Oscar Romero was considered a safe pair of hands who would not rock the political boat in El Salvador, a country where the poor were oppressed by a wealthy elite who were supported by US aid, and not challenged by the Catholic Church. His conservative approach, espousing charity and unity, opposing radical social action, led to his appointment as Archbishop of San Salvador in 1977.
However, he could not ignore the brutal repression and murder of innocent people in his nation and a second conversion took place after the murder of his friend Fr. Rutilio Grande SJ. Romero became the voice of the voiceless. He used the radio to broadcast his weekly Sunday sermons which demanded social justice and an end to the killings.
On March 23, 1980, after reporting the previous week’s deaths and disappearances, Oscar Romero began to speak directly to soldiers and the police: “I beg you, I implore you, I order you… in the name of God, stop the repression!”
The following evening, while saying Mass in the chapel of Divine Providence Hospital, Archbishop Oscar Romero was shot by a paid assassin.
Name: Óscar Arnulfo Romero Galdámez
1917: born in Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador.
1942: ordainted priest.
1970: Consecrated bishop.
1977: Appointed Archbishop of San Salvador.
1980: Murdered while saying Mass.
2018: canonised by Pope Francis.
Quote from Saint
A church that doesn’t provoke any crises, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed — what gospel is that?”.Oscar Romero
John 15:16-20 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition
16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
18 ‘If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, “Servants are not greater than their master.” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.
Thought for the Day
What injustice, what oppression, what issue in today’s world is Jesus inviting you to speak into?
Unless a grain of wheat shall fall. Bernadette Farrell