Carmelites contribute to Shrine of Saint Oscar Romero

Sunday, 24 March 2019

The British Province of Carmelites has contributed to the new shrine of Saint Oscar Romero at St. George's Cathedral in Southwark, London, by sharing the cost of gates that allow pilgrims to enter the sacred space. 

The Carmelite Order has strong spiritual links with Romero, the martyred Archbishop of San Salvador who was shot dead whilst celebrating Mass in a Carmelite chapel in 1980.

Oscar Romero was canonised a saint by Pope Francis last October in recognition of his prophetic voice on behalf of the poor and marginalised of society.

Southwark's Catholic Cathedral established a shrine in honour of Oscar Romero in 2013 when a four-metre high Salvadorean Cross was installed in a side chapel. The cross was painted by Fernando Llort, the world-renowned artist who created the naïve art style which has come to represent the beauty of El Salvador. Set inside the cross are relics of the saint: a fragment of Archbishop Romero's bloodstained alb, and his zucchetto (bishop's skull cap).


The Chair of the Archbishop Romero Trust, Mr. Julian Filochowski, looks on as Archbishop Peter Smith blesses the gates of Saint Oscar's shrine in Southwark Cathedral.


The new gates (left) lead pilgrims to Saint Oscar's relics inside the Salvadorean Cross (right).


Now that Oscar Romero has been declared a saint, the Archbishop of Southwark - Most Reverend Peter Smith - has formally designated the side chapel a shrine for pilgrimages, in accordance with Canon Law.

To create a greater sense of sacred space around the shrine, the cathedral and the Archbishop Romero Trust commissioned a set of metal gates, the cost of which has been shared by the British Province of Carmelites and the Sisters of the Assumption.


Archbishop Peter blessing the new gates with holy water.


On 23rd March, the day before Saint Oscar's feast day, Archbishop Peter celebrated Mass and blessed the new Diocesan Romero Shrine.

The Mass was attended by Lay Carmelites, as well as the Prior Provincial of the British Province of Carmelites, Very Rev. Fr. Kevin Alban, O.Carm., who proclaimed the Gospel.


Fr. Kevin proclaiming the Gospel during the Mass in Southwark Catholic Cathedral.


Among the congregation at the Mass was El Salvador's Ambassador to the United Kingdom.


Catholic clergy and an ecumenical guest at the Mass of dedication.


The following day a shrine of Saint Oscar holding a relic of Romero’s bloodstained alb was also blessed at Sacred Heart Church in Edinburgh by Archbishop Leo Cushley.

Photography: Archdiocese of Southwark