President Obama to visit tomb of Archbishop Romero

President Obama

President Obama

History will be made this week when President Barack Obama visits the tomb of Archbishop Oscar Romero during his visit to El Salvador on 22 and 23 March.

Romero spoke out against repression by the US-backed regime during El Savador's 12-year civil war in which at least 75,000 people died. He was shot dead on 24  March 1980, as he celebrated Mass in a hospital chapel. A peace treaty was not signed until 1992.

Congresswoman Lorena Pena, a former member of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front said:  “It’s a recognition of our pastor who was killed for fighting for justice, for democracy and human rights.”

Robert White, who was US ambassador to El Salvador in the early 1980s, said the visit by Obama to Romero’s tomb “is like a US stamp of approval on the positive influence Romero’s life and death have had on Latin America and the world.” He said the visit was “a declaration that the United States is no longer identified with oligarchic governments,” added White, who is now director of the Washington-based Center for International Policy, a foreign policy think tank.

Many event will be taking place in England this week to mark the anniversary of the death of Archbishop Romero. See ICN Listings and further news for more details.

Today, Sunday, 20 March at 6.15pm, there will be a Romero-focused Mass at Farm Street Church in London,  celebrated by Fr Michael Campbell Johnston who spent many years in Central America. At 7.30pm  there will be a showing of the new film ‘Monseñor – the last journey of Oscar Romero’

Archbishop Romero Lecture 2011

The lecture to be given by Fr Juan Hernández Pico Central American Jesuit theologian and Social Scientist, entitled: 'Romero and the Social Gospel the challenge for us today' - takes place on:

Tuesday 22 March at 7pm - St Peter & Paul Church, Pendleton, Salford

Wednesday 23 March at 7.30pm - Lauriston Centre, Sacred Heart Church, Edinburgh

Thursday 24 March  at 7pm St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle  

Saturday 25 March 26 at 11am - as part of an ecumenical service to mark the 31st anniversary of Archbishop Romero’s martyrdom  St Martin-in-the- Fields, Trafalgar Square, London

The lectures are organised by the Archbishop Romero Trust in association with CAFOD, Pax Christi, Progressio, Lauriston Jesuit Centre, J & P Westminster and Hexham & Newcastle.

Many people who are attending the big ‘March for the Alternative’ on Saturday plan to come first to the Romero Service and then join the march as it passes through Trafalgar Square.

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