St. Oscar Romero (1917-1980)
Feast Day: March 24
Canonization: October 14, 2018
Patron of El Salvador, The Americas
Oscar Romero’s appointment in February 1977 as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Salvador was seen as a victory for El Salvador’s right-wing military regime and the country’s ruling class. As priest and bishop, the mild-mannered Romero showed little interest in social activism.
But widespread violence and injustice, much under the auspices of the government, spurred Romero’s transformation into an outspoken cleric who would become a prophetic figure in El Salvador.
The archbishop attended to the poor and marginalized, speaking against government brutality. During the country’s 12-year civil war beginning in 1980, Romero often accompanied his flock in retrieving bodies of their deceased.
Romero made enemies in the episcopate and among El Salvador’s ruling class. On March 24, 1980, a sniper shot the 62-year-old archbishop through the heart while he celebrated Mass. The assassin was never convicted.
Pope Francis canonized Archbishop Romero on Oct. 14, 2018. Latin America’s poor and many worldwide remain ever devoted to “Monseñor Romero,” their new patron of El Salvador and the Americas.