On March 24th we celebrated the feast day of Blessed Oscar Romero. Oscar Romero was the Archbishop of San Salvador in the 1970s, while the country of El Salvador was wracked with poverty and internal strife. He served as a tireless voice for the poorest of the poor and was not afraid to condemn government and military oppression as contrary to the Gospel. Because of his outspoken defense of the Catholic faith and the People of God, Romero was shot and killed while celebrating Mass on March 24, 1980...a true martyr of the 20th century.
During my time in Rome I typically attended a memorial Mass held in his honor every year at the Church of San Marcello al Corso on the anniversary of his martyrdom. The church was usually packed with religious sisters, priests, and laypeople who served the Church in Central America and shared stories of friends and colleagues who were similarly martyred in their service to the poor. It was a great reminder to me that there are still martyrs being made every year in our world and, as with El Salvador in the 1970s, sometimes our own government shares some responsibility for the bloodshed that leads to the loss of life.
I would encourage everyone to look into the life of Blessed Oscar Romero or others like him. There is a great film Romero, countless books, documentaries, and firsthand accounts out there. There are still martyrs being made in parts of the world and we are called to hear their cries and seek justice and the spread of the Gospel along with them.
Bl. Oscar Romero...pray for us!