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Salvadorean Bishop pays a visit to his brethren in Brisbane

A group of around 40 people welcomed Monsenor Gregorio Rosa Chavez, the Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador, to Brisbane last Wednesday.

Monsenor Rosa Chavez’s (The established Latin American custom is to use the title ‘Monsenor’ rather than ‘Obispo’ or Bishop) visit to the local Salvadorean Community was timely given National Refugee and Migrant Sunday will be celebrated in parishes around Australia on August 31st.

Whilst glad to see the local Salvadorean community had found the Archdiocese of Brisbane a welcoming church, Monsenor Rosa Chavez urged them to remember their roots.

“Do not forget who we are and where we’ve come from,” Monsenor Rosa Chavez said.

“We are a people with a tremendous sense of family.

“There is a bonding in the family, a sense of solidarity, plus a great love of work and tremendous sense of fiesta.

“Do not forget the values that are part of our identity, especially spiritual values,” he said.

Brisbane’s Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care provided an excellent informal setting for Monsenor Rosa Chavez, who spoke for over an hour and then engaged in a question and answer session with the local Salvadorean community.

He recounted some of the history of the Church in El Salvador before and after the assassination of Archbishop Romero.

“A few days after he became Archbishop he wrote a pastoral letter seeking to clarify his vision of the Church,” Monsenor Rosa Chavez said.

“That letter drew heavily from the Medellin documents, and outlined his hopes for a full missionary, pastoral church.

“This was to be a church free of any temporary power, fully committed to liberation and for all men, a wholesome congregation.

“This church was an inspiration in any part of world, not just Latin America” Monsenor Rosa Chavez said.

The Bishop’s visit to Brisbane was the second last leg of a trip that had taken in visits to other Salvadorean communities in Sydney and Melbourne. He was still to visit Adelaide.

During a recent interview with SBS radio, a journalist had questioned him about the things in which the Church contradicted reality.

“I often find this question put to me in first world countries,” Monsenor Rosa Chavez said.

“Very easily we seem to convert into a church of ‘no’ and we make the news because we are involved in a standoff – of saying no to abortion, no to homosexuality and no to gay marriages.

“We come off negatively because we don’t appear to be a church that says yes to human life, yes to the person, yes to justice.

“Jesus Christ was not a person of ‘no’ but ‘yes’ and always spoke about salvation.

“The big question is how we can make Jesus Christ of this day, this here and now.

“Curiously enough it is easier to be a church that says ‘yes’ in the midst of persecution – that is the experience of our church and the legacy of Archbishop Romero,” he said.

Released by the Catholic Communications Office

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