Many thanks to all who helped prepare the many children who made their first communion last weekend and who will make their first communion this weekend. The kids were excited and nervous and did just fine. It all reminds me of my own first communion years and years ago – the white dress shirt, the red clip-on tie, the long row of us at St. Margaret’s on Winn St. in Burlington MA. All good, and all a sign of a church that continues to grow and thrive. Thanks to all who helped!
At the end of May a group from our parish will visit El Salvador on a Habitat for Humanity build trip. It will be my first time in Central America. Much of our time will be spent building a house, working together with a local Salvadoran parish. As part of our trip we will visit some sites associated with Oscar Romero, who was bishop of San Salvador and who, in the midst of civil war in El Salvador in the 1970’s, spoke courageously against the violence in that country. He was assassinated while at the altar in 1980, and was canonized by Pope Francis last October.
There is a newly published book called “What You Have Heard is True” by Carolyn Forche, which tells of her experience visiting El Salvador in the 1970’s. In a recent interview, she writes about how she had fallen away from her Catholicism during that time, and upon meeting Bishop Romero, tells him “I’m not a good Catholic.” She goes on to say “He gave me communion anyway. Nobody cared if I wasn’t a good Catholic. Nobody asked me when the last time I went to confession was, because I’d have to be truthful; it had been years.”
She goes on to write about her experience of the violence in that country, the death squads, the disappearance of thousands of people, the deep fear among the people about who was being watched, and her encounter with Romero, who she describes as having a kind of light around him and who insisted, despite the threats against his life, on staying with his people even amid the violence around him. He tells her “My place is with my people. And I’m staying here. My place is with my people, and now, your place is with your people. You must go home and you must tell Americans about our situation.” It’s a fascinating and enlightening read, written by a woman who is a poet and who writes about having her eyes opened to the injustice of the wider world around her.