Tributes planned here to honor murdered Archbishop Romero

Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero Office for the Canonization Cause of Óscar Arnulfo Romero of the San Salvador Archdiocese photo

The Universidad Teológica de América Central Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero celebrates their university week with a tribute to the controversial Central American hero, that ends Friday.

Saturday marks the 32nd anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Romero. The week-long celebration will have different activities until Friday.

An intercultural fair will take place today at the university in San Pedro at 3 p.m.. Representatives from nine countries will participate in the event. The countries that will be represented are Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Haiti and Togo. And the fair will include representatives from Costa Rica.

The homage will end on Friday with two events. The first of the day is a church service at 4:30 p.m. for the deceased archbishop. The service will be followed by the school’s first soccer tournament, Torneo Rélampago, at 6 p.m.

All events are free and open to the public.

According to a spokesperson for the Salvadoran Embassy in Costa Rica, the embassy will have their own function next Thursday to commemorate Romero. There will be an event with two guest speakers at the Instituto Interamericano de Derechos Humanos in San Pedro. The commemoration starts at 6 p.m.

The archbishop was famous in El Salvador for his work and devotion to the poor of the country. After a friend and fellow priest, Rutilio Grande, was murdered, the archbishop began to denounce the violence, and violation of human rights that was happening in the rural parts of El Salvador. The violence wasn’t limited to the poor, but men and women of religion were also targeted.

The archbishops’ once conservative ways changed after he lost his friend, Grande. He soon followed the teachings of liberation theology. This is when Christianity becomes politically involved with the liberation of the poor. Romero began to preach politics during his radio sermon. His last broadcasted sermon on March 23 is rumored to have been his fighting words that instilled the need of the opposition to get rid of him. In his last sermon he pleaded to the military to stop the violence.

“Brother, you are from the same people; you kill your fellow peasants… No soldier is obliged to obey an order that is
contrary to the will of God” said Romero during his last broadcasted sermon in El Salvador. “In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people, I ask you —  I implore you — I command you in the name of God: stop the repression!”

He was killed the following evening while saying Mass. He was shot in the heart with a rifle by an unidentified man. A video of the killing is on YouTube.

During his funeral services more than 200,000 mourners showed up. Chaos broke out in the plaza as gunmen opened fire at the mourners. More than thirty people died.

His brutal murder is said to have been the final push to the guerilla groups to join forces and fight against the government. This was the start of a 12-year civil war in El Salvador. Suspected to have ordered Romero’s killing was Roberto D’Aubuisson.

A year later D’Aubuisson founded the political party, Alianza Republicana Nacionalista, or nationalist republican alliance. It wasn’t until the 2009 presidential election that this political party lost. They had been in power since 1989.

Opposition president Mauricio Funes, from the political party Farabundo Marti Liberaciona Nacional, won the election. Funes, on behalf of the Salvadoran state, apologized to the family of the archbishop and the people of El Salvador in 2010 for the murder of Monseñor Romero.

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