Celebrate the Feast of Saint Oscar Romero

Photo by Oscar Leiva for CRS

Saint Oscar Arnulfo Romero was formally declared a martyr by Pope Francis in February 2015 and was canonized a saint on October 14, 2018, alongside Pope Paul VI. His feast day is March 24.

He was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador, in 1977, during a period of widespread political violence, when disappearances and human rights violations were on the rise. At the time, Archbishop Romero was not considered an outspoken advocate for people who were poor and oppressed. While many clergy and religious spoke out on their behalf, Archbishop Romero did not.

Soon after becoming archbishop, Father Rutilio Grande, his friend and fellow priest, was killed because of his outward support for oppressed communities. This deeply affected Archbishop Romero, and he began to publicly denounce violence and injustice, urging people to live out Christ’s commandment to love our neighbor. As Archbishop Romero began to speak up, people in villages across El Salvador tuned into his weekly radio homilies. He became an advocate for people who were poor—many called him the voice of the voiceless—and encouraged others to become advocates too.

“God’s best microphone is Christ, and Christ’s best microphone is the Church, and the Church is all of you. Let each one of you, in your own job, in your own vocation—nun, married person, bishop, priest, high school or university student, day laborer, wage earner, market woman—one in your own place … live the faith intensely and feel that in your surroundings you are a true microphone of God our Lord.” —St. Oscar A. Romero

Archbishop Romero was such a loud microphone for God that he was assassinated while celebrating Mass on March 24, 1980. His testimony inspires us to be spokespeople for justice rather than silent spectators. It challenges us to accompany and collaborate with our global family members in need to break down systems and structures that perpetuate poverty and suffering.

Saint Oscar Romero used the radio; today we can use social media, email, letter writing and public events to answer our Gospel call to care for others through legislative advocacy. It is one of the most effective ways to create transformative change. Legislative advocacy can influence decision making at local, national and international levels to change unjust policies that negatively affect our sisters and brothers living in the peripheries.

One way to use legislative advocacy is by joining our movement and using your prophetic voice to make a difference for our planet and the members of our family who are suffering poverty, conflict, hunger and the effects of climate change.