The Scottish Parliament will mark 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, will deliver Holyrood’s Time for Reflection and an evening lecture entitled “Oscar Romero: A Saintly Path to Social Justice” to a select group of parliamentarians. Dr Reyes is visiting Scotland as a guest of Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh.
“Blessed Oscar Romero is the great saint of social justice and I’m delighted that Dr Reyes has accepted this invitation to come to Scotland in order to share the life, legacy and message of Blessed Oscar with those men and women whom we have elected to Holyrood to help build a more just society for all,” said Archbishop Cushley, 25 August.
Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador was born on 15 August 1917. Ordained to the priesthood in 1942, he soon proved to be 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.
“I would hope Dr Reyes’ visit will introduce our Holyrood parliamentarians to some of the key ideas of Catholic Social Teaching given that Blessed Oscar Romero’s life heroically embodied these principles as a saintly riposte to both unbridled capitalism and state socialism, both of which undermine the dignity of the human person,” said Archbishop Cushley, who also serves as a Patron of the Archbishop Romero Trust.
Dr Jonathan Reyes has occupied his current post with the US Catholic Bishops since 2012. Prior to that he was Director of Social Ministry and President and CEO of Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Denver. There he oversaw an organisation serving 45,000 persons annually, including five homeless shelters, six child care centres and 22 affordable housing projects. Dr Reyes also founded Christ in the City, a national volunteer and formation programme for university students.
“We are very grateful that Dr Reyes has found time in his busy schedule to visit Scotland for what should be a memorable day at the Holyrood Parliament marking the centenary of Blessed Oscar Romero’s birth,” said Anthony Horan, Director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office.
The visit of Dr Reyes to the Scottish Parliament has cross-party backing and is 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.
Catholic Media Office