Romero Day Observance

March 25, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Romero Observance

New Delhi, March 23, 2013: The Office for Justice, Peace and Development (OJPD-CBCI) organised an event to honour the memory of the modern-day prophet of Justice Archbishop Romero of El Salvador to mark the 33rd anniversary of his martyrdom.

The highlight of the event that took place at Yusuf Sadan, near Sacred Heart Cathedral Church, was the screening of the film Monsignor: The Last Journey of Oscar Romero. Produced in 2011 by the Kellogg Institute at the University of Notre Dame an 88-minute-long documentary film featured testimonies of people who had known the martyred Archbishop, videos and photographs of his special moments. Inaugurating the event, Fr. Charles Irudayam, the Secretary of the CBCI Office for Justice and Peace said that the event was organised in continuation of a good practice that began in 2011 with the collaboration of the Embassy of the Republic of El Salvador at New Delhi, so that the memory of Archbishop Romero would inspire and enable the Christian faithful in India to lead a life of evangelical commitment to the cause of justice.

The event was attended by a large number of women religious, priests, and lay people notable among whom were Ms Angela Zamora Rivas and Ms Miriam Zamora Rivas, sisters of Dr Ruben Ignacio Zamora Rivas, the former El Salvadoran Ambassador to India. Ms Angela Zamora said that she was excited to see the kind of respect and reverence that Archbishop commands among the Indians. Two other dignitaries who graced the function were Mr Vladimiro P Villalta Novoa, Minister Counsellor at El Salvadoran embassy in New Delhi, and Barrister Mr Tom Beazly who is Counsel to the Queen of England. Mr Tom said watching the film was a stunning experience for him, and added that he was edified by the prophetic witness of Archbishop Romero who was ‘not a revolutionary’.

Mr Vijayan, a well-know human rights defender and Director of Delhi Forum said that Romero  is an inspiration to all human rights defenders; he suggested that the film be dubbed in Hindi so that many more could come to know about Romero and his legacy.

It may be remembered that in the 1970s, as El Salvador moved irrevocably closer to civil war, Archbishop Oscar Romero was known as the voice of the poor, the disenfranchised, and the disappeared. Appointed Archbishop in 1977, Monsignor Oscar Romero worked tirelessly for peace, justice and human rights while in constant personal peril. Using the power of the pulpit to denounce official corruption, he inspired millions with his nationally broadcast sermons, until 24th March 1980 when he was shot dead at the altar.

Archbishop Romero’s contribution to human rights protection has been acknowledged by the United Nations General Assembly, which, on 21 December 2010, proclaimed 24 March as the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims. By proposing this day, the UN urged the world to honour the memory of victims of gross and systematic human rights violations and to promote the importance of the right to truth and justice; to pay tribute to those who have devoted their lives to, and lost their lives in, the struggle to promote and protect human rights for all; and to recognize, in particular, the important work and values of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero of El Salvador.

– charles irudayam

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