Remembering Romero and the people of El Salvador

It has been over a year since I returned from my transformative cross-cultural trip to El Salvador, and though I do not think about the people there as often as I used to or should, their stories remain in my heart. Today I am specifically praying for and remembering the people of El Salvador on this 30th Anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero. “Monsignor,” as he was affectionately called by the people, was indeed the people’s pastor. This martyr was a fearless defender of the poor and suffering. Tensions were rising in El Salvador in the late 1970’s and Romero knew that there were threats on his life. He said, “If I die, I will be resurrected in the Salvadoran people.” On March 24, 1980, he was killed with a single shot to the heart while presiding at Eucharist at the Divina Providencia Chapel in San Salvador. His death marked the beginning of a 12-year civil war within that country. The location and timing of his death during Eucharist is symbolic for the Salvadoran people in that his blood was mixed with the “blood of Christ” from the cup of salvation. The Salvadoran people believe in resurrection; Romero’s presence is still with them. On this anniversary of his death, we remember Romero and join with the Salvadoran people in their resurrection chant, “Oscar Romero: Presente!”

I was talking with one of my friends about Romero and El Salvador today and she asked me to repost the litany I wrote last year for my cross-cultural group’s chapel service at MTSO. May we remember and pray for the Salvadoran people today and always. Until next time, peace …

Litany for El Salvador

O God who knows no borders or boundaries, who created the universe and all its inhabitants and whose image is borne in the Salvadoran people, today we remember our sisters and brothers who have been subjected to tyranny and oppression. In solidarity we pray for the families of those massacred and other victims of violence in El Salvador and throughout the world that their deaths may be a call for peace and reconciliation.

Lord, have mercy. Hear our prayer.

Señor, ten piedad. Escucha nuestra oración.

Today we remember that the whole of your creation – land and water – is holy because it was created by you. Your intention, O God, was that we care for these resources with respect and reverence. In solidarity we pray for those who do not have access to clean water and vow to work for justice until all receive this basic need.

Lord, have mercy. Hear our prayer.

Señor, ten piedad. Escucha nuestra oración. 

Today we remember your son, Jesus Christ, who brought good news to the poor, proclaimed release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and let the oppressed go free.  In solidarity we plead for those who are impoverished and those bound by oppressive social and political systems, and pray that your reign may soon be realized.

Lord, have mercy. Hear our prayer.

Señor, ten piedad. Escucha nuestra oración.

Today we remember the stories of the people of El Salvador – the stories of anguish and lament and the stories of hope and healing. In solidarity we carry those stories with us and pray that we never forget to rely on your transforming power to create hope and new life.

Lord, have mercy. Hear our prayer.

Señor, ten piedad. Escucha nuestra oración.

 

The altar where Romero presided at his last Eucharist

at the Divina Providencia Chapel

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