Cardinal Wuerl on the Dedication of Monseñor Romero Building in Washington’s Mount Pleasant Neighborhood
March 21, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington attended the dedication of a housing complex in Washington’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood. The ceremony was hosted by Washington mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of Latino Affairs.
In 2008, the apartment building occupied by low-income residents was engulfed in a five-alarm fire, displacing 63 families, many of whom are Latino. Over the last several years, the building was reconstructed and tenants were able to move back in last year. The building was named the Monseñor Romero Building, after the archbishop of San Salvador who spoke out against poverty and social injustice in El Salvador and was shot and killed as he celebrated Mass in 1980. Last month, Pope Francis recognized Archbishop Romero as a martyr and his beatification, the last step before sainthood, is set for this May.
In his opening prayer at the ceremony, Cardinal Wuerl asked for God’s blessing on those responsible for the reconstruction of the building as well as the benefactors and supporters of the project, and the men and women who worked to build it. “In a special way, we ask your blessing on those who will occupy this building. We are a people who come together out of multiple backgrounds, ethnic, racial and religious, cultural and social, with varying interests, occupations and manners of living. We ask that you continue to bless our community as we seek always to respect one another,” said the cardinal.
“Finally, gracious Lord, we ask that you let the brightness, gentleness and mercy of your countenance shine upon this wonderful city and all of us who see here our home, the dwelling place of our children and, therefore, our future, and the place where our aspirations and dreams can be realized,” said the cardinal.
Attending the dedication today was Archbishop Romero’s brother, Gaspar Romero. At the conclusion of the dedication ceremony, the cardinal and Mayor Bowser unveiled a sculpted bust of Archbishop Romero which will be displayed in the residential building.
The cardinal reflected on the significance of the building named for Archbishop Romero. “The more he encountered the poverty that was a part of his nation’s capital the more he spoke out in defense of the poor, the marginalized and those who were victimized by government, both local and national. The more he spoke up for the dignity of the poor, the rights of workers and the need to protect all human life from conception to natural death, the more government and political forces turned against him. He found it appalling that in his nation’s capital there should be alongside the wealth, the power and the prestige of some, the grinding poverty and despair of others. He had used his moral authority to speak out on behalf of those who could not do so for themselves. He soon came to be known as the ‘voice of the voiceless.’ Wealth and power should be used to alleviate the suffering, poverty and despair of less fortunate sisters and brothers. The Monseñor Romero Building should be a constant reminder that that love is stronger than violence, that God’s way is a better way, that we truly are brothers and sisters of the same loving God and that all of us have an obligation to do what we can to help one another. We should be reminded that there is always a better way to build a better world,” said the cardinal.
The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.