan legal aid office that he established and when the Cathedral radio station on which Romero's homilies were broadcast was bombed in 1979 CAFOD provide funding for new equipment to get it up and running again. She added: "It is no coincidence that CAFOD is based at Romero Close, in London."
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