Last Sunday, October 14, the Roman Catholic Church canonized Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador as a Saint of the Church Universal. He was martyred in 1980 while celebrating Mass in a small chapel of a parish run hospital where the Archbishop lived. Since an encounter with his people after becoming Archbishop and then the assassination of Fr. Rutilio Grande, Monseñor Romero, began to speak against the many injustices happening in El Salvador, and other parts of Central America in the late 70’s.
I encountered Monseñor Romero as an emerging teenager in Puerto Rico when the movie Romero came out featuring one of the great Puerto Rican actors, Raúl Juliá, as Monseñor. It was the late 1980’s and it was wonderful to see a Puerto Rican actor playing such a beloved Latin American figure in an English speaking film. But even though I was familiar I did not become deeply aquatinted with his writings, preaching, and his life until I was in seminary at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in the early 2000’s.
My encounter with his writings and life story in those days as a graduate student were key to my formation as a disciple of Jesus and as a pastor.