Remembering Oscar Romero, martyred 40 years ago today

On 24th March 1980, in El Salvador, Archbishop Oscar Romero was murdered while celebrating Mass.

Pope Francis canonized him in 2018.

When Romero was appointed Archbishop in 1977, El Salvador was mired in poverty and corruption. A ruling elite, aided by their death squads, held a tight grip on power.

Three weeks after Romero became Archbishop, a Jesuit priest and friend of Romero’s was murdered.

When the military junta seized power in 1979, Romero began broadcasting weekly radio sermons openly criticizing the regime and its supporters.

He passionately denounced the abductions, torture and murder that was taking place. For this, he became know as “The voice for those without a voice.” This garnered him many enemies.

Moments before his assassination, Romero told those gathered for Mass: “Those who surrender to the service of the poor through the love of Christ, will live like the grain of wheat that dies.”

A gunman fired a single shot through the doorway straight into Romero’s heart.

Footage of Oscar Romero describing his vocation as the Archbishop of a persecuted community can be viewed here