In the next couple of months, this blog will publish a new tool for studying Archbishop Romero that will collate and correlate already-existing online sources in one review tool to allow a new way of looking at Archbishop Romero’s sermons. We are calling the new index a “Homiliarium” and it will be in essence a table that indexes the homilies from Oscar Romero’s three years as archbishop into a single chart of the liturgical cycles that those homilies correspond to. This will allow the reader, for example, to compare Romero’s Easter 1977 sermon to the Easter 1978 and Easter 1979 sermons by clicking on links in a table with matching items next to one another.
The Homiliarium will permit homilists, scholars and anyone who is interested, to find Romero’s sermon’s for a particular Sunday or for an appointed reading from Scripture and thus, show, in ways not shown by previous arrangements, the ordering schemes and thematic progression of Romero’s preaching. The initial table will be published on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 (the Feast of Saint Luke the evangelist). This table will contain Romero’s Sunday sermons arranged by liturgical cycle. The Church divides all the lectionary readings into three cycles—A, B, and C—which coincides with Romero’s three years as archbishop, such that the entirety of his opus would fill three complete cycles and thus provide a homily for every liturgical occasion.
A Supplement to the Homiliarium will be published here on Sunday, November 20, 2011 (the Solemnity of Christ the King), which marks the end of the current liturgical cycle and this will complete the publication of the project. The Supplement will be an index of miscellaneous homilies which do not fit into the Sunday sermon pattern—including funeral services and masses that Archbishop Romero said for other occasions. Both the Homiliarium and the annex will contain links to the texts of the sermons in English and in Spanish, links to audio of the sermons where available, and links to the appointed readings for each date in the index. So, if someone wanted to compare what their pastor said on Sunday to Romero’s preaching on the same Sunday readings, or—more importantly—if a preacher wanted to refer to Romero’s homily ahead of time in preparing his sermon—the Homiliarium would provide an easy reference tool for looking up any homily from Romero’s magisterium as archbishop.
In creating this reference tool for everyone, we are following the maxim that it is far better to do something about a problem than to simply gripe and complain about it. The “problem” here is the perception among some Church leaders that Romero followers do not pay enough attention to the spiritual aspects of his ministry, and the related concern that, despite their being available online both in English and in Spanish, Romero’s sermons are still overlooked by many. On both counts, the Homiliarium will provide a tool to address these concerns. First, the Homiliarium will make it plain for all to see how Romero’s preaching was driven by a liturgical calendar and the assigned readings from Scripture in the lectionary, and will allow the faithful to read Romero not just as a sociological exercise, but in conjunction with their spiritual practices. Secondly, the Homiliarium will provide quick thumbnail view over all of Romero’s sermons at once and a method for navigating them.