The CAFOD afternoon of input, reflection and prayer focusing on Blessed Oscar Romero was so wonderful. Over 35 CAFOD supporters from various parishes in the Northampton Diocese attended the session held at Sacred Heart Hall, Leighton Buzzard on 7 May.
“We were privileged to have Julian Filochowski (Chair of the Romero Trust) who knew Oscar Romero personally and the recently ordained Deacon David Curtis (Great Missenden) who led us in reflection and prayer” said Deborah Purfield (CAFOD Coordinator – Northampton diocese).
Julian’s presentation was truly inspirational in sharing his first hand experience of the Martyred Archbishop of San Salvador, with extracts from Romero’s sermons, pastoral letters and writings. His fearless sermons at Mass (over an hour long sometimes!) were particularly powerful in denouncing injustices being carried out by both the right wing military regime and the left wing guerillas.
Julian included this thought provoking example of a Romero response when asked to explain the phrase, ‘option for the poor’. The Archbishop replied: “I offer you this by way of example. A building is on fire and you’re watching it burn, standing and wondering if everyone is safe. Then someone tells you that your mother and your sister are inside that building. Your attitude changes completely. You’re frantic; your mother and sister are burning and you’d do anything to rescue them even at the cost of getting charred. That’s what it means to be truly committed. If we look at poverty from the outside, as if we’re looking at a fire, that’s not to opt for the poor, no matter how concerned we may be. We should get inside as if our own mother and sister were burning. Indeed it’s Christ who is there, hungry and suffering.”
With Deacon David Curtis leading discussions, the afternoon ended in a wonderful opportunity for volunteers to share ideas about putting the remainder of Year of Mercy, and beyond, into practice.
It was felt that whilst a great deal is being done, there is a great need to do more. The various discussion groups sought to identify ways to galvanize parishes, the wider Christian community and the Government, to take more effective action.
Some examples were:
- By showing solidarity with refugees by completing the action cards of hope. CAFOD will dedicate these messages at a special event at the end of the Year of Mercy and make sure they are shared with refugees throughout the world.
- By writing to your MP about issues of concern. Signing up to be an MP correspondent with CAFOD, full support will be given.
- Exploring the theology which underpins Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ and inspiring others to undertake some action/reflection. CAFOD is offering such a training session on 2 July in London. Please get in touch if you are
“I have never been to a CAFOD day before and was very inspired. It was so wonderful to meet other supporters and to get to know people from other parishes especially in my pastoral area” said Monica who has just become the parish contact at Our Lady’s Chesham Bois.
If you would like to discuss this article or are interested in becoming a volunteer/parish contact please get in touch with Deborah Purfield CAFOD coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org or 01844 274 723.
Written by Ged Nolan