From the September 2017 edition…
History in the making as Scotland prepares to take Our Lady to its heart
Carfin is the venue for ‘an act of prayerful trust’
In a historic first, Archbishop Tartaglia joined by the country’s bishops, will consecrate Scotland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The consecration at the Marian shrine of Carfin, is the first such event to take place on Scottish soil, and comes just a month before Pope Francis carries out a consecration of the world to Our Lady to mark the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions.
Speaking ahead of the solemn act of entrustment of Scotland, Archbishop Tartaglia said: “Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is an act of prayerful trust in the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Because we are marking the Centenary of the Fatima Apparitions, the bishops thought it was appropriate to enact this consecration, for which lay groups have regularly petitioned.
“The Fatima message brings home to us the prospect that there will always be events in history which will challenge our faith and which will threaten the Church and the religion of Jesus Christ, whether these are events coming from outside the Church or even from self-inflicted wounds from inside the Church. The message of Fatima calls us all again to trust in God and to hope in his promises, and to work for peace and reconciliation and justice in the world through the prayers and intercession of Our Lady.
“Fatima reminds us that the best protection against suffering, sin and death is our faithful response to the call to holiness which Jesus Christ held out to us in his life and teaching, and especially in his death and resurrection.
“We do not know what the future holds for the Church, but the message of Fatima is yet another endorsement of the message of Christ himself that the gates of hell will not prevail against the grace of God and against his Church in the carrying out of her authentic mission as the universal sacrament of salvation.”
Across the world similar events have taken place this year. In February, Cardinal Nichols solemnly crowned the statue of Our Lady of Fatima in Westminster Cathedral, London, and he re-consecrated England and Wales to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The original Consecration of England was performed by Cardinal Griffin in 1948.
Ireland had a similar national Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary last month at the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock.
All of these national acts of Consecration will culminate in an act of Consecration of the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, performed by the Holy Father, Francis, in St Peter’s Square, Rome, on 13th October, centenary of the final reported appearance of the Blessed Virgin at the Cova da Iria in Fatima.
The statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be brought specially from the Capelhina at Fatima, arriving in Rome on 12th October.
Oscar Romero: our shining example and constant inspiration
The Director of SCIAF reflects on the amazing life of Blessed Oscar Romero which has inspired much of the charity’s international aid work
Blessed Oscar Romero walked closely with the poor, he was a beacon of truth and justice in the face of brutality.
The Salvadoran Archbishop is a shining example of someone driven by prayer and deep contemplation of the suffering of his people to fight poverty and injustice in this world, to the point that he was murdered by agents of the State of El Salvador. Declaring him a martyr, Pope Francis said Archbishop Oscar Romero “constructed peace with the force of love.”
Monseñor Romero has been a huge inspiration for our work at SCIAF and for the global Caritas family for many years. He is part of our history and motivates us to continue to walk with, hear, and care for the poor, and fight for justice.
His very poignant words, “Aspire not to have more, but to be more,” remind us of the importance of how we live our lives – what we do to help others, how we treat others, how we behave, and what we value. He is a wonderful example to us all. It was for all those reasons that SCIAF officially adopted this great martyr as our new patron in August.
I have just returned from El Salvador where I witnessed huge celebration and remembrance marking the centenary of his birth. I visited Archbishop Romero’s tomb in the crypt of the Metropolitan Cathedral in San Salvador where I spent time reflecting on how much his witness and that of the Church in Latin America has influenced my own life and our work at SCIAF.
In many ways, Monseñor Romero was an unexpected champion of the poor and social justice. When he was made a bishop, he was seen as a safe pair of hands, a devout and industrious conservative who was close to the regime and powerful families, and wouldn’t rock the boat.
And yet, in his work as Bishop of Santiago de Maria, he grew closer and closer to the poor, and saw the atrocities that they were suffering under the regime. In his introduction to Oscar Romero: Memories in Mosaic, Jon Sobrino SJ wrote: “Monseñor Romero grew to love the poor. He didn’t just help them, he defended them. To do that he vehemently denounced their oppressors: the economic elite, the armed forces, governments, political parties, the justice system… Like Amos, Isiah and Jeremiah, he became the people’s great prophet.”
His conversion to speak out began at the age of 60, when his close friend, Fr Rutilio Grande SJ, was shot. He allowed the experience of the poor to permeate his very being and to drive him to defend his people who were being tortured and killed. Through his sermons, broadcast on the radio, Oscar Romero became a beacon of truth and justice, who continually confronted the authorities with the unacceptability of the horrors they were perpetrating.
Sobrino continues: “Monseñor Romero cannot be separated from his people. He gave everything to his people, even his very being. And the Salvadoran people, with the best of their faith, hope and love, made him what he was. ‘The people are my prophet,’ he used to say. His identification with the people was total and complete in his death. It gives us chill, even today, to hear the words with which he expressed this identification: ‘Brothers and sisters, I’m glad that the Church is being persecuted. In a country where so many horrendous murders are occurring, it would be very sad to think there were no priests among the victims. Their deaths are a symbol that the Church has incarnated itself among the poor.’ This prophetic statement was fulfilled in his own death.”
Archbishop Romero was shot by agents of the military regime on 24th March 1980 while he was celebrating Mass in the chapel at the hospital where he lived. He is now a martyr of the Church and is expected to be canonised.
May we live Oscar Romero’s invitation that we: “Aspire not to have more but to be more.”
I hope you find as much inspiration in Oscar Romero’s life and example as I, and many in SCIAF and the social justice ministry of the Church worldwide, do.