Another of Fr Anthony’s thoughts, this time about our unofficial second patron saint, Oscar Romero.
On 24th March 1980 Saint Oscar Romero Archbishop of San Salvador was shot and killed while celebrating Mass. In his sermon the day before, Romero ordered the army to stop killing people: “In the name of God, and in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I beg you, I implore you, I order you, in the name of God, stop the repression!” We are very privileged to have some of his vestments here at St Thomas’s in the Martyr’s chapel.
Here are some words from a sermon he gave in November 1977
Do you want to know if your Christianity is genuine? Here is the touchstone: Whom do you get along with? Who are those who criticise you? Who are those who do not accept you? Who are those who flatter you? Know from that what Christ said once: “I have come not to bring peace, but division.” There will be division even in the same family, because some want to live more comfortably by the world’s principles, those of power and money. But others have embraced the call of Christ and must reject all that cannot be just in the world.
We give thanks for the witness of his life and death and ask that through his intercession we may also be a powerful witness to Jesus and his Gospel in our lives today..
If you want to know more about his life and message click here.
This is a view of Portsmouth from the sea. The monument on the left is the Naval Memorial, and this still is Navy town, though there are fewer ships and fewer sailors than in 1944, when the city was an important departure point for the D-Day Normandy Landings.
Back in June this year some the old men who took part in that action to liberate France and Europe returned with the British Legion, as well as their allied counterparts. The Legion’s Head of Remembrance, Nicholas Rowlands had been preparing the men for this last big commemoration in Normandy, and he told the i newspaper*:
A lot of their memories are, naturally, quite sad. But the ones that they tend to connect with the most are the funny memories. You can see them go back to 1944 and they’re 19 years old again, it’s lovely.
The tall Naval Memorial cannot be ignored; the deaths of soldiers, sailors and airmen, nurses and ambulance drivers must not be ignored, nor the suffering in the occupied countries, the concentration camps, and the continuing conflicts around the world today.
But the way the funny memories light up the veterans says something about the human spirit. We can find absurdity frightening, or we can look on it as something to be laughed at, to be smiled over in retrospect. Absurdity is a hint that there is peace of mind to be had somewhere. We can connect with that peace by acknowledging our sinfulness and frailties and by laughing absurdity and fear out of court.
* Rob Hastings, I-newspaper 4.6.19 p20
Portsmouth, an important departure point for the landings and for today’s peace time ferries.