People walk past the metropolitan cathedral in San Salvador, where Archbishop Oscar Romero was shot dead by a hit squad while celebrating Mass.
In the footsteps of a soon-to-be saint:
Pilgrimage to El Salvador
Archbishop Oscar Romero receives a sack of beans from parishioners following Mass outside church in El Salvador in 1979.
7 p.m. Viewing of movie "Romero" in the lounge. This film chronicles the transformation of Archbishop Oscar Romero from an apolitical, complacent priest to a committed activist. Produced by the Paulists.
5:30 p.m., Special Mass to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Romero. Potluck to follow; bring finger foods.
Holy Spirit Parish
2700 Dwight Way, Berkeley
SHARE El Salvador
Contact: Jose Artiga,
A Berkeley organization dedicated to human rights work is sending a delegation to El Salvador in March to honor the 35th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero.
"We have been working exclusively with El Salvador for 35 years," said Jose Artiga, executive director of SHARE El Salvador.
The organization, which began in 1981, works with youth organizations, funds scholarships, and is offering an academy for women interested in seeking political office in El Salvador.
Female officeholders are "revolutionary in El Salvador," Artiga said.
In addition, SHARE El Salvador supports Salvadoran communities in the United States. An estimated 208,000 Salvadorans live in the United States, he said.
"In El Salvador, we do human rights work," he said. One of the cases is the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero.
SHARE is working to repeal the nation's amnesty law, which passed in 1992. Under the law, the archbishop's killers will not be brought to justice.
SHARE has sent delegations every five years; the journey for 50 people offered March 20-26 marks the 35th anniversary of martyrdom.
A planned pilgrimage in 2017 will mark the centennial of Archbishop Romero's birth.
It might also be the time of his canonization, Artiga said.
But if canonization comes sooner, SHARE will "invite people to go to Rome or El Salvador to be a part of this historical event," Artiga said.
The cost of the journey is $850, which includes lodging, meals and transportation within the country. Airfare, which will have to be purchased separately, is about $600.
SHARE sends a dozen delegations to El Salvador each year. Another 35th anniversary to be observed this year will be the commemoration of the deaths of four churchwomen — Sister Maura Clarke, MM; Sister Dorothy Kazel, OSU; Sister Ita Ford, MM, and lay missioner Jean Donovan.
Artiga said delegations can become quite emotional. "There will be a before and after" he said. "We have a reflection after the first couple of days because it will be very intense," he said.
The delegation will meet with people who knew Archbishop Romero, as well as the mothers of the disappeared.
In addition, they will literally be walking in the footsteps of a soon-to-be saint.
"We will be walking where Romero used to live," he said. Romero declined to live in the archbishop's house, choosing instead, Artiga said, "a tiny room" in a hospital that cares for cancer patients. Later, the sisters built a modest house for him on the hospital grounds.
The journey, Artiga said, will leave the delegates with "a very intense understanding of a modern saint."
"His gifts were not to deal with politicians," he said, "but to deal with the poor."
It has taken 35 years, Artiga said, but the conservatives in the country are beginning to honor him. A mayoral candidate in San Salvador, for example, has said he would name a plaza after him.
"Romero knew he would be killed," Artiga said. "That was not news to him. He said, 'I will rise again in the Salvadoran people.'
"This is what has happened," he said.
Romeroistas, he said, celebrate the archbishop "in the struggle now, or celebrate him in the past."
"It's important for Rome to understand that," he said.
back to top