Rome (Agenzia Fides) - March 24, the day in which Mgr. Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador was assassinated in 1980, was chosen 28 years ago by the then Missionary Youth Movement of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Italy to celebrate annually the "Day of prayer and fasting in memory of the missionary martyrs".
The Archbishop, assassinated while celebrating Mass, was beatified on May 23, 2015 and canonized by Pope Francis on October 14, 2018.
The Bishops’ Conference of El Salvador, on the occasion of the 40 years since his martyrdom, had announced a "Jubilee Year of the Martyrs" (see Fides, 28/1/2020), to celebrate the national martyrs: Fr. Rutilio Grande, Mgr. Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Fr. Cosme Spessotto. However, the coronavirus emergency has forced the Bishops to suspend all celebrations and gatherings, so this Day in 2020 will not see public initiatives.
The slogan of the 2020 Day is "In love and alive" informs Giovanni Rocca, national secretary of Missio Giovani. "A message that holds two meanings within itself. The first, in the qualifying meaning, fully describes those who ardent of love for God the Father and His creatures invested all their time to take care of them. The second is a real imperative, the legacy that the martyrs received from our Lord by transmitting it to us today. Only those who fall in love are willing to abandon the superfluous in order to grasp the essence of life. This promise is not only hope for the future, but above all a guarantee for the present". Then an invitation: "Convinced that each of us is a worker in the vineyard of the Lord, on March 24 we join in prayer and fasting in memory of the sisters and brothers who by giving their lives continue to be 'In love and alive'."
Various aids are available on the Missio Italia website that were prepared to deepen the theme of the day and proposals for concrete initiatives of prayer and solidarity. Following the directives of the Italian government, Missio Giovani has suspended the scheduled events, and offers through its social channels - Facebook and Instagram - contents and moments of confrontation to live this time together. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 23/3/2020)