Mass of Thanksgiving for St Oscar Romero 24th November

Poster for mass

Poster for mass

A Mass of Thanksgiving for the canonisation of St Oscar Romero will be held on 24th November at Portsmouth Cathedral at 2pm. After the mass Stephen Davies (vice-chair of the Romero Trust) will give a talk about the life of St Oscar Romero .  Please do join us to celebrate the life of this inspirational saint.

Clare Dixon, CAFOD’s Head of Region for Latin America, who  has been leading CAFOD’ s development work in Latin America for nearly forty years which supported Romero’s church in the 1970s, explains the significance of St Oscar Romero’s Canonisation.

“Oscar Romero is revered in his native El Salvador. He ranks alongside the likes of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi as one of the most remarkable figures of the twentieth century. His canonisation will give Romero the wider recognition he so richly deserves – he denounced the violence which was tearing his country apart, he spoke out against oppression, and stood against injustice alongside people living in poverty.

During his time as Archbishop, Romero became known as the “voice of the voiceless”, after his sermons – which were broadcast across the country via his radio station – he spoke out against the military regime. In his last sermon, Romero called on the National Guard and the police to end the violence, saying:“Brothers, you are killing your fellow countrymen. No soldier has to obey an order to kill. In the name of God and in the name of the suffering people I implore you, I beg, I order you, stop the repression!”

Archbishop Romero

Archbishop Romero

A day later, on 24 March 1980, Oscar Romero was assassinated while celebrating Mass. In May 2015, the church formally began the process of making Romero a saint through a beatification ceremony in El Salvador, which drew unprecedented crowds.

Romero didn’t simply talk about the need to love your neighbour, but courageously denounced the violence and named the injustices. He showed his solidarity with the poor and vulnerable, and called for justice and freedom. Today, El Salvador is still plagued by the legacy of the civil war. Society is deeply polarised, beset by organised crime – in 2016, there were over 5,200 murders – and endemic poverty.

Clare hopes that the celebration of Romero’s sainthood will be an inspiration to many in Latin America and worldwide who risk their lives championing the poor and marginalised in their communities. She said“I hope that Romero’s canonisation will be a source of unity and reconciliation not only within El Salvador but across our divided world.”

St Oscar Romero

St Oscar Romero

In the 1970s, CAFOD supported Romero’s famous radio broadcasts, which – at a time when the press was heavily censored – were often the only means by which people in El Salvador knew the truth about the atrocities occurring in their country. When Romero’s radio station was blown up, CAFOD provided funding to rebuild it. CAFOD also helped to fund the support given by the Church to thousands of people who had fled their homes because of the violence.

After Romero was martyred, CAFOD staff successfully petitioned Lambeth Council to rename the Brixton street where their office was located ‘Romero Close’. And when CAFOD moved to a new office in 2009, it was named ‘Romero House’.

CAFOD staff, partners and supporters have been at the forefront of the campaign to have Romero canonised, and continue to be inspired by his work. Around the world CAFOD works with Church leaders and other partners who speak out against the injustices in their countries.

Fantastic Evening at Portsmouth Cathedral

Members of the CAFOD group at Portsmouth Cathedral

Members of the CAFOD group at Portsmouth Cathedral

Wow what an amazing play Romero Heartbeat of El Salvador is! The 3 actors from RISE Theatre gave  superb performances retelling the life of Blessed Oscar Romero. The play was a great part of the Charities and Volunteering fair held at Portsmouth Cathedral to celebrate the World Day of the Poor last Saturday 18th November.

Many thanks to Maureen Thompson for organising the evening and to all those who helped with setting up and providing refreshments. It was lovely to meet members of the CAFOD group at the Cathedral  and thanks for all your help serving the drinks during the evening.

Jo & Chloe on the CAFOD stall

Jo & Chloe on the CAFOD stall

The charity stalls presented a wide range of opportunities for people to love in deeds and not just words. From overseas development charities – CAFOD  to those helping prisoners or local people in Portsmouth- something for everyone!

18th November RISE Theatre performance of Romero Heartbeat of El Salvador

Romero -Heartbeat of El Salvador

Romero -Heartbeat of El Salvador

Please come and support the Charities and Volunteering fair on Saturday 18th November at Portsmouth Cathedral from 6pm and see the thought provoking and moving play about the life of Blessed Oscar Romero performed by RISE Theatre. The play starts at 7:30pm and tickets are only £5 and can be purchased on the night.

Romero display Portsmouth Cathedral

Romero display Portsmouth Cathedral

In preparation for the World Day of the Poor on Sunday 19th November there are displays in the cathedral on Archbishop Oscar Romero and the El Salvador Cross. There will also displays from other charities including CAFOD on the many ways we can help and support those less fortunate than ourselves. We look forward to seeing you there.

Display in Portsmouth Cathedral

Display in Portsmouth Cathedral