Thursday, 25 March 2010


Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the death of  Archbishop Oscar Romero. This great man of God was archbishop of San Salvador, the capital of the Central American republic of El Salvador. In his short time as bishop he moved very quickly from being a puppet in the hands of the establishment to being the great advocate and voice for his people. He was shot dead as he celebrated Mass 24th March 1980.
A Religious Sister who was present at the assassination recalls the horrible event: "When he finished his sermon, he walked to the middle of the altar; at that moment, the shot rang out," says Sister Luz Isabel, who was among the congregation at a private chapel in El Salvador's capital, San Salvador. "It sounded like a bomb explosion. Monsignor Romero held on to the cloth on the altar for a moment and pulled it off. Then he fell backwards and lay bleeding at the feet of Christ," she says, standing a few metres from the exact spot where the Archbishop lay fatally wounded.
We built our Penitential rite last night at C the K around his words, and this Sunday 7.15 at St Brigid's Hall we will show the excellent film of his life, simply entitled "Romero". At a time when some of the Church's bishops are giving us cause for shame, we need to hold up this great man of our time, Archbishop Oscar Romero.
The BBC have a good page on Romero at the moment here.
Here is the famous prayer associated with him. There seems to be some doubt whether it was actually spoken by him, or inspired by his life. In any case I always find it inspiring.

It helps now and then to step back and take a long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection,
no pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives include everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water the seeds already planted
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing this.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,
a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

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