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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Blessed Romero’s ‘heroic life, sanctity’ holds many lessons, bishop says

Blessed Oscar Romero’s martyrdom, “the holy sacrifice of his life,” during his celebration of the “holy sacrifice” of the Mass holds a powerful lesson for Catholics, a US bishop has said.

“He teaches us so powerfully that our embrace of the cross of Christ in our lives connects with the rhythm of the pascal mystery sacrifice of the Mass streaming through every dimension of our lives and missionary spirit on Long Island and beyond,” the Bishop of Rockville Centre, New York, John O. Barres, said in a new pastoral on the life and ministry of the soon-to-be saint.

It was released on 23rd September in advance of the 14th October canonisation of Blessed Romero. In it, Bishop Barres outlines ways the Church can prepare for “this historic moment.”

A native of El Salvador, then-Bishop Romero became archbishop of San Salvador in 1977. He emerged as a champion for the poor and an uncompromising critic of a government he said legitimised terror and assassinations. His radio show and homilies drew thousands of listeners and earned him the title “Voice of the Voiceless.”

On 23rd March 1980, in response to increasing violence, Archbishop Romero gave a homily in which he told soldiers to follow the law of God and disobey orders to fire on unarmed civilians. The next day, he was fatally shot by an assassin while saying Mass in the chapel of a hospital.

Picture: Archbishop Oscar Romero receives a sack of beans from parishioners following Mass outside of the church in San Antonio Los Ranchos in Chalatenango, El Salvador, in 1979. The Mass was held outdoors for fear of possible violence by the Salvadoran military. Before arriving at the church, the archbishop’s delegation was detained by armed military for about 20 minutes. (CNS photo/Octavio Duran).