Many thanks to Sarah Croft from the Campaigns team for leading the CAFOD retreat Journey to Justice on Saturday. It was great to have a day away from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives to reflect on the life of Blessed Oscar Romero and his own personal journey of transformation. The beautiful retreat house at St Cuthman’s was an ideal venue with it’s peaceful chapel which overlooked the gardens, and the lovely lake and grounds.
In the morning we focused on Blessed Oscar Romero’s life and how he changed from a studious quiet priest to an archbishop who spoke out for the poor and was subsequently martyred.
In the afternoon we looked at Human Rights Defenders who are working in many countries around the world speaking out for the poor and seeking justice and fairness for all people. For example Javier Jahncke is a CAFOD partner who has spoken out against mining developments in Peru. These developments risk affecting biodiversity and water quality, and can have a devastating impact on the lives and health of the poor.
We then looked at our own journeys and how we need to be be continually converted in response to new and evolving challenges . In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis says that we all need to be converted, to have a change of heart, in response to the damage being done to our world. Our world today faces the same issues of greed and violence that Romero faced so we have a choice to respond in fear or in hope, to turn away or towards. Let us ask for Romero’s courage, his fidelity and his humility so that we can stand alongside the powerless and be a voice for the voiceless.