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placeholder April 3, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 7   •   Oakland, CA
Above, Grupo Maíz ("Corn group") performing the traditional folk dance "Las Comaleras." At left, María Romero from Oakland, who emigrated to the US in 2005, cries in front of the picture of Blessed Oscar Romero. She recalls listening to his homilies on the radio in El Salvador, and has promised Archbishop Romero she will visit his tomb.

Night of remembrance honors slain archbishop

A celebration of the 37th anniversary of the martyrdom of Blessed Óscar Arnulfo Romero drew an enthusiastic crowd to the Cathedral of Christ the Light the evening of March 24.

The Vatican said there is no date scheduled for his canonization and an alleged miracle attributed to his intercession is being studied.

Blessed Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador, was assassinated in 1980 while celebrating Mass in the chapel of a local hospital one day after calling on the government to end its violation of human rights against the population.

The cathedral celebration began with a panel including Rev. Luis Alexander López, a priest of the diocese and native of El Salvador, who discussed the archbishop's life.

There was a showing of photos of Archbishop Romero, and attendees discussed the presentation.

Approximately 150 persons attended the Mass in cathedral, concelebrated by Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, and Fathers López and David Mendoza-Vela, another Salvadoran native now at St. John the Baptist Parish in San Lorenzo, as well as other priests.

After the Mass, there was a reception in the Parish Hall with Salvadoran food and music by Erwin González's Marimba, and folk dances of El Salvador by "Grupo Maíz" (Corn Group) like "El Carbonero" (considered the second anthem of El Salvador).

Father Mendoza-Vela noted: "This was a celebration we planned and executed together with the (diocesan) Latino Ministry, Father Luis and Catholic Worker of Oakland. We are very happy that Bishop Barber could celebrate the Mass on this occasion.

"What impressed me the most about Bishop's homily is that he referred to the sentence that is written on Blessed Romero's tomb (in San Salvador Cathedral): "Feel with the Church" (Sentir con la Iglesia). For many years that sentence was there and we didn't pay attention to it. Now that he is "blessed" we realize the full meaning of it.

"And the other sentence is in St. John: 'So He called them not servants but friends.'

"They are two sentences that reflect the experience of the bishop-martyr, close to the humblest, and his feeling with the Church, a feeling of absolute fidelity to the Holy Father, to the Teaching and to his own conscience."

Hector Medina, director of Latino Ministry, said: "In previous years we celebrated Blessed Romero with the Catholic Worker — it was a small celebration."

With the help of the Salvadoran priests and Bishop Barber, Medina said, "Now we have the hope that we can do this every year. … I think the Holy Spirit helped us."

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