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OscarRomero1Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez was born in Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador, on 15 August 1917. His father apprenticed him to a carpenter when he was 13, but the young Romero felt a vocation for the Catholic priesthood and left home the following year to enter the seminary. He studied in El Salvador and in Rome and was ordained in 1942.

Romero spent the first two and half decades of his ministerial career as a parish priest and diocesan secretary in San Miguel. In 1970 he became auxiliary bishop of San Salvador and served in that position until 1974 when the Vatican named him to the diocese of Santiago de María, a poor, rural region which included his boyhood hometown. In 1977 he returned to the capital to succeed San Salvador’s aged metropolitan archbishop.

After witnessing numerous violations of human rights, he began to speak out on behalf of the poor and the victims of repression. This led to numerous conflicts, both with the government in El Salvador and within the Catholic Church. After speaking out against US military support for the government of El Salvador, and calling for soldiers to disobey orders to fire on innocent civilians, Archbishop Romero was shot dead while celebrating Mass at the small chapel of the cancer hospital where he lived. He was beatified on 24 March 2015. – www.un.org.

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