Habitat El Salvador would like to express a special greeting on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the death of Monseñor Romero. Óscar Arnulfo Romero was a man of principles, and as a church leader, he created a ministry in defense of the victims of violence during the 1970s. Thirty years later, as followers of his legacy, we want to honor him in the way we know how: working alongside families in need of decent housing in Getsemaní.
As part of the Lent Build activities, on March 24th I lead a delegation to San Salvador. There were fifteen of us: international volunteers from Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity, Getsemaní community leaders and partner families. We all wore our Lent Build shirts that say: “We are workers, not master builders.”
We arrived at the cathedral before mass. Some of the Salvadorans from the Getsemaní community had never gone inside this great building. Afterwards, we went downstairs to the crypt to see Monseñor Romero’s tomb, where we found a big celebration. A group of Romero’s followers, known as “The Crypt Community,” meet there each Sunday to honor his legacy. We heard testimonies, songs and lectures. In many corners of the crypt you could hear stories of “…how we survived the massacre at the cathedral on March 30, 1980, the day of Monseñor’s funeral….I was there.”
After lunch, we returned to the crypt to attend an artistic festival, including dance and music. Meanwhile, upstairs in the sanctuary, the president of the republic attended mass, in this way remembering Monseñor Romero.
This was an exciting experience for all of us. We can say with certainty that we are part of this history and also part of Monseñor Romero’s legacy.
–Carlos Avalos (Church Relations Coordinator, Habitat El Salvador)