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Follow example of Archbishop Romero and pray for the poor, says cardinal

Oscar Romero was beatified in May (AP)

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has called on Christians to imitate the life of Archbishop Oscar Romero.

At an ecumenical service held at St-Martin-in-the-Fields on Sunday, the cardinal said: “If we truly want to imitate Oscar Romero and truly follow his example, then we too, every day, must make the cries of the poor in every part of the world central to our prayer. This is the most radical action we can take, the most profound response we can make to poverty in our midst. This call to prayer is the first call of our baptism, a true fulfilling of our vocation to be a holy people, a nation of priests.

“We are to offer to God, entrust to God, all that he has given to us, most especially the poor and the weak, those who are dearest to him. Without this prayer all else that we do will be flat, one-dimensional, without its true roots in love and in faith.”

Archbishop Romero is to beatified on May 23 in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, where he was murdered in 1980 by a gunman during the country’s civil war.

Cardinal Nichols said the Archbishop “died, the Church proclaims, in holiness of life and for one reason: hatred of the faith, hatred of Jesus, hatred of the unfailing love of God, shown in Jesus, which has such a special, preferential place for the poor. This love, in which we place our trusting faith, is the source of the true dignity of every human being, from the first moment of their conception to their natural death.”

He concluded: “I take to heart the fact that when he was martyred he was clothed not in the individuality of his personality, nor in the insignia of episcopal office, but in the vestments of a priest. Vestments are always intended to hide a priest’s own self, making visible only his ministry in Christ. This is what is most precious about Oscar Romero. These are what fill my eyes and heart. I hope they do yours too.”