The feast day of Bl. Oscar Romero is celebrated on March 24.
Oscar Romero was born on August 15, 1917 in Ciudad, Barrios. He had six brothers and sisters. At the age of 13 he entered a seminary run by Claretians. He studied under the Jesuits in the national seminary and finished his studies in Rome in the Gregorian University. He was ordained on April 4, 1931 remaining in Rome to further his studies.
His first parish when he returned home was in Anamoras. He then worked for twenty years in San Miguel. In 1970 he was appointed auxiliary bishop; becoming archbishop in 1977. Because of his conservative beliefs his appointment was opposed by some. On March 12 a progressive Jesuit priest and friend to Oscar Romero was assassinated. Romero urged an investigation but was ignored.
Bishop Romero spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture which was taking place in his country. In 1979 the government was taken over by a radical group which resulted in civil war. Over 75,000 El Salvadorians were murdered. Bishop Romero was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Bishop Romero said it was a problem to support the government in El Salvador because it legitimized the terror and assassinations. Bishop Romero warned U.S. President Jimmy Carter in Feb. 1978 that increased military aid would “sharpen the injustice and the repression inflicted on the organized people, whose struggle has often been for their most basic human rights.” President Carter ignored Bishop Romero’s warning.
Archbishop Romero denounced the persecution of the Church. There had been over six priests martyred in three years while he was bishop.
On March 13, 1980, Archbishop Romero was shot to death while celebrating mass in the chapel near his cathedral. The day before the assassination, he had called for soldiers to obey God and to stop carrying out government repression and violations of human rights. It is believed the assassination was carried out by members of Salvadorian death squads.
Over 250,000 mourners attended his funeral. During the funeral a bomb exploded resulting in mass panic. Between 30-50 people died during the following chaos.
Pope Francis has recognized the martyrdom of Archbishop Romero, paving the way for his beatification which was held on May 23, 2015.
Beautiful is the moment in which we understand that we are no more than an instrument of God; we live only as long as God wants us to live; we can only do as much as God makes us able to do; we are only as intelligent as God would have us be.
Quote of Oscar Romero, Servant of God
March is the Month of St. Joseph