sitting at o’hare waiting to board for the flight to San Salvador for a mission trip. Twelve of us comprise the “group,” an appropriate number by biblical standards. We will to visiting various sites that Catholic ReliefServices has a presence in. Our goal is to return to Chicago to build awareness for the mission and purpose of Catholic Relief Services.
What a beautiful touch of irony that we arrive in San Salvador during the festivities associated with the Beatification of Oscar Romero, who was assassinated while saying Mass on March 24, 1980. He was a passionate prophet for the poor and those suffering from injustice. Romero started his ministry as a rather timid leader who played it safe, staying within the bounds of established ways of being a bishop and excersizing authority. It was the brutal death of a number of his priests, particularly Fr. Rutilio Grande, and the continued disappearance of countless people, that totally transformed this quiet, conservative leader into a man of fire with the Spirit. He was in his late 50’s, yet another reminder that we are never too old.
I believe our group is in store for quite an experience, one that will awaken dormant ideals and trouble consciences that are much too comfortable. Seeing with one’s own eyes the harsh realities of decades,and even centuries, of injustice is a fairly certain vehicle of inner transformation. People can be reduced to the impersonal status of statistics that several about in newspapers and on news programs. Even the visuals associated with television and the Internet are inadequate, for we are far removed from the reality these statistics and stories describe in the comfort of our living room or local coffee houses surfing the web.
Pray for us on this mission in which the demands of the gospel will most assuredly enlighten, awaken and disturb.
Oscar Romero…Pray for Us
Peace. Fr. Frank