Thursday, March 25, 2010

Honoring Mons. Oscar Romero in Virginia

Last night, Fr. Alex Diaz, a priest from El Salvador who is currently serving in St. Anthony of Padua parish in Falls Church, VA offered a lovely bilingual Mass and presentation in Spanish to honor Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero and teach the second generation Salvadoran immigrants about their great countryman.

Fr. Alex's reflections were well-researched but also deeply personal as he shared experiences of his nation's civil war such as seeing his mother forced off a bus at gunpoint by the military while she was pregnant with his brother because she wasn't carrying her ID with her that day.

Fr. Alex stressed how much Mons. Romero's involvement with the poor was motivated by the gospel and deplored the politicization of the archbishop -- whether by leftist groups who attach his image to their political posters or by the right who villify him as a "revolutionary" troublemaker.

The wall of the cafeteria was lined with images and quotes from Monseñor Romero for further contemplation. I hope that Fr. Alex will eventually put his whole presentation on his Web site or blog but, until then, Spanish speakers can find an article by Fr. Alex about Romero on his blog that is very similar to what he shared with us last night in his homily.


  1. Fr. Alex stressed how much Mons. Romero's involvement with the poor was motivated by the gospel and deplored the politicization of the archbishop -- whether ...

    And by the Vatican who didn't support him !

  2. Actually Fr. Alex did mention -- and deplore -- the lack of support for Mons. Romero from some of his fellow clergy in El Salvador. The lack of support from the Vatican, particularly from Pope John Paul II who is one of Fr. Alex's heroes, is a subject we do not discuss...

    In that respect, Mons. Romero's story was very much like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s. King was also told by fellow African American clergy to tone it down because they didn't want more trouble. Thank God, King and Romero did not listen to the naysayers around them...

  3. I see, the same way that we don’t discuss openly and with the sense of urgency that it deserves, the ongoing almost non stop revelations of more and more cases of child abuse by the clergy and what is worse of all, the shelter and anonymity that their superiors provided for them. And those are just the ones we know about it.

  4. But I am sorry, I didn’t mean to be criticizing, this is the place to honor Mons. Romero and that’s all what matters here and today.

  5. I meant to say that I don't discuss it with Fr. Alex. I'm actually very grateful to Fr. Alex for doing something to honor Mons. Romero in our diocese. We always dedicate the Sunday closest to his death to him in my parish but that is because our priest, an American, has been commemorating Mons. Romero for a very long time. They do more in the District of Columbia thanks to another Salvadoran priest, Rev. Vidal Antonio Rivas, who was booted out of the Catholic Church (no good deed goes unpunished) and went on to marry and join the Episcopal Church.

    The sad thing is that Fr. Alex says some of his own parishioners opposed his doing the program on Romero because they thought it was "too political". I heard from one of them who went to the program and gave me a ride afterwards. The man, a Salvadoran, told me that in his opinion Romero had accomplished nothing, that he had just created class division in El Salvador and didn't deserve to be honored. It's sad.

    I'm glad Fr. Alex ignores people like that and I hope he will keep talking and preaching about Romero as long as he is able.

  6. This is my video response to those that think that thee that dies for justice and in defense of the weak or oppressed, achieves nothing.
    Just one man or woman standing up in any hidden remote corner of the world, giving his/her life for a brother, is a victory for the entire mankind.
    If not, we are nothing and the words that the church, so much preaches to us to believe, mean nothing.