On March 24, 1980, Archbishop Oscar A. Romero was shot and killed while holding up the Eucharist before the alter in a small shrine in El Salvador. The murder, thought to be a political assassination carried out by the death squads in El Salvador, rocked not only the country but the entire world.
His ecclesiastical appointments were met with concern at first. His conservative theology stood in direct contrast to the many liberation theologian priests all over Latin America. However during his term as bishop, his friend (a Jesuit priest) was shot and killed by the roaming death squads. Outraged by his friend's death and the inhumane treatment of the people of his country, he spoke out against the murder and oppression of political violence.
And for that voice, he was silenced.
The story of Romero is both tragic and inspiring. His choice to stand in opposition to the political leadership and to violence reminds me that there are times that I need to make a stand for what I believe in.
The death of Archbishop Romero, the birthday of Cesar Chavez, the movie Che starting this weekend, and the recent visit of Luis Gutierrez from Chicago have all served to remind me that my ancestry and my culture are important parts of my vocation. While I doubt I'll be as revolutionary or as profound as the men I've just mentioned, I hope to learn something from their struggles and do more as a Latino male to be present to my culture.