Southwark: Celebration for Bl Oscar Romero centenary

l-r: Archbishop Peter Smith, Julian Filochowski, Archbishop Paglia and  Ambassador Weinmann

l-r: Archbishop Peter Smith, Julian Filochowski, Archbishop Paglia and Ambassador Weinmann

More than 500 people attended a special Mass St George's Cathedral, Southwark, yesterday, 12 August, to commemorate the 100th birthday of Blessed Oscar Romero Archbishop Peter Smith, wearing the vestments made for the Beatification Mass, was the main celebrant. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who wore the pectoral cross of Blessed Oscar Romero, travelled from Italy to deliver the homily.

Archbishop Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life and Grand Chancellor of the St John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, is also the postular of the cause for the canonisation of Archbishop Romero.

In his homily, Archbishop Paglia spoke about Romero's life and enduring legacy. Reflecting on martyrdom, he said: "This is the meaning of martyrdom. Love for Jesus and for the poor is greater than love for oneself", and as such it is something we are all called to live out.

Music at Mass was provided by CJ Olding of Wheatsheaf Music and included the Romero Hymn which he wrote especially for this centenary year. Canon Alan McLean animated the liturgy, with many members of the Most Holy Trinity Church, Dockhead, where he is parish priest, helping form the choir.

After the Mass, a reception was held in Amigo Hall. Archbishops Smith and Paglia were joined by HE Elizabeth Hayek Weinmann, Ambassador of El Salvador to the UK to cut the birthday cake. Speaking at the birthday toast, Archbishop Paglia said he hoped that next year everyone would gather in Rome for the canonisation of Archbishop Oscar Romero!

There was also a screening of the new documentary film The Claim - Archbishop Romero his people and Pope Francis.

Read Archbishop Paglia’s homily here:

On Saturday 23 September at 3pm there will be a a special Evensong at Westminster Abbey for the National Ecumenical Celebration of the Romero Centenary. Lord Rowan Williams will give the Address and Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Peter Smith will be taking part. James MacMillan has composed a Special Romero Anthem which will be premiered at the Service.

Tickets can be booked through Eventbrite on the Archbishop Romero Trust website:

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