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

Leeds Cathedral celebrates Catholicism’s newest saint

This Sunday, 14th October, at 8.10am, BBC Radio 4’s flagship religious worship programme Sunday Worship will be broadcast live from Leeds Cathedral.

The Bishop of Leeds, Marcus Stock, will celebrate Mass on the day Blessed Oscar Romero, the late Archbishop of San Salvador will be canonised in Rome, making him the Catholic Church’s newest saint. Romero is respected by many Christian denominations and a statue of this modern martyr has stood on the West Front of Westminster Abbey since 1998.

In March 1980 Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated whilst saying Mass at a small hospital chapel during a time of political and social upheaval in El Salvador. He had denounced violence and the killings of community leaders, spoken out against poverty and given a voice to the voiceless. He was an advocate for social justice and worked towards finding a peaceful solution to the country’s crisis.

Pope Francis has said of him: “His ministry was distinguished by his particular attention to the most poor and marginalised.”

It seems fitting that among the choirs and congregation attending this broadcast will be people from a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds. Some live in the most deprived areas of West Yorkshire; some have themselves escaped poverty and persecution and have now made a new life for themselves the Diocese of Leeds.

The Choirs of Leeds Cathedral conducted by Benjamin Saunders and accompanied by organist David Pipe will sing works by Andriessen and Bermudez. The Homily will be preached by the Rev Dr Patrick Smythe, parish priest at the Leeds parish of Our Lady of Kirkstall. Fr Smythe was himself inspired by Oscar Romero to promote justice in the world, and will explore why Romero is being made a saint and how he can still inspire us today.

Tune in to BBC Radio 4 for live coverage on Sunday 14th October at 8.10am or catch up for the following 30 days via BBC iPlayer.

Picture: Then-Archbishop Oscar Romero is pictured in an undated photo greeting worshippers in San Salvador, El Salvador. (CNS photo/Octavio Duran).