Remembering Romero and the Liverpool prophets he inspired

By Steve Atherton

I’m glad to be back and would like to thank everyone who has been praying for me. I’m especially grateful to all those who have kept our important work going while I’ve been in the care of the NHS, especially Stephen Cooke and the J&P Commission. As for the NHS, the care was so good that I feel as though I’ve had an experience of the Kingdom of God.

While I was out of action the Commission ran a series of events to help parishes welcome asylum seekers and refugees, as well as taking part in the Synod and organising the Annual Assembly on the subject of the environment. The Assembly used the ‘See-Judge-Act’ method whereby first you establish facts, then you apply faith to ask yourself what needs to be done, and finally you work out what it is possible to do. The day was excellent. It was filmed and you can watch clips on the J&P YouTube channel at:

Our next event is on Wednesday 25 September, starting at 6.30 for 6.45pm at the Cornerstone Theatre, Hope University (Everton campus), and is titled ‘Prophetic Trajectories of Hope from San Salvador to Liverpool: A celebration of the ministries of Óscar Romero, Austin Smith, Kevin Kelly & Tom Cullinan’.

The presentation will be given by David McLoughlin from Newman University, Birmingham. David is a great speaker and, if you can, I recommend that you join us as he is erudite, entertaining and inspirational. Part of his brief is to point out the links between St Óscar Romero and three of our recently deceased local priests whom we recognise as prophetic voices with a lot to say to us in our current situation during the synodal process of discerning what sort of Church we are called to be. The personal conversion of all four of these ‘prophets’ didn’t stop at the personal. It led them to effect changes in society.

  • Father Austin Smith CP initiated the Inner-City Mission which put the Church at the service of the local community, especially the poorest and most marginalised.
  • Father Kevin Kelly, whose first anniversary it is on the 25th, was a national authority on moral theology who placed the person at the centre of decision-making.
  • Father Tom Cullinan demonstrated simple living, the interconnectedness of all creation and the importance of a daily routine of prayer. He was the mentor of many, including David McLoughlin.

St Óscar Romero and our three Liverpool prophets each took the Gospel seriously and lived it out in their lives. They are inspirations to us and this event will help us to learn from them how to be more faithful as followers of Jesus.

The event will be preceded by a Memorial Mass at nearby SFX Church at 5.45pm celebrated by Bishop John Rawsthorne. Afterwards there will be drinks to toast the Merseyside prophets! This is a free event but donations will be welcomed towards costs. To confirm attendance, contact the J&P office on 0151 522 1080/81 or SFX Church on 0151 298 1911. The address of Hope University’s Creative Campus is Shaw Street, Liverpool, L6 1HP.