By Malie Hudson
EASTVALE—The Catholic Community of Blessed Oscar Romero in Eastvale celebrated the unveiling of a new statue of their patron on March 18.
A family visiting from El Salvador during the 10:30 am Mass assisted Father Patrick Kirsch, Pastor, in unveiling the statue of Blessed Oscar Romero, a martyr who spent his life advocating for the poor and speaking out against social injustices in El Salvador until his assassination on March 24, 1980. He was beatified on May 23, 2015 by Pope Francis.
On March 7, Blessed Oscar Romero moved a step closer to sainthood when the Vatican announced Pope Francis’ declaration of a miracle attributed to the late prelate’s intercession.
“Blessed Oscar Romero was a great champion for the poor, the suffering and the marginalized,” said Fr. Kirsch. “He reminds us to be an advocate for all people, to support them as our brothers and sisters. He advocated for those who couldn’t speak up for themselves.
“I pray that his mission and vision is our mission and vision. I invite you to learn more about him and pray for his canonization.”
Michael Castro and his wife, Jonni, along with his parents, have been regular parishioners since the parish opened its doors more than two years ago.
“It was a very emotional moment, very appropriate to honor Blessed Oscar Romero today and to be able to understand more about who he was,” Michael said of unveiling the statue and having it blessed. “It’s great to see our church giving him a voice since he had so many critics. We are very proud to be one of the first churches to be named after him.”
The parish began celebrating Masses with just 25 people in 2015 and has since grown significantly to 800 families with nearly each of the five liturgies filled with worshippers every weekend. Masses and religious education classes are held at Dr. Augustine Ramirez Intermediate School on Harrison Avenue in Eastvale every weekend. The school is currently the largest facility in the area that can accommodate the growing number of parishioners at Blessed Oscar Romero while the community raises money to build a permanent worship space on parish property at Selby Avenue and Chandler Street.
Fr. Kirsch said that the parish is one of the first in the United States to be named after Blessed Oscar Romero. “We wanted to use this to share his vision with the Diocese, the country and the world.”
Malie Hudson is a freelance writer based in Riverside.