In July 2017, to mark the centenary, St John Fisher Catholic College, Newcastle under Lyme, collapsed their regular timetable to focus on the life and legacy of the inspirational Blessed Oscar Romero.
Oscar Romero was the Archbishop of El Salvador in the 1970s during a time of great social injustice and civil unrest. His outspoken opposition to human rights abuses and violent attacks led Romero down a dangerous path. Advocating Christ’s Gospel and strengthened by a life of prayer, Romero refused to back down in the face of vicious intimidation. He was assassinated whilst celebrating mass in March 1980.
As part of their special Romero day, St John Fisher College invited Missio in to facilitate a series of workshops. Deputy Head, Mrs Jen Rogers, explained why: ‘We wanted to have a connection with a charity that had had close links with Romero so that our students could develop a wider understanding of who Romero was and the challenges he came up against.’
Romero was the National Director of Missio in El Salvador, so in addition to focusing on the Archbishop’s work in El Salvador, Missio’s workshops emphasise our call to be missionaries of God’s love at all times and in all places.
During the workshop students participated enthusiastically in a biographical re-enactment of Romero’s life. Through fun and thoughtful ways, they learned how personal and political events radically shaped Romero’s beliefs and subsequently his actions.
Attention was paid to many of Romero’s famous messages, most especially, ‘Aspire not to have more, but to be more.’ Students discussed what this means in contemporary society and the impact Romero’s words still have if we followed their challenge.
To conclude their workshops, whole classes worked together to create huge and eye catching banners, illustrating Romero’s life, beliefs and legacy. These banners were then employed to herald the start of a whole school Mass, a faithful conclusion to their Blessed Romero commemorations and their academic year. As the new school year begins, these banners will be used to decorate the school throughout Romero’s centenary – a reminder of the powerful example set by Blessed Oscar Romero.
Missio would like to thank the students at St John Fisher Catholic College, for their wholehearted engagement with their Romero workshops. Students commented favourably on how creative activities had helped them gain better understanding of Blessed Romero, the work of Missio and how we can all be missionaries of God’s love.
If you are interested in hosting a Romero workshop or one of our many other workshops at your school, please contact Claire@missio.org.uk for details. To find out more about the work of Missio and to download our school assemblies visit our website: missio.org.uk