This took place after the Homily of the Mass, an alternative ‘Litany of the Saints’
SUMMONING THE MARTYRS Oscar and other names of El Salvadoran martyrs are called, all respond ‘Presente!’
Not long before his death, Oscar Romero said:
‘My Life has been threatened many times. I have to confess that, as a Christian, I don’t believe in death without resurrection. If they kill me, I will rise again in the People of El Salvador. If they carry out their threats, I want you to know that I now offer my blood to God for justice and the resurrection of El Salvador. Martyrdom is a grace of God I do not feel worthy of. But if God accepts the sacrifice of my life, my hope is that my blood will be like a seed of liberty and a sign that our hopes will soon be a reality.’
It is our firm belief as Christians that those who have died in Christ are now fully alive in the Risen Lord, and that they are present with us in the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ that spurs us on to serve the Kingdom even at the cost of our own lives. Let us now, in a manner traditional in Latin America, recognise the living and life-giving presence of the martyrs for Justice in El Salvador and elsewhere in Latin America.
St Oscar Romero Archbishop of San Salvador, Saint of the Americas PRESENTE
Bishop Juan Gerardi of Guatemala, killed for telling the truth PRESENTE
Dom Helder Camara of Brazil, who lived for the Poor PRESENTE
Fr Rutilio Grande, whose death challenged Oscar with reality PRESENTE
Sr Maura Clarke and Sr Ita Ford, Maryknoll Missionaries in El Salvador PRESENTE
Jean Donovan and Sr Dorothy Kazel, who loved the Roses in December PRESENTE
Fr Alfonso Navarro, Fr Rafael Palacios, Fr Alirio Macias and Fr Manuel Reyes,
who were buried by Oscar Romero and the prepared the way for him PRESENTE
The Jesuit Martyrs of the University of Central America, who died because they unmasked the lies:
Fr Ignatio Ellacuria and Fr Segundo Montes PRESENTE
Fr Ignatio Martin-Baro and Fr Amando Lopez PRESENTE
Fr Juan Ramon Moreno and Fr Joaquin Lopez y Lopez PRESENTE
Their co-workers Elba and Celina Ramos, beloved daughters of God PRESENTE
And the 80,000 other men, women and children killed by the politics of terror and the servants of death PRESENTE
ACT OF COMMITMENT Pledge of our Commitment
On this 40th Anniversary of the martyrdom of St Oscar Arnulfo Romero, we stand alongside the people of El Salvador in their rejoicing and their sorrow; we stand alongside the oppressed and impoverished people through Latin America; we stand alongside everyone scattered over the face of our beautiful but unjust world who are dehumanised by injustice, oppression, violence and discrimination; we stand alongside our refugee and sanctuary-seeking sisters and brothers; and we stand alongside Pope Francis as he calls us to be ‘a Church of the Poor, a Church for the Poor’, a ‘field hospital’ for the oppressed.
And as we stand alongside them in this sacred moment of remembering, of solidarity and communion, we wish to renew our commitment to the Gospel as Good News to the Poor, and to humanity clothed in divine dignity.
ALL: We believe in a God who has created all the world and its resources to be shared by all the world’s people…
Therefore we commit ourselves to a life-style that seeks to share more than possess and to struggle for a more just distribution of the world’s resources and wealth.
We believe in a God who has made every human person in the divine image and likeness, worthy of an infinite dignity and reverence…
Therefore we commit ourselves to working for justice and challenging everything that dehumanises and brutalises our brothers and sisters.
We believe that human beings are capable of living together in peace and sharing together with equality and justice…
Therefore we commit ourselves to challenging the violence and naming the evil that is war and the arms trade, to live in peace with all people and our creation, and to seek peaceful ways of resolving every conflict.
Inspired by St Oscar Romero and the multitude of unnamed prophets for Justice who have given their lives in the struggle, we commit ourselves to walk the same path of the Kingdom, to live out our lives in solidarity with the poor, in communion with our planet and to build always the ‘civilisation of love’ for all the world’s children.