The Archbishop Romero Trust
The 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.
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.
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.
The Work of the Trust
Currently the Trust supports the hospice for poor cancer patients (where Romero lived) with an annual grant. This year finance has been provided for the ‘Aid for Children of El Salvador (ACES)’ street children project. There is ongoing support for the refurbishment of Romero’s little house as a place of pilgrimage, and for the ‘Tutela Legal’ human rights office in San Salvador. Every year the Archbishop Romero Lecture takes place at different locations in England and Scotland as well as liturgies to commemorate the life and death of Romero and the martyrs of El Salvador.
For 2012 the Trust is planning services and study days for Romero Week (March 17–24). There are tentative plans for an ecumenical pilgrimage to El Salvador in late 2012. The Trust hopes to bring to fruition a project to create a ‘Romero space’ in St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, as a focus for prayer for justice and reconciliation.
The Trust’s website (www.romerotrust.org.uk) is a valuable English-language resource on Archbishop Romero with all his homilies (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, 8 Dean’s Mews, London W1G 9EE.
Julian Filochowski, Chair, Archbishop Romero Trust
The Archbishop of York has been Patron of the Archbishop Romero Trust since 2006.