Along with many people globally, we were thrilled to hear that Pope Francis was going to make Oscar Romero a saint. On 14 October, thousands of pilgrims gathered in the Vatican to pay tribute to the Salvadoran Archbishop, who was murdered in 1980 whilst celebrating Mass. Six others were also canonised that day, including Pope Paul VI.
To celebrate this wonderful occasion our diocese held a special mass at Sacred Heart, Leighton Buzzard on Tuesday 20 November. It was led by Bishop Peter, and concelebrated by several priests and deacons.
In his homily, Bishop Peter spoke of the courageous witness of St. Oscar Romero, and how that courageous witness to Christ continues in the Church today. He mentioned a couple in Baghdad who, in spite of the dangers, were determined to continue living there as part of a small Catholic community, and also, Archbishop Odama of Gulu in Northern Uganda who took his life in his hands and went alone to speak with the rebels who were killing his people, looking for some steps towards reconciliation and peace. These examples very much reflect Oscar Romero’s words: “Let my death be for the liberation of my people”.
As part of the Offertory procession, significant items were also brought forward: a picture of Oscar Romero, his book “Memories in Mosaic”, the “Romero cross” and a radio, representing the Archbishop’s sermons which were broadcasted to the nation.
After mass, there was a lovely spread of cheese and wine refreshments in the Parish Hall, followed by a splendid presentation by Dr John Guy – CAFOD Trustee – who conveyed the thrill of the events of the canonisation day in Rome which he attended.
A big thank you to Bishop Peter and the parish of Sacred Heart for hosting the event as well as to John who came all the way from Oxford to share his experiences with us. It was a truly wonderful celebration.