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A service to mark the 30th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero

Monday, 29th March 2010

A service to mark the 30th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero

A service to mark the 30th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917–80) was held at Westminster Abbey on Palm Sunday, Sunday 28th March 2010.

Oscar Romero is one of the 20th Century Martyrs whose statues were placed in 1998 above the Great West Door of the Abbey.

Week by week from his pulpit during this three years as Archbishop, Romero confronted the military regime which governed El Salvador in Central America. He denounced the human rights violations, the political violence, the corrupt system of justice, the iniquitous land tenure system, and the suffering of El Salvador’s poor. On 24th March 1980 he was shot dead as he celebrated Mass in the chapel of the hospital where he lived.

The Abbey service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, and the Address was given by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr Rowan Williams.

Sandra Zamora read Philippians 3: 7-11 in Spanish and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols, read John 12: 20-26.

Prayers were led by the Reverend Ralph Godsall, Minor Canon of Westminster; the Right Reverend Michael Evans, Bishop of East Anglia; Clare Dixon, Secretary of the Archbishop Romero Trust; the Reverend Vaughan Jones (United Reformed Church) Chief Executive of Praxis; Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, Patron of the Archbishop Romero Trust; Jan Graffius of Stonyhurst College, custodian of the relic of Archbishop Romero; and the Reverend Dr Anthony Harvey, Canon Emeritus of Westminster.

A wreath was laid at the Great West Door under the statue of Archbishop Romero by Julian Filochowski, Chair of the Archbishop Romero Trust.

At the beginning of the service the congregation heard a recording of an excerpt from the homily which Archbishop Romero preached in the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Saviour, San Salvador on the eve of his assassination.

A relic of Archbishop Romero, a piece of the blood-stained alb in which he was martyred, was placed in a reliquary on the Altar during the Abbey service.

The organ was played by Robert Quinney, Sub Organist of Westminster Abbey.  During the service Sam Wilson played Mexican Dance No 2 (Gordon Stout) on the marimba.

See also

The Order of Service (PDF, 512 KB)

The Address given by The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

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The work can be tough, but even the cold and rain don’t bother me as I enjoy it so much. I love every day that I spend at the Abbey – just being here makes me smile.

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Tim - Gardener

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