June 28, 2016  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  1 comment

The life of Blessed Oscar Romero is being remembered nationwide as a ‘Witness to Freedom’ – along with other men and women of faith from all over the world – during the Fortnight for Freedom. Declared a martyr by Pope Francis in February 2015 and beatified in May of last year, Bl. Oscar Romero advocated for Christian love, reminding the people that they were loved by God and that fighting back with Christian charity was the way to victory during the 12-year long civil war in El Salvador.

Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period organized by the USCCB, leading up to Independence Day, when dioceses nationwide highlight the importance of defending religious freedom and liberties, and raise awareness of religious persecution all over the world.

On Friday, July 1, Archbishop José H. Gomez will welcome the relics of Bl. Oscar Romero and Saints Thomas More and John Fisher, two 16th-century martyrs who exemplified courage and conviction in the face of persecution, to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels during a special Mass at 12:10 p.m., followed by a presentation from the curator from 12:50 p.m. to 2 p.m.

The two relics of Blessed Romero include a handkerchief with his blood from the day that he was assassinated on March 24, 1980, while celebrating Mass in the chapel of the Hospital of Divine Providence in San Salvador; and a microphone that he used to celebrate Mass every Sunday at the Metropolitan Cathedral in San Salvador. The relics of Bl. Oscar Romero will be available at the Cathedral for public veneration only on July 1, after the noon Mass until 2 p.m.

The faithful will have the opportunity to veneratethe relics ofthe 16th-century Englishmartyrs,St. Thomas More (a small bone of the finger or toe) and St. John Fisher (a ring worn by the saint), after the Masson Fridayuntil 2 p.m. On Saturday, July 2, the relics of the English martyrs will be on display for veneration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in one of Cathedral’s chapels. Then, they will be transported to Washington D.C.for the tours’ closing Mass before returning to their home at Stonyhurst College in England.

St. Thomas More was Lord Chancellor in England in the early 1500s. He resigned his post and refused to approve King Henry VIII’s divorce and remarriage, break from the Pope, and establishment of his own church, the Church of England. More was beheaded on Tower Hill in London for his faith.

St. John Fisher was a Bishop in England during the time of King Henry VIII and was initially asked to look at the validity of the King’s marriage to Queen Catherine. He upheld the validity of the marriage and refused to give into the King’s demand for divorce or recognize the King’s new church. He was executed two weeks before St. Thomas More.

The “Witnesses to Freedom” also include St. John the Baptist, Sts. Peter and Paul, Blessed Miguel Pro, St. Maximiliano Kolbe, St. Edith Stein, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Sts. Felicity and Perpetua, Fr. John Bapst, SJ, the Martyrs of Compiegne, Ven. Henriette Delille, the Coptic Martyrs, and the Little Sisters of the Poor.

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