Friday, March 25, 2011

We are prophets of a future not of our own*

Today we honor Archbishop Oscar Romero who was martyred 31 years ago. Oscar Romero was from El Salvador. He, reluctantly, became an advocate for the poor in El Salvador.

Growing up, Romero was commonly mentioned in family discussions. I knew who he was, that he was killed while celebrating Mass, and the causes he championed before I could properly recite a rosary. That's saying a lot for this Catholic kid. He was always one of those important figures in my life. While other kids in CCD class with me knew about Mary, Jesus, and the common saints, I knew about Oscar Romero and could spout out information about his life in rapid succession. Every Sunday, my church included his name when we invoked the Saints of the Americas. On some level, I knew that not everyone knew about him, but I didn't quite comprehend that all Catholic kids didn't grow up talking about him around the dinner table.

Why do I talk about this? In many social justice oriented Catholic groups, Oscar Romero is a figure head - the hero used to light the fire under a groups' collective rear ends. Everyone knows about him; many people say that they fight for social justice because they are inspired by him; and still other groups repeat his words. But, do people really know about him. Why did Oscar Romero do what he did? How can he inspire us to advocate for social justice, to serve the underprivileged? How can he be more than just a name or just a figure head?

Truth be told, I don't have answers for this. I've been in discussions with numerous people about this over the past couple years. We always toss around ideas or some actions that might last a few weeks, but never anything concrete. One thing I've become aware of this year is that I don't want to be someone who can only talk the walk.

*often attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero, but actually written by Bishop Ken Untener
...Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all. Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity....


  1. Oscar Romero was an amazing person! Have you seen the video made about him (from the 80's I think)? It is really good and shows his journey about how he eventually transformed into the person he is known for today.

    I know what you mean about not just talking about social justice but actually DOING something about it. Looks like your volunteer work is doing the walking part though. Hope that is going well for you.

  2. Yes, I have seen the movie. It's one of my favorites. The volunteer work is going well. I'm loving the work that I'm doing.

    Thanks for the comment :)