BY Ryan McDougall | April 5 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


St Romero to inspire young people in Edinburgh

An Edinburgh church has secured funding for a project which will help schoolchildren ‘focus on the example of St Oscar Romero.’

Sacred Heart Church in Edinburgh’s Lauriston had a shrine to the saint blessed on Sunday March 24 by Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh and now want to see the saint remembered throughout Scotland.

The church plans to create information packs on the saint’s life and work, as well as a video and material for teachers.

Their efforts have been bolstered by the invaluable support of S6 Caritas pupils of the local Catholic schools.

“We really wanted to do something to commemorate the shrine and wanted to avoid the blessing being a one-off event,” said Andrew Cassidy, pastoral associate of Sacred Heart Church.

“We want young people to focus on the example of St Oscar Romero and be inspired by what he did because it wasn’t really that long ago.”


Social justice

The project has secured £1,700 of funding from the Jesuit Fund for Social Justice, a branch of the Jesuits in Britain whose values resonate with those of St Romero, who was martyred for speaking out against the inequalities faced by people in El Salvador.

“He was assassinated in 1980 and his story is still in a lot of people’s memories,” Mr Cassidy said.

“We’re trying to draw inspiration from the fact that he stood up for people who didn’t have anyone to do that for them.

“We’re trying to link it quite closely with Fr Rutilio Grande who was martyred before St Romero, because he was the catalyst for everything St Romero did, and it looks like he might become beatified soon as well.”


Voice of the voiceless

The Sacred Heart community in Edinburgh believe it’s important that young people learn what St Romero and Fr Grande stood for.

Mr Cassidy added: “Both their stories are of social justice and speaking out for the voiceless.

“To give children that message to stand up for something and to have the confidence to do so is important.”

Parish priest Fr William Pearsall added: “El Salvador 40 years ago is not a world many young people will be able to identify with easily, but they’ll be able to recognise that the Church has a place in the world which is a voice for the voiceless.

“That was what St Romero stood for—people need to speak on the behalf of the poor.

This can hopefully bring Catholic Social Teaching into classrooms in a more immediate way.”


Future plans

Mr Cassidy said that the initiative would begin in Edinburgh, but there might be scope to broaden its horizons further in future.

“We could develop it further and eventually take it across Scotland. It will be an invitation to the population of Scotland to learn about him.”

The plan is the latest in a wide range of events dedicated to the saint following the blessing of the shrine at Sacred Heart Church.

Last week, the church organised an ecumenical event with the local Episcopalian church, Augustine United Church and the nearby Quaker meeting, in which the members of each visited one another’s congregations in celebration of St Romero’s life.

Mr Cassidy said: “It helped us to create good links with other local churches that weren’t really established before.”

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