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Oscar Romero’s Legacy in Britain

On Wednesday March 14th Blessed Oscar Romero was celebrated once by MPs and Peers at Westminster. In 1978, when Archbishop Romero was under attack in El Salvador for his denunciation of human rights violations, British Parliamentarians nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. That endorsement brought him a small measure of protection and also great consolation. To mark this 40th anniversary, a Reception was organised at Westminster by the Archbishop Romero Trust in conjunction with Canon Pat Browne , the Roman Catholic Duty Priest to the Houses of Parliament and was sponsored by Conservative MP, Sir Peter Bottomley, and by Labour MP Mike Kane.

The guest speaker was Dr Ruben Zamora, a former Congressman and diplomat who represented El Salvador at the United Nations and was exiled in England in the 1970s. He described present economic and social crisis in El Salvador including gang violence.The need is to unify the country around the living legacy of Archbishop Romero’s teaching and action 40 years ago.

The following day Ruben addressed members of the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff with Archbishop George Stack and on Saturday 17th March he preached at the Ecumenical Service at St Martin-in-the-Fields marking the 38th anniversary of Romero’s martyrdom. ‘we do not wish him to be reduced to a plaster saint. Nor do we want his teaching and his legacy to be diluted into insipid comfort food’. He went on ‘We desperately need his prophetic witness today, in crisis-ridden El Salvador, and perhaps too here in Britain and across the world.’

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