Bringing the Good News to the sick and poor: Romero mural

The mural in the grounds of the Divine Providence Cancer Hospital in San Salvador
The mural in the grounds of the Divine Providence Cancer Hospital in San Salvador

As the Church today (24 March) marks the 37th anniversary of the assassination of Blessed Oscar Romero in El Salvador, a new mural has been unveiled that looks to honour his legacy and to inspire a new generation to engage with his life. It was completed with the help of Jesuit Missions, working through the Archbishop Romero Trust.

The mosaic, entitled 'Monseñor Romero – Open to Those Who Suffer', is by the renowned Salvadoran artist Fernando Llort. It is based loosely on chapter four of St Luke's gospel, and is located in the grounds of the Divine Providence Cancer Hospital, in front of the tiny bungalow where Archbishop Romero lived and close to the hospital chapel where he was martyred on 24 March 1980.

Earlier this week, Carmelite Sister Maria Julia Garcia unveiled the mural, which was then blessed by the diocesan Chancellor, Mgr Rafael Urrutia, who has managed the Cause for Romero's canonisation in El Salvador for almost 20 years. 2017 is the centenary of Romero's birth, and, at the start of the year, a special wall was built for the mural by the Carmelite Sisters. Then with a small grant from Jesuit Missions in Britain, working through the Archbishop Romero Trust, the mosaic was completed this week.

An option for the poorRomero Week speaker, Sr Marta Zechmeister CJ

Julian Filochowski, Chair of the Trust and a consultant at Jesuit Missions, described the mural: "Llort depicts Archbishop Romero bringing 'the Good News' to the poor, the sick and the forgotten ones of El Salvador – with symbols of Jesus as the new sun, the sun of divine justice, together with the Father and the Spirit, alongside the community of El Salvador. The mural is a delightful array of colourful, and typically Llort, images – reminiscent of those he designed for the Romero Cross Shrine in St George's Cathedral in Southwark."

Today at St George’s Cathedral (12.30pm) Bishop Patrick Lynch SSCC will celebrate Mass for the feast day of Blessed Oscar Romero. Other events for today's anniversary will include a performance of Romero - Heartbeat of El Salvador by RISE Theatre at All Saints Church, Sale. This evening at 7.30pm, Sr Martha Zechmeister CJ, who teaches theology at the UCA in San Salvador, will give her Romero Week talk at St Thomas of Canterbury Church in Canterbury. Earlier this week, Sr Marta spoke at the Lauriston Jesuit Centre in Edinburgh and at St Aloysius College in Glasgow.

"Romero's example in living an option for the poor is affecting and inspiring more and more people," says Richard Greenwood of Jesuit Missions. "We are delighted to have been able to help celebrate and continue that legacy."

There is continuing prayer and widespread hope and expectation that Blessed Oscar's canonisation might be announced during this centenary year.