On this blog is a copy of the “Romero Prayer” (left). People that know me, know that part of that prayer is my mantra: “We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.” It could well be the mantra for anyone working in the Third World, where many times it seems hopeless. If one reads that prayer frequently and meditates on it, then we can focus on the something we can do, and we can indeed try to do it to the best of our ability. That is all that God asks of us.
I would like to clarify some things about the prayer. I was given a copy of it at a retreat given by Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop of Green Bay, Wisconsin. In fact, it was given to us on a retreat at beautiful Chambers Island in 2000, and it was at this retreat that we decided that we would be able to return to Zimbabwe for long term work, which eventually ended up being nearly eight years. In any event, the prayer was listed as “A prayer that Romero used at a retreat for priests, shortly before he was martyred in 1980.” It has become know as “The Romero Prayer” even though he never actually claimed to have written it. In fact, it was written by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, Michigan, and was drafted for a homily by Cardinal John Dearden in Nov. 1979 for a celebration of departed priests. It is appropriate that we give credit to Bishop Untener for being the author, and for Archbishop Romero for his martyrdom and example of how we should live our lives.
Maybe we could head this prayer in this manner: “The Romero Prayer”, popularized by Archbishop Romero but written by Bishop Ken Untener in 1979.