|Rose garden where seven Jesuit priests and their two housekeepers were assassinated in San Salvador in 1989.|
This reflection is on the Eucharistic Marvels of Archbishop Romero, but is presented as a Rosary, because he was born on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary (and he was killed on the eve of the Feast of the Annunciation). Archb. Romero has always been closely linked with the Eucharist and these five episodes—which become for us five Mysteries—illustrate the connections.
I. FATHER ROMERO CELEBRATES HIS FIRST MASS
|Young Father Romero celebrates an outdoor Latin Mass with peasants.|
Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador, January 11, 1944: Oscar Romero offers his first solemn mass. The prayer card reads, “May this sacrifice that we offer please you, O Lord. Govern with constant protection your servant, the Roman Pontiff.”
- Reflection: The starting point for Archbishop Romero is always his motto, “Sentire Cum Ecclesia:” to be of one heart and one mind with the Church. One cannot understand Romero without passing through his fidelity to the teachings of the Popes and the Magisterium of the Church. Romero was inspired by the motto of the then-Pope Pius XII, “Opus Justitiae pax” (peace is the work of justice). He truly was radical from his orthodoxy. Are we revolutionaries of God like Archbishop Romero?
II. ARCHBISHOP ROMERO CELEBRATES THE 'SINGLE MASS'
|Bishop Romero administers Holy Communion.|
San Salvador, March 20, 1977: Following the assassination of Fr. Rutilio Grande, Archbishop Romero summons the people to a ‘Single Mass’ in front of the Cathedral where he preaches to a crowd of over 100,000.
- Reflection: Archb. Romero wants to show what the lack of a priest means to the community. The whole diocese gathered around its bishop, and Romero captured the spiritual imagination of his flock. Romero never organized a protest march, never participated in a strike, never shouted political slogans, or waved political banners. His voice was a church voice. May we also be able to combine our ecclesial actions and our actions toward the world in a single way of acting that is authentic and coherent.
III. ARCHBISHOP ROMERO RECOVERS THE DESECRATED HOSTS
|Archbishop Romero consecrating.|
Aguilares, June 19, 1977: Archbishop Romero recovers Fr. Grande's church: “I have come to gather up this church and convent that has been profaned, this tabernacle that has been destroyed and above all else to gather up this people that has been humiliated and sacrificed.”
- Reflection: Archb. Romero does not tolerate insults to the sacraments and the sanctuary of the Church. Neither is he willing to accept the abuses against the people. But he does not neglect one thing to do the other. He sets out to do both. The soldiers had trampled the altar and the Hosts. Archb. Romero recognizes the need to have a rite of expiation after this sacrilege. But the soldiers also had persecuted the church and violated the human rights of the faithful, and this, too, required redress. What about us—do we accept insults against Christ and the poor?
IV. EUCHARISTIC ADORATION OF ARCHBISHOP ROMERO
|Archbishop Romero administers Communion on the tongue.|
Archbishop Romero held Holy Hours of Eucharistic Adoration in the chapel of the cancer hospital where he lived and summoned the faithful to participate. “Together with those people who are ill, we are able to make an act of faith before the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and offer our prayers for the great needs of our families, our nation, and the Church. At the same time we are able to perform an act of charity—one that is referred to in the Catechism as an act of mercy—namely, we are able to visit the sick.”
- Reflection: Pope Francis has called for the unity of the Church and her attention to silent cry of the needy, during the Worldwide Eucharistic Adoration for the Year of Faith. The unity of the Church and the attention to the needy, both the sick and the poor, is the same as Romero invites us to place at the center of our spirituality. Faith and charity, mercy, are not values we find divorced from each other. We must overcome our spiritual schizophrenia and unite these criteria.
V. ARCHBISHOP ROMERO’S UNFINISHED EUCHARIST
|Archbishop Romero ministering Communion to a woman wearing a mantilla in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in San Salvador, where he pronounced his final sermons in February and March 1980.|
- Reflection: Cardinal Jaime Ortega has said that Archbishop Romero’s unfinished mass was reminiscent of Christ’s Last Supper, also celebrated in a “climate of pain and suspicion.” And Bishop Ricardo Ramirez has said that “it is our task to contribute to the termination of the Eucharist that Romero was not able to finish. The challenge to those whose imagination has been sparked by the Romero story is to live, to serve and to be present to those who are experiencing the pain of human suffering.”
Magnificat anima mea Dominum ...