Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Blessed Oscar Romero’s Memorial


Art by Luis Lazo Chaparro
#BlessedRomero #MartyrOfMercy
For the first time this year, the commemoration of the martyrdom of Blessed Oscar Romero will not be simply a popular remembrance but a liturgical memorial, following the slain Salvadoran archbishop’s beatification last year.  March 24, the actual anniversary and the date fixed by the Church as the official memorial, falls on Holy Thursday this year, so the Salvadoran Church will observe it the Friday before, March 18, setting up the prospect of a double commemoration.  There will be Romero-centered commemorations on alternative dates (March 18 in San Salvador) in deference to Easter, and Holy Thursday itself will be tinged with a Romero resonance for his followers because it is the anniversary of his 1980 assassination.

On this blog, our theme will be “Following Jesus.” Here is the program which we hope helps others give focus and meaning to their own commemorations. 
·         On Friday, March 18, our theme will be “Following Romero on the Way of the Cross.”  This will be the Friday before Good Friday, nestled between two other important memorials: Saint Patrick on Thursday, March 17 and Saint Joseph on Saturday, the 19th.  These feasts present an anticipation of the Triduum, in which we see the history of the church from the days of Christ and his contemporaries (St. Joseph), to the evangelization of Europe (St. Patrick), to the faith today (Bl. Romero)—“Following Jesus” through the ages.

·         On Holy Thursday, and throughout Easter, the focus will properly be on Jesus and how Romero enriches our appreciation and experience of the passion.  Particularly, on March 24, we will reflect on “Romero’s Unfinished Eucharist,” and how the sacrament instituted by Jesus is ours to receive or reject in our lives.  Romero’s canonization will be presented particularly in the light of completing Romero’s unfinished Eucharist to the extent that we use it to complete what remains of Christ’s sufferings (Colossians 1:24).
Our “Following Jesus” motto is also a nod to Msgr. Ricardo Urioste, the founding President of the Romero Foundation who passed away earlier this year, who liked to say that he followed Romero because Romero was “following God.”
In these reflections, we will have the benefit of the always thoughtful contributions of Duane WH Arnold, PhD, who has generously shared his perspectives in previous occasions.  Each Friday leading up to this, the 36th, anniversary of Blessed Romero’s martyrdom, we will feature a series of reflections to prepare the way:
·         This Friday, February 26: a meditation on mercy as reflected in Blessed Romero’s seven final sermons (capping off the prior series of posts about these sermons);

·         On Friday, March 4: an appreciation of Fr. Nicolás Rodríguez, El Salvador’s “forgotten martyr,” and the Romero connection of this—the first—priest killed in El Salvador;

·         On Friday, March 11: a remembrance of Fr. Rutilio Grande, Romero’s martyred friend whose beatification will hopefully come soon;

·         On Friday, March 18: we will observe the memorial of Blessed Oscar Romero; and

·         On Holy Thursday, March 24 through Easter Sunday, March 27, we will reflect on Romero’s “Unfinished Eucharist” and his vision of the Church (“The Church of Easter”).
We hope that you will find these reflections helpful, and that you will join us this Lent in praying for the prompt Canonization of Blessed Oscar Romero, Bishop and Martyr.

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