On Saturday 23 September, the Centenary of the birth of Blessed Oscar Romero was commemorated at Westminster Abbey in Evensong. Alongside CAFOD, the event was co-sponsored by Archbishop Romero Trust, Churches Together in England, and Christian Aid. Sidney Magdaong, a CAFOD intern, recaps the account of CAFOD volunteer Brendan Gately, who received a certificate during the event in honour of his volunteering.
As a representation of Blessed Oscar Romero’s work today, CAFOD volunteers strive towards the justice that Romero set forth for the community, particularly in El Salvador, which is the focus for this year’s Harvest Fast Day. During the Centenary of Oscar Romero’s birth on 23 September, Brendan Gately, a dedicated CAFOD volunteer, received a certificate for his volunteering and involvement over several years of campaigning and fundraising for CAFOD.
Brendan Gately receiving his volunteering certificate from Megan Knowles, a CAFOD trustee.
Brendan began volunteering for CAFOD in 1998 when he and his church helped organize their own Jubilee campaign, which raised £4,000 towards the campaign. Since then, he has become a strong supporter for CAFOD by voicing his support of Oscar Romero through fundraising and campaign work. “It’s wonderful to see CAFOD as support for Romero,” said Brendan. “[With] financing the radio station [in El Salvador], which was destroyed by the military, it was replaced using CAFOD funds.”
Brendan says that he has not had a specific role, but rather has been involved in widespread activities for CAFOD. “CAFOD is one element, but an important element. It is [also] important that we are getting involved with the dialogue,” said Brendan. Like Romero, Brendan is another example of voicing his support against not one, but many injustices in the world, through which CAFOD is striving to appease.
Blessed Oscar Romero remains today a continuous inspiration and foundation for the ideals and goals of CAFOD. The Centenary of his birth acts as a reminder to all our volunteers and partners of the works of justice that Romero spent his life working towards, as well as the rewards that are reaped with a single voice; Brendan’s contribution to CAFOD is no exception. As Brendan concluded, “[CAFOD] is something I really enjoy. I feel like you get more out of it than what you put in.”