REMEMBRANCE REFLECTION: Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh used his Thought for the Day address on Radio BBC Scotland, 10 November, to reflect upon peace and war ahead of Remembrance Weekend and to hold up Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917-80) as a model of how to pursue peace.

“So, as we pause tomorrow –- and then again on Sunday morning –- to remember all those who have fallen in war, let’s note the lesson of Oscar Romero: That the path to true peace in our world doesn’t begin in the conference hall or over the negotiating table, but in every human heart,” said the Archbishop to the listeners of the Good Morning Scotland programme.

The Archbishop’s address in full is reproduced below:

“Good morning Hayley. Tomorrow morning, 11 o’clock marks the 99th anniversary of the guns falling silent on the Western Front. The “war to end all wars” claimed an estimated 18 million lives, military and civilian. At the going down of the sun and in the morning: We will remember them.

The saintly Pope Benedict XV viewed the four years of conflict as “the suicide of civilized Europe”, and prophetically warned upon the Armistice that “There can be no stable peace unless there is a return of mutual charity”.

For while peace “is the sweetest word to our hearing”, as St Augustine tells us, it so often proves to be elusive. Why is this? Well, perhaps because pursuing peace is actually quite hard. Pursuing peace is dangerous. In fact, in certain circumstances, pursuing peace is deadly.

That’s certainly the lesson of the life, death and legacy of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the El Salvadorian prelate who was assassinated in 1980 for his pursuit of peace and defence of the poor. I was privileged to be at the Scottish Parliament this week as Holyrood celebrated the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Archbishop Romero was steadfast in his pursuit of reconciliation and fearless in his denunciation of injustice.

Even when his dear friend, Father Rutilio Grande, was assassinated in 1977, Romero could not, would not, be provoked into hatred, bitterness or revenge. As he declared to the killers in a live radio broadcast:

“We want to tell you, murderous brothers, that we love you and that we ask of God repentance for your hearts, because the Church is not able to hate.”

So, as we pause tomorrow –- and then again on Sunday morning –- to remember all those who have fallen in war, let’s note the lesson of Oscar Romero: That the path to true peace in our world doesn’t begin in the conference hall or over the negotiating table, but in every human heart.”
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ROMERO REMEMBERED: The Scottish Parliament marked the centenary of the birth of Blessed Oscar Romero with a visit from the US Catholic Church’s top social justice official on Tuesday, 7 November.

Dr Jonathan Reyes, Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, delivered Holyrood’s Time for Reflection followed by an evening lecture to parliamentarians and other invited guests. Dr Reyes is visiting Scotland as a guest of Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh.

"May the God of Peace help each of us to emulate the qualities for which Romero is rightly honoured: an authentic solidarity with those we serve, a generous, personal concern for those most in need, and unflinching courage in speaking and acting for justice and the genuine welfare of all," said Dr Reyes to Hoyrood's parliamentarians.

The visit of Dr Reyes to the Scottish Parliament had cross-party backing and was sponsored by the SNP’s Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Scottish Labour’s Elaine Smith MSP, Donald Cameron MSP of the Scottish Conservatives and Mike Rumbles MSP of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador was born on 15 August 1917. Ordained to the priesthood in 1942, he soon proved to be was a popular cleric who responded with compassion and bravery to the plight of El Salvador’s poorest. This courageous witness ultimately resulted in his assassination on 24 March 1980 as he was celebrating Holy Mass. In 2015, Archbishop Romero was declared a martyr for the Catholic faith by Pope Francis and was, subsequently, beatified.

In a series of events during his visit to the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh, Dr Reyes is also addressing school pupils, university students and the clergy of the Archdiocese. The text of his Time for Reflection is reproduced below:

"Presiding Officer, Members of the Scottish Parliament: Thank you for allowing to me to be with you this afternoon.

The department that I manage for the Catholic Bishops of the United States is committed to what Pope Francis has called “Integral Human Development”. The Catholic Church recognises that faith in God has consequences in all areas of life, including a profound commitment to help serve the development and flourishing of every person.

I am in Scotland this week to give a series of lectures on one shining example of this kind of integral human concern: Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador from 1977-1980.

For much of the last century, the country of El Salvador, an impoverished and majority Catholic country, was politically turbulent, caught between two warring parties: a ruling militaristic government dominated by a few wealthy families, and Marxist revolutionary forces.

As is always true in cases of political violence, it is the people of the country who suffer the most. Romero’s enduring concern was the welfare, spiritual and material, of these suffering people.

Born into a family of modest means, his service was marked by a consistent interest and care for the people in his charge. He made the effort to truly know them, to understand their concerns by personally visiting with them. He stood in authentic solidarity with them.

Archbishop Romero was a man of peace, who sought to find ways to reconcile warring factions. But as the situation worsened and he saw that serious injustice was injuring his people, he spoke out. He called for an end to random killings and secret imprisonments, for more justice in governance and for peace between all parties. In so doing, he knew he was risking his life.

In his third year as Archbishop of San Salvador, Archbishop Romero was shot and killed while celebrating the Mass. As he had given his energies during his life to serve his people, so he gave his blood in their defence.

In many ways, our politically turbulent times are not so unlike Archbishop Romero’s. May the God of Peace help each of us to emulate the qualities for which Romero is rightly honoured: an authentic solidarity with those we serve, a generous, personal concern for those most in need, and unflinching courage in speaking and acting for justice and the genuine welfare of all. Thank you."
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ON SALE NOW: Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh is one of several high profile Catholic contributors to a new book, Reclaiming the Piazza II, which draws together “theoretical reflections and practical applications for the New Evangelisation in Catholic Education.”

“To reclaim the cultural “piazza” the Christian message must be attractive, reasonable and relevant,” say the publishers of the book, Gracewing.

“This volume aims to show how Catholic education can contribute to the new evangelisation in the rapidly evolving cultural landscape of the 21st centuty.”

Edited Dr Leonard Franchi and Dr Raymond McCluskey of Glasgow University along with Cav. Ronnie Convery of the Archdiocese of Glasgow, Reclaiming the Piazza II also contains contributions from Bishop John Keenan of Paisley, Professor Francis Campbell of St Mary’s University, Twickenham, and Professor Tracey Rowland of the John Paul II Institute, Melbourne, Australia. The foreward is by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation.

• For more information or to buy a copy go to:
www.gracewing.co.uk/page515.html
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ANNUAL REMEMBRANCE MASS: St Thomas of Aquin's High in Edinburgh would like to invite all members of the school community, past and present, to come and pray for the souls of the faithful departed who are connected in any way to the school at this year's Annual Mass of Remembrance. The Mass will take place Monday 6 November at 7pm in the School Oratory. There will be refreshments afterwards in the Chaplaincy Room. All very welcome. ... See MoreSee Less

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MONTH OF THE HOLY SOULS: Tomorrow is All Souls' Day, a beautiful commemoration in which we have a particular opportunity to pray for our loved ones who have died. May they rest in peace.

November is traditionally the month of the Holy Souls, so perhaps you might consider having Holy Mass offered for a loved one during this month? To find out how to do so, speak to a priest in your local parish. He'll be more than happy to assist.

“As we enter Heaven we will see them, so many of them coming towards us and thanking us. We will ask, who they are, and they will say a poor soul you prayed for in Purgatory,” Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979)
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