“Sentir con la iglesia,” to feel with the church. This was the motto of Blessed Monseñor Oscar Romero. Oscar Romero lived out this life motto as a way to draw himself closer to God through prayer, as a decisive love and service to others, and as a fidelity to the teachings of the Church.
When he began to embody these words, I’m not sure he envisioned 300,000 people from all over the world gathered together in the streets of San Salvador in 90 degree weather singing, worshiping, and praising his beatification, but that’s what we did and I think it’s exactly what he would have wanted.
At the end of May my fellow missioner, Maeve, and I took a bus from Guatemala to El Salvador to join in the celebrations of Blessed Monseñor Oscar Romero. We met up with my best friend, Megan, ate tons of pupusas, a traditional Salvadoran dish of cheesy goodness, and prayed with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims in celebration of the life, martyrdom, and beatification of Oscar Romero.
Ever since high school I have had a huge devotion to Oscar Romero. When I was introduced to Oscar Romero at a Catholic social justice summer camp for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, I loved praying over his words and tried to embrace his teachings.
In college, I decided to write and dedicate my 25 page, 7820 word thesis on the life and martyrdom of Oscar Romero with the premise that his martyrdom was a vision of hope for our world; something even more confirmed through his path to sainthood.
I learned everything I could about Oscar Romero, prayed for his cause for canonization, and swore that I would one day make my way to El Salvador, the country he loved, served, and gave his life for.
When I heard the news that Oscar Romero would be beatified, first I cried tears of joy, and second I started making plans to be in El Salvador for the celebration.
By what I can only believe is the work of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of Blessed Oscar Romero, I would be living a short bus ride away from the celebrations, my best friend would be living in El Salvador, and I would have the week off from teaching at Valley. It was the perfect alignment of situations to get me to El Salvador.
On May 23rd, I gathered together with 300,000 people as joy-filled as me for a celebratory Mass for the beatification of Oscar Romero. As a haloed rainbow appeared around the sun at the end of the Rite of Beatification, we felt with the church and we felt with Romero.
I can’t think of a more appropriate way to praise the to be SAINT that has impacted my life more than I could have ever imagined. Every day on mission, I aspire “to feel with the church” and embrace the Gospel in the way of Blessed Monseñor Oscar Romero.