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Reflection Day 36

Archbishop & Martyr Oscar Romero - Learn a little about the Archbishop's story. How might he be seen as his prayer depicts in Episcopalian liturgy: "Almighty God, you called your servant Oscar Romero to be a voice for the voiceless poor, and to give his life as a seed of freedom and a sign of hope."

The following quote from Archbishop Romero speaks to his prayer in our liturgy,

“I must tell you, as a Christian, I do not believe in death without resurrection. If I am killed, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people.”

Below is a brief overview of his story:

Romero’s story (born August 15, 1917 in the mountainous region of east El Salvador) is one directly impacted by the abuse of power he witnessed in during what would be the final three years of his life. His service to the church began at age twenty- five. Shortly after, he began serving as secretary for the diocese. There his impact was broadly felt by his sermons and establishment of new organizations. In 1970 he became an administrative bishop; in 1974 he became a bishop of a rural diocese. Three years later he became Archbishop of San Salvador; prior to this role he was recognized for his conservative views and temperament.

The political violence (resulting in the loss of life multiple priests serving under his leadership) he witnessed as Archbishop had a profound impact on him. Death squads killed at will in the streets of the cities and soldiers killed at will in the rural mountain communities, inquiries into these deaths – including even priests – did not occur, elections resulting in a coalition of powerful interests … all of this led Archbishop Romero to dedicate more and more of his time and influence to the poor and persecuted. More people and priests were murdered. Documentation was gathered and presented to the Pope in 1979 to demonstrate abuse of human rights. With death threats mounting upon his return from visiting Rome, Archbishop Romero became more and more isolated in the church building in order to stay safe. On March 24, 1980, while celebrating Mass in the chapel of the hospital where he lived, Archbishop Romero was shot.

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