Rev. Chava’s Reflections on Oscar Romero-Birthday 8/15
I thank God for the ministry of Rev. Chava Redonnet whose patron saint is St. Oscar Romero. We might ask how can we too give our lives to serve with the poor and disenfranchised of this earth?
Bendiciones to all who serve God with the poor,
Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church
Bulletin for Sunday, August 17, 2014
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Each week in the nursing home where I work as a chaplain, we have a bi-lingual service in our day program. It delights me so much, because originally I was doing a separate Spanish service, and the elders decided they’d rather worship together bi-lingually, even though it meant there would always be some parts they wouldn’t understand. I think that’s a beautiful thing! Jennifer Hall who staffs that program is also an artist. Many times in my homilies I have told them about things going on in our migrant community, and they often ask how it’s going. This Wednesday when I came in to do the service, I was chatting with folks about the weather and things when I noticed one of the elders was trying to get my attention. “Look!” she said – and there on an easel at the front of the room was a beautiful sign Jennifer made for our little casita, saying in Spanish, “All are welcome at St Romero’s.”
I hung that sign up before Mass last night. It looks great on the wall. The casita is feeling like a happy, welcoming place and I am so glad! After Mass we sat drinking coffee and tea and eating cookies, and someone, looking at the sign, asked who St. Romero is.
Well! There was a lot to tell. I explained how this quiet, studious man, who had been chosen as an archbishop believing that he would not make any problems for the powers that be, was moved by the assassination of his friend, Fr Rutilio Grande, to walk with the poor of El Salvador as his friend had. How he became a courageous voice, and pretty soon his sermons were the only place you could hear the truth about what was going on during that terrible time of repression, because it wasn’t in the newspapers. How you could walk down the street anywhere in El Salvador on Sunday morning and listen to his sermon coming from the open windows of the houses you passed, as everyone listened to it on the radio. And how at last on Sunday, March 23, 1980, he challenged the soldiers directly not to participate in the repression, knowing full well that was his death sentence. Finally, how he stood alone at the altar at Mass the next day, wanting no one else hurt, and gave no sign as the gunman pulled up to the church and took aim through the open front door. How he died there at the altar, shot through the heart.
I told them how in El Salvador, when I tell people the name of our little church, they know right away what that means, that we are a church on the side of those who struggle for justice. And how I went to El Salvador a month before I was ordained, to visit his tomb, where I prayed and wrote in a little book they had there, asking him to pray for me, and telling him I wanted to be the kind of priest he was, who walked with the people.
Today is his birthday, August 15. If he had lived he would have been 97 today. St. Romero, pray for us!