Brisbane catechist remembers 'prophet' Romero

Blessed Oscar Romero (CNS)

When Brisbane’s German Silva attends the canonisation of Blessed Oscar Romero in Rome on Sunday, he will remember “many key messages” the saint offered throughout their five-year friendship. Source: The Catholic Leader.

As a teenage catechist in El Salvador, Mr Silva was influenced by Blessed Romero’s humility.

“I’ll never forget Msgr Romero said catechists must respect the teachings of the Church, as the messenger, not the message,” Mr Silva said.

The Sunnybank parishioner said the archbishop preferred to be addressed as Msgr Romero because of a desire “to be known as a brother in Christ”.

“Msgr Romero said, ‘The will of God made me a bishop to serve you … (and) priests and bishops are your servants, your brothers in Christ’,” Mr Silva said. “He would say, ‘You, the lay people, are important, you are the Church, the baptised’.”

Blessed Romero’s humility was seen in his frequent visits to poorer regions of El Salvador, Mr Silva said. “He went everywhere, especially to shanty towns,” he said.

“Msgr Romero’s mission was to preach the Gospel and that Gospel compelled him to fight injustice. (And) he often repeated, ‘You are children of God, you are the Church, protect your Church and fight the good fight for your Church’.”

During the political unrest and military oppression of El Salvador’s civil war in the 1980s, an uprising began against unjust work and living conditions.

Priests, religious, catechists and teachers, of which Mr Silva knew countless within his years of catechetical ministry, were targeted for their loyalty to preaching and the Church’s mission of outreach.

Mr Silva said Salvadorans “held tightly” to the views of Archbishop Romero, “glued” to radios and any means to hear him preach.

“Saints, like Msgr Romero, are like prophets … (and he was) a prophet who denounced the injustices of the people and the powerful who oppressed the people,” he said. “This is why saints are not very well received.”

Blessed Romero was martyred celebrating Mass in a hospital chapel in El Salvador on March 24, 1980, and more than 200,000 people attended his funeral six days later. He will be canonised along with Pope Paul VI on Sunday.

Mr Silva will be joined by Salvadoran catechists in Rome and will meet with Pope Francis following the canonisation.


Brisbane man to remember ‘spiritual father’ Archbishop Oscar Romero at canonisation (The Catholic Leader

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