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The Archbishop Romero Trust

Archbishop RomeroThe Archbishop Romero Trust was founded in 2005 on the 25th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero to keep alive the courageous example of Romero in his vision for the poor.

 

Background

In 1977, as El Salvador was plunged into civil conflict and intensified military repression, Oscar Romero was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador.  For three years he was a tireless advocate of human rights and social justice for the poor. He became the voice of the voiceless in a society where basic rights were abused and denied.  On almost every Sunday, from the pulpit of his Cathedral he denounced the week’s atrocities – killings, torture and disappearances.  He continually pressed for peaceful social and economic reform.  His words broadcast throughout the nation became a beacon of hope for the poor.  He preached the gospel of justice and solidarity for the poor and hungry, sharply challenging the wealthy and powerful sectors of Salvadoran society.  As the country teetered on the brink of civil war he pleaded incessantly for non-violent political change, calling on all sides to abandon violence and repression.  On 24 March 1980 a death squad marksman assassinated him as he said Mass in the chapel of the cancer hospital where he lived.  His unswerving commitment to the poor brought about his martyrdom.  His radical compassion has been an inspiration to millions across the globe who strive for justice, reconciliation and peace.  He was beatified as Blessed Oscar Romero on 23 May 2015 at a ceremony in San Salvador with an estimated half million people in attendance.

 

The Trust was set up to:

  • Promote knowledge and awareness of the life and work of Archbishop Romero.
  • Encourage and organise prayer services and memorial liturgies annually on the anniversary of his death.
  • Provide support to human rights and social justice initiatives in Latin America in the tradition of his work.

 

2017 – Events to mark The Centenary Year of Archbishop Romero’s birth

2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Blessed Oscar Romero, born 15th August 1917.  In El Salvador 2017 has been declared the Year of Romero. Throughout the world people are celebrating the life, witness and enduring legacy of the Archbishop of San Salvador.  A series of events, including services and lectures, are taking place across England, Wales and Scotland.  24 March 2017, the 37th anniversary of his assassination at the altar, was Blessed Oscar Romero’s Feast Day.  Romero’s life and martyrdom were celebrated across Britain during Romero Week in March with special Masses, ecumenical services, talks and lectures.

The 100th anniversary of the birth of Blessed Oscar Romero will be marked on Saturday 12 August 2017, at 12.30pm, with a Mass at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark with Archbishop Peter Smith.  The preacher will be Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia.

On Saturday 23 September 2017, Romero day and the Romero century will be marked in London with activities and events culminating in Evensong at Westminster Abbey at 3.00pm.  The preacher will be The Rt Rev. and the Rt Hon. the Lord Williams of Oystermouth.  This service will include the debut of a new piece by James MacMillan, specially commissioned for the occasion.

On 13 – 25 November 2017, a pilgrimage to El Salvador will take place.  This is an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Romero, visit his birth place and where he was martyred.  More information is available on the charity’s website.

The Romero Lecture will be given on Thursday 30 November 2017, 5pm at Las Casas Institute, Blackfriars, Oxford.  The lecture will be given by Gustavo Guttiérez OP, a Peruvian theologian and Dominican priest.  Gustavo Guttiérez OP is regarded as one of the principal founders of liberation theology in Latin America.  

There are also events being planned in Birmingham and Plymouth during the year – check http://www.romerotrust.org.uk/ for the latest information.

 

 

The Work of the Trust

Currently the Trust supports the hospice for poor cancer patients (where Romero lived) with an annual grant.  There is ongoing support for the refurbishment of Romero’s little house as a place of pilgrimage, and for the Fe y Alegría School in La Chacra, one of the poorest sectors of San Salvador where gang activity is rife.  Every year the Archbishop Romero Lecture takes place at different locations in England and Scotland and liturgies are organised to commemorate the life and death of Romero and the martyrs of El Salvador.

 

The Trust’s website (http://www.romerotrust.org.uk/) is a valuable English-language resource on Archbishop Romero with all his homilies and his diary (including audio), and many writings and commentaries on his life and martyrdom.  Twice a year a newsletter, ‘Romero News’ is produced for members of our network of solidarity, ‘Friends of Romero’.  For more information please contact The Archbishop Romero Trust, PO Box 70227. London E9 9BR or romerotrust@gmail.com.

 

Julian Filochowski, Chair, Archbishop Romero Trust

The Archbishop of York has been Patron of the Archbishop Romero Trust since 2006.