Our Dear MVP Family,
We hope that you are well, in mind, body, and spirit. That you are safe and healthy, loved and assured. That in the midst of chaos, you can feel peace.
As we enter into the second week of social distancing, working and learning from home, and creating new ways to find love and human connection, we also prepare to celebrate a great leader and pastor who offered hope to thousands, even millions, in the midst of the crises of fear, poverty, and war. Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero was the leader of the Catholic church before and during the beginning of El Salvador’s 12 year civil war. During this time he not only cared for the church, but for all people facing oppression, fear, injustice, hopelessness.
A few years ago the BBC published an article in Spanish titled “The Canonization of Archbishop Óscar Romero: 7 phrases that reflect his political and religious thought”, one of the seven phrases used to capture Romero’s legacy is Defensor de la Vida, or in English, Defender of Life. Days before his assassination, Romero proclaimed that “nothing is more important to me than human life.” Romero defended all lives in a dark and dangerous time. He traveled through combat territory to be close to those who were suffering. He sat with those who were mourning and showed great compassion for the oppressed. While armed forces abused and killed, Romero lived a life that gave hope to the people of his country. He defended those lives that were labeled “lesser” and he became known as the “voice of the voiceless” as he demanded justice and peace during a war that left 75,000 dead in a country of just 6 million.
Romero continues to be a symbol of hope not just for the people of El Salvador, but for our world today. His pastoral spirit reflected that of Jesus, as he visited the sick and shared meals with society’s outcasts. He also reflected Jesus’ prophetic spirit as he publicly denounced the wealthy’s oppression of the poor and persistently demanded an end to all violence. We can learn so very much from his life and teachings; we can also find inspiration and hope as we remember his work as an advocate, pastor, justice-seeker, and peace-maker for El Salvador.
Romero represents much of what we teach in El Salvador through our program Misión Vida y Paz, which is why we have chosen to host a celebration in his honor this Tuesday evening, on the 40th anniversary of his death. Just as Romero gave hope through his presence to others, we would like to replicate this sharing of hope through a gathering that complies with the demands of this week – a virtual gathering. If you would like to learn more about the life of Oscar Romero, or if you would just like to connect with others during this time, we invite you to tune into our Zoom call this Tuesday, March 24 at 7pm. We will listen, celebrate, reflect, and share together through a virtual gathering, whether by phone or video. You can connect simply by following this link or by calling 301-715-8592 and using the Meeting ID: 671 993 8280.
We hope that you can join us on for this virtual gathering. As we continue to adjust to this new and temporary version of life, we make ways to connect through meaningful conversation and reflection. Romero’s legacy inspires us to adopt an attitude of hope, even in the midst of violence and fear. Please join us as we together discover hope and inspiration to live in peace with ourselves and to seek peace for our world.
Hasta el martes (until Tuesday),
Molly & Eliberto