The Archbishop Romero Trust (ART) was granted the first Amigo de El Salvador award on Friday, November 11, at a reception in London hosted by the Ambassador of El Salvador, Werner Matias Romero.
The Brazilian, Chilean and Argentinian ambassadors were among the diplomats who attended the celebration which also marked the bicentenary of the “First Cry of Independence in Central America”. The new award will be bestowed on foreign nationals that have contributed to the wellbeing of Salvadoreans abroad and in their country.
Presenting the gold medallion to Julian Filochowski, ART chairman, Hugo Martinez, El Salvador’s minister for foreign affairs, said the award was being made in recognition of the Trust’s continuous efforts to raise awareness and celebrate the life and legacy of Archbishop Romero.
Clare Dixon, Cafod’s programme manager for Latin America praised President Mauricio Funes of El Salvador’s efforts at reconciliation. She recalled that during the unveiling of a mural depicting Archbishop Romero, he apologised for the complicity of the state in the killing of the archbishop, the cover-up and lack of justice.
President Funes was elected in March 2009. He studied and worked at the Jesuit-run University of Central America, which encompasses the Archbishop Romero Pastoral Centre and the Human Rights Institute. On the day of the elections he chose to have breakfast with the Poor Clare Sisters, and has promised to follow the example of Archbishop Romero in his care for the poor.