30th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero

Posted on March 8, 2010

On March 24, 1980, while he was celebrating Mass in a hospital chapel, Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Salvador Óscar Romero was assassinated with a single bullet through his heart. Prior to his death, Romero preached the Gospel of liberation and began to call for Christian soldiers to obey God’s command and to stop carrying out repression of the people of El Salvador. Romero became a symbol of the struggle for human rights and continues to be honored as one of the martyrs of the 20th Century.


Mural painting by Joel BergnerTo that end, the Diocese of California will commemorate the 30th anniversary of Archbishop Romero’s assassination in an interfaith service at Grace Cathedral, 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 27, 2010. Because of Romero’s advocacy for the poor and his continued calls for distributive justice, the theme of the day is “La Pobreza No Se Conoce Fronteras” (Poverty Knows No Boundaries).

  • Conversations/roundtables will be devoted to policy discussions of humanitarian immigration;
  • Romero Murals: five-panel storyboard murals (including 'Stop the repression!,' right) created by muralist Joel Bergner and local youth will be inaugurated at the prayer service;
  • Reception for participants and the community will occur following the service.


Archbishop Romero walks through the streets of Mexico City, Mexico.An exhibition of 30 photographs presenting the life and ministry of Archbishop Romero will be launched at Grace Cathedral, March 8-28. The exhibition is a collaborative venture of The Photography Center of El Salvador; Trinity Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas; Grace Cathedral, San Francisco; The Bay Area Episcopal Salvador Mission Coalition; and the Episcopal Diocese of California. It opens in San Francisco, a city that is home to a significant number of people who were forced to flee their homeland during the Salvadoran Civil War (1980-1992).

This collection was made possible through the cooperation of institutions, photographers, documentarians, and other individuals in the United States, El Salvador, and other countries. It reflects a joint effort to exercise care and diligence to protect these historic photos and document the legacy of this beloved martyr and prophet.


The exhibit covers Romero’s childhood, his years as a young seminarian, his life as a student in Rome, his pastoral work in San Miguel, his episcopal ordination as Archbishop, the violent years as a member of the hierarchy in the Archdiocese, his pastoral role to his community, his assassination and funeral—and his resurrection in his people for the past 30 years.


With the guidance of Images Libres, a number of international photographers were selected, including Harry Mattison, editor of El Salvador: Work of 30 Photographers; Adam Kulfed, author of El Salvador about the civil war; and a number of accomplished Salvadoran photographers including Eulalio Pérez and Edgar Romero, founder of ESFOTO, AP photographer, and Director of The Photography Center of El Salvador.


Priests carry Archbishop Romero’s coffin out of the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Salvador, March 30, 1980.This initiative was made possible through the contributions of these photographers; the participating institutions; dedicated individuals including the Rev. Hannah Atkins and Elmer Romero, who fight to preserve the visual legacy of Archbishop Romero; and QUE Imaging, the Houston-based business whose holistic work and technical equipment have helped make this exhibition possible.