Blessed Oscar Romero was formally declared a martyr by Pope Francis in February 2015 and will be canonized a saint October 14, 2018, alongside Pope Paul VI.
He was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador, in 1977, during a period of widespread political violence, disappearances and human rights violations. 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 Gospel message of love for 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.
He said, “We might be left without a radio station: 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.”
Archbishop Romero was such a loud microphone for God that he was assassinated while celebrating Mass on March 24, 1980. His witness reminds us to not remain quietly on the sidelines, but to become microphones for God. He inspires us to speak out with our brothers and sisters who need help breaking down systems and structures that perpetuate poverty and suffering. People around the world continue to face oppression in many forms—it’s up to us to be God’s microphone by advocating on their behalf.
Blessed Oscar Romero used the radio to become God’s microphone. Today we can use social media, email, letter writing and public events to bear witness to Christ’s Gospel message through legislative advocacy. It is one of the most effective ways to create real and lasting change. Legislative advocacy can influence decision making at local, national and international levels to change unjust policies that negatively affect our brothers and sisters who are poor and vulnerable. One way to use legislative advocacy to become God’s microphone is by joining Catholics Confront Global Poverty, an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services. CCGP provides email updates about policy issues that affect our brothers and sisters who are poor and vulnerable overseas and gives you the tools to advocate effectively on their behalf with your elected officials.
Now is the time to speak out like Blessed Oscar Romero did.
The following resources commemorate his life and martyrdom and can help communities of faith reflect on what his witness means for our lives today.
- Blessed Oscar Romero: God’s Microphone | En Español
A reflection that introduces legislative advocacy through the example of Blessed Oscar Romero, an advocate for oppressed people who encouraged others to be “God’s microphone” and speak up on behalf of their suffering brothers and sisters
- Blessed Oscar Romero: A Martyr for the Faith | En Español
A double-sided handout including a reflection and discussion questions, information about the violence facing El Salvador today and a prayer
- Being Church: Speaking Out With the Poor | En Español
A prayer service in which we pray that we might speak out with the poor, as Blessed Oscar Romero did
- Standing With the Poor and Oppressed | En Español
A short prayer inspired by the witness of Blessed Oscar Romero
- As I Live and Die: Exploring Catholic Martyrdom in the 21st Century
A youth ministry session that explores Catholic martyrdom through the example of Blessed Oscar Romero
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