Blessed Oscar Romero
Oscar Romero y Galdámez was born on 15thAugust 1917 to Santos Romero and Guadalupe de Jesús Galdámeza. He was ordained a priest in 1942, having been delayed a year for his as he was a year below the required age of 25. He was appointed as the fourth Archbishop of San Salvador in 1977 by Blessed Paul VI.
Throughout his ministry he spoke passionately against the injustice, corruption, poverty, torture in his country and against assassination. He was greatly affected by the assassination of a close priest friend who worked extensively with the poor, only weeks after his installation as Archbishop. In 1979, the Revolutionary Government Junta came to power, and with it a notable increase in human rights abuses and mark the start of the Salvadoran Civil War.
Romero once said to Pope St. John Paul II that it was ‘difficult to support the government in Salvador because it legitimized terror and assassinations’ and he often used his radio broadcasts to list the names of those that had disappeared or been either tortured or murdered.
Whilst his outspoken behaviour and actions won much admiration across the world, he also gained many enemies in the political leadership. On 23rdMarch 1980, he preached a sermon in which he called on Salvadoran soldiers, as Christians, to ‘obey God’s higher order and to stop carrying out the government’s repression and violations of basic human rights’.
He was assassinated the next day as he celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Divine Providence cancer hospital in San Salvador. The gunman has never been identified, but the State acknowledged their responsibility in his murder.
Archbishop Romero’s funeral took place on 30thMarch 1980 with over 250,000 mourners present from all over the world. His body is buried in the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Salvador.
To read more about the life and teachings of Archbishop Oscar Romero visit http://www.romerotrust.org.uk
As we celebrate the canonisation of these two Servants of God, we seek their intercession on a world that still changes at an ever increasing rate, and with continued turmoil in places.