Fundación Romero in San Salvador has announced the theme for the 34th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Archbishop Óscar A. Romero, which will be observed on March 24, 2014. The cover of the Liturgical Calendar published by Fundación for 2014 reveals the slogan, taken from Archbishop Romero’s homily on October 30, 1977: “The pastor must be where there is suffering.” The calendar features a photo of the martyred archbishop, walking on railroad tracks in a San Salvador slum, the “La Chacra” Community, accompanied by residents of that neighborhood and two Sisters of the Assumption from the place, Sr. Ignacia and Sr. Carmen. The photo was taken on Monday, September 3, 1979.
It is probably no coincidence that the theme chosen fits well with the message of Pope Francis, who in his speech to the first group of new bishops appointed during his pontificate, exhorted: “Do not close yourselves in! Go down among your faithful, even into the margins of your dioceses and into all those peripheries of existence where there is suffering, loneliness and human degradation.” The new pope has been extolling as priorities the approaches to the small, to the suffering, constructing “a poor church for the poor,” with “pastors with the odor of the sheep,” etc. Undoubtedly, Archbishop Romero fits the criteria established by Pope Bergoglio, and the theme chosen by the Romero Foundation for the 34th anniversary memorializes the happy coincidence.