Hundreds of Salvadorans paid tribute this weekend to their first saint, San Salvador Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, murdered 39 years ago by a right-wing assassin.
Catholics participated in a mass at the chapel of the Divina Providencia cancer hospital on the northeast edge of the city, the same spot where the Archbishop was shot in the chest on March 24, 1980.
After Sunday’s mass, a group of people made a pilgrimage to the capital’s cathedral, where Romero is buried. A figure of Romero, dressed in a white tunic and enclosed in glass, accompanied the faithful as they walked, many holding a framed image of the saint.
“We must always keep the memory of our saint with us and put his legacy into practice: to show solidarity, to pray for a country that is more just to those who have the least,” José Armando Velásquez, 54, told AFP. He visited the Cathedral’s crypt along with his children to pay homage to Romero.
In 1993, a UN Truth Commission identified deceased army major Roberto D’Aubuisson, founder of the then-ruling Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), as the intellectual author of the assassination. The assassins themselves were never brought to justice.
Romero was declared a saint on October 14, 2018. He was considered “the voice of the voiceless” because of his steadfast defense of the poor.