Oscar Romero was the Archbishop of San Salvador from 1977 until he was assassinated while celebrating Mass in March 1980.
He was initially regarded as a conservative choice as archbishop; however, he became increasingly outspoken about human rights violations in El Salvador – particularly after the murder of his close friend Fr Rutilio Grande in March 1977.
During his three years as archbishop, Romero repeatedly denounced violence and spoke out on behalf of the victims of the civil war.
In times of heavy press censorship, his weekly radio broadcasts were often the only way people could find out the truth about the atrocities that were happening in their country.
He defended the right of the poor to demand political change, making him a troublesome adversary for those in Government.
He was under constant threat of death. Still, he would not be silenced or go into hiding or exile.
He explained, “At the first sight of danger, the shepherd cannot run and leave the sheep to fend for themselves. I will stay with my people.”
Today’s Gospel (Matthew 10: 26 – 33) says, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.”
Oscar Romero, the man, priest, and archbishop are physically dead.
Oscar Romero proclaims the Gospel message as loudly today as he did from the lectern of Catedral Metropolitana de San Salvador)