On 23 March, Cardinal Vincent delivered the homily at an ecumenical service at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, to mark the 35th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero. The theme of the service was ‘Romero’s Martyrdom – A faith that does justice’.
Cardinal Vincent attributed the strength of love and devotion for Archbishop Romero to his dedication to hearing the cry of the poor. ‘He had taken the people to his heart, and they had taken him to theirs,’ Cardinal Vincent said, ‘Each day he saw their world through eyes that had cried…Archbishop Oscar Romero was one with his people, in the harsh reality of their lives, in a shared love and joy.’
Quoting Archbishop Romero, he said that ‘The poverty that Jesus Christ here sanctifies is not simply a material poverty, not just having nothing - that is evil. It is a poverty that awakens consciousness, a poverty that accepted the Cross and sacrifice, but not out of mere compliance, but because it knows this is God's will.’
Reminding those present of Oscar Romero’s emphasis on Christ, Cardinal Vincent said that it was fitting that when he was martyred, Archbishop Romero was clothed in the vestments of a priest, ‘making visible only his ministry in Christ.’ He compared the body of Christ in his mother’s arms at the foot of the Cross to the body of Oscar Romero ‘crumpled at the foot of the altar, the altar on which the same death of Christ is made present everyday’.
The service was part of a week of events organised by the Romero Trust which took place from 21-27 March to mark the 35th anniversary of Archbishop Romero’s martyrdom on 24 March 1980. Archbishop Romero will be beatified on 23 May this year in San Salvador as a martyr for the faith of the Church and faith in Jesus Christ.
The full text of the homily can be found here.