24th March

Susy – Commemoration of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, martyr, 1980

One of things that will have sustained some of us during this pandemic is listening to the radio – not just to the news, which can sometimes be depressing, but inspiring speakers and stories.

Oscar Romero was someone who used the radio to inspire the people of El Salvador, speaking out against the military regime which was oppressing the nation. He was born on August 15, 1917 in the town of Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador, the second of seven children. He entered the minor seminary at the age of thirteen and went on to study at the Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained in 1942. In 1970 he was made Auxiliary Bishop to the Archdiocese of San Salvador and four years later became Bishop of Santiago de Maria.

In 1977 he was made Archbishop of San Salvador but died three years later while celebrating Mass, killed by an assassin’s bullet. As Julian Filochowski, chair of the Romero Trust, says about him: he “preached a gospel message of social justice, non-violent change, peace and reconciliation… He made incarnate the preferential option for the poor – the poor really did come first on his agenda…. And in the end he gave his life for his people, a 20th century martyr for the poor.”

Oscar Romero has always been a real inspiration to me. As many of you know, I worked for CAFOD for many years and Romero was a CAFOD partner during the 1970s (before my time!) The military would blow up the radio station as they could see that Romero was empowering and inspiring the people and they didn’t like it. CAFOD’s money would pay for the radio station to be built again.

Have you heard any inspiring stories or speakers on the radio over this last year?

Who inspires you in terms of your faith and working for justice?