June 12, 2015 Faith

Beatification of Óscar Romero

On August 18th, 2014, Pope Francis announced that the Papacy was in the process of beatifying Archbishop Óscar Romero.

Now at last, 35 years after his assassination, Romero has been beatified.

On May 23rd, 2015, Salvadorians held a ceremony in the Plaza Salvador del Mundo to honor the martyred archbishop’s beatification. They paraded the bloodstained shirt which Romero died in and celebrated his many deeds to help the poor and oppressed and his teachings of peace and love.

The ceremony was officiated by Cardinal Angelo Amato, who was sent by Pope Francis. Pope Francis published a letter that same day stating, ““On this day of celebration for the Salvadoran nation, and also for the beautiful Latin American countries, we give thanks to God because he granted a martyr bishop the ability to see and hear the suffering of his people.”

Óscar Romero was the Archbishop of El Salvador from 1977-1980 during the Salvadorian Civil War. Romero became a champion for the poor and oppressed, standing up against the Salvadorian government which was unjustly violating human rights. He spoke against government-sponsored murders and disappearances in El Salvador and pleaded for the government not to sacrifice children for economic and political gain.

“In the name of this suffering people, whose cries to heaven become more deafening each day, I beg you, I beseech you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression,” he said in a speech to government soldiers the day before his death.

Romero received numerous death threats for standing up against the Salvadorian government. When asked if he feared for his life, however, he simply answered, “If they kill me, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people. Let my blood be a seed of freedom and the sign that hope will soon be reality.”

On March 24th, 1980, while celebrating Mass in a hospital chapel, Romero was fatally shot by a member of a right-wing death squad. Over 250,000 mourners attended Romero’s funeral.

Today Óscar Romero remains a symbol of peace and justice. The Romero Institute is honored to be named after this great figure and continues to honor his legacy by fighting against systemic injustice and by helping those who lack the financial resources to secure help from others.