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Saint Romero of America, Our Pastor and Martyr


On the eve, the Angel of the Lord announced...
The heart of El Salvador marked by
the 24th of March and agony,
You offered Bread,
The Living Body
—the broken body of your People;
its victorious Blood poured out—
The peasant blood of your massacred People,
which the exorcising dawn must tint into wines of joy!
On the eve, the Angel of the Lord announced …
And the Word became death once more, in your death;
Just as death becomes incarnate, every day, in the naked flesh of your People.
And you filled up our old Church
with new Life!
We are once again standing up in witness
Saint Romero of America, our pastor and martyr!
Romero of peace, putting down roots in this land of war,
Romero bursting forth in the purple rosemary of the unscathed hope of the entire Continent.
Romero of the Latin American Easter.
Poor yet glorious pastor, assassinated for a price, for dollars, a few pieces of foreign currency.

Like Jesus, by order of the Empire.
Poor yet glorious pastor,
by your own brothers with their staffs and Table…!
(The curias couldn’t hear you;
No well-established congregation can hear Christ.)

Your poor multitude accompanied you,
in desperate fidelity,
feeding and being fed by your prophetic mission.
The People made you a Saint.
The hour of your People consecrated you at the kairos.
The poor taught you to read the Good News.

As a brother wounded by so much Sister Death,
You knew how to weep, alone, in the Garden.
You knew how to be afraid, like a man in combat.
Yet you knew how to freely make your word a call to attention!

And you knew how to drink from the double chalice of the Altar and the People,
with one single hand consecrated to service.
Latin America has already placed you in its Bernini glory
in the halo-spray of its seas,
in the ancient altarpiece of the Andes, standing at attention,
in the breezy canopy of all its wooded groves,
in the song of all its paths,
in the new Calvary of all its prisons
of all its trenches,
of all its altars…
in the secure tabernacle of the vigilant heart of its children!

Saint Romero of America, our pastor and martyr:
No one will silence your final homily!
Pedro Casaldáliga

Translation by Richard Renshaw and Katharine Gordon