A request from Father Tom

St. Mary Community:

We have noted in the bulletin the need for volunteers to assist a
wheelchair bound young woman with various household tasks that she
needs help with. This may also include occasional transporting to
medical appointments. We have had little response from the bulletin.
We are hoping a crew of volunteers would be available to assist Dolores
in helping this woman. Please respond if you can help. Call
Dolores 352-3964.


Father Tom Royer

Our letter to the family of Rufina Amaya

To the family of Rufina Amaya
Secundo Montes, Morazan Dept, El Salvador

Dearest Friends,

We have received the news that Rufina has died with a sense of losing a very special friend. But we know that God has taken his beloved daughter to be home with Him. She was a witness to the martyrs of El Mozote and she kept alive their memory by her painful testimony over and over again on the sacred ground where their lives were tragically taken from them.

We thank God for the gift of her life. We thank God in a special way for her ministry on behalf of the crucified ones of El Salvador. We hold sacred her memory.

In a small way we were privileged to be a part of her story. In a very significant way, she brought us to a deeper understanding of the sufferings of the crucified ones. Our delegations were blest to experience her gracious company and her friendship.

Now she is at home with her family and friends who have gone home to God. She has been welcomed by the blessed ones of El Mozote and all the Salvadoran martyrs. Now we pray to Rufina, Archbishop Oscar Romero and their companions to speak on our behalf to the Father.

At our Saturday/Sunday Masses we have mentioned all of them in the Eucharistic prayers that remember the martyrs of the faith. We have prayed for Rufina’s family who are saddened at her absence. May God heal their grieving hearts. Please pray for us.


Father Tom Royer
and the people of St. Mary Church, Champaign, Illinois

Father Tom's letter to the editor (News-Gazette) in response to "Unofficial"

In my opinion:

March 17th is observed as a holyday in Ireland. It is a day when the Irish go to Mass in honor of their great patron, Saint Patrick. He brought the Christian faith to their ancestors. In Ireland, it is not so much about noisy parades and celebrations that you find in the U.S. It is a time, rather, of holiday and the reunion of family and friends. It is a celebration done with a sense of respect and reverence for the most important person in the history of Ireland.

A note concerning the following two pages about St. Patrick and the Irish people.

This is my response to those who so scornfully portray the Irish as drunkards and St. Patrick as the patron saint of those who make a public display of such sick behavior.

"Getting wasted," does not honor Patrick, a man of great holiness. Nor does it honor the Irish people, who, in spite of centuries of oppression, have kept the faith, that precious gift Patrick gave to them.

My mother came from Ireland at the age of twenty and my dad's mother came from Ireland to escape poverty and famine. I am Irish and very proud of it.

Epiphany 2007

Each year starts with the story of the journey of three wise men in search of the Savior. My year began again with a journey to El Salvador (the Savior) to visit our friends in the live mountain settlements. It is always a journey of epiphanies and encounters With wise men and women.

[G2:2941 class=g2image_float_left] Let me tell you of Samuél Guzman, one of our special friends, who has been loved and respected by our delegations. For several years, he had been assigned by CEBES as our guide through the five settlements. He was a strong leader, a good companion and a wonderful storyteller.

Samuél had been a young catechist in the early 1980s when the war came to these mountains. When his father, a community leader, was taken and killed by the death squads, Samuél joined the FMLN, the people's army, that resisted the military forces at war with the Salvadoran people. He became a leader with the compas (short for compañeros) in the very area where our settlements are located. As a result, he knows every footpath the compas used and every ravine where they lived during the ten years they defended their people.

Christmas 2006

I seem to lose my glasses now and then, forgetting where I had just put them down. There are certain memories, however, that I can never forget. One of them is the story of Christmas.

My earliest memories are of the old Christmas crib at home. It had endured many Christmases in a house full of children who would playfully rearrange the small figures in imagining the story unfold before them. As a result of much handling, the donkey was missing a front leg, so that we had to lean him against the stable door. A donkey lying on its side does not figure in anyone's imagined story of the events of Bethlehem.

How can we ever forget a God who approaches us with the surprising humility of an infant. He is poor to meet us in our poverty. In every way He shares our burdens.

This year's story of Emmanuel (God with us) is repeated again with the hope that we will not overlook Him. It is always a tale of the divine presence in the midst of the poor and the humble - in surprising ways and in out-of-way places.

It is a small thing to miss one's glasses. It is truly troubling to lose the vision that Christmas brings.

[G2:2937 class=g2image_float_left]

In the footsteps of Mary of Nazareth,
  young Maria Of Calavera
  goes about her chores,
  the weight of her labors bends her neck,
  poverty clings to her skirt.
She waits for our strange caravan to pass,
  we bent with other burdens,
  in a poverty all our own.
She bears the One we seek,
  born in every age,
  the campesino God of the poor,
  El Salvador.


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