This stained glass window of Archbishop Oscar Romero by Joseph Aigner is at the Newman Centre at the University of Toronto. Register file photo

Oscar Romero, a martyr’s life that is worth rejoicing

  • February 5, 2015

Next month, on March 24, the Church in San Salvador will mark the 35th anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero. Soon the whole Church will celebrate the beatification of Archbishop Romero, for on Feb. 3 Pope Francis approved the decree for his martyrdom. (Martyrs do not require a miracle for beatification, but do require one miracle after beatification for canonization.)

The beatification of the martyred archbishop is magnificent news. During the civil war in El Salvador, Archbishop Romero spoke courageously against human rights abuses by government forces and stood boldly in solidarity with the poor. Many priests suffered persecution by the government. On March 23, 1980, Archbishop Romero called upon the armed forces to ignore the orders of the government to imprison and kill those who spoke out in favour of the poor and of human rights.

The next day, Archbishop Romero offered the Holy Mass in the chapel of a Catholic hospital. In his homily, he preached that “those who surrender to the service of the poor through love of Christ, will live like the grain of wheat that dies. It only apparently dies. If it were not to die, it would remain a solitary grain. The harvest comes because of the grain that dies… We know that every effort to improve society, above all when society is so full of injustice and sin, is an effort that God blesses; that God wants; that God demands of us.”

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