This volume is the first in an ambitious initiative by the Romero Trust to translate into English a series of books about the martyred Archbishop Romero in a style suitable for both specialists and general readership. The series will include his writings and homilies, as well as theological reflections that have appeared about his life and ministry. Romero has been attracting a growing interest worldwide because of his prophetic words and his option for the poor, which he faithfully lived out until his assassination at the altar. Displaying an integrity and authenticity rare in the contemporary church, Romero was a gifted priest and inspiring preacher. He managed to find an extraordinary synthesis between orthodoxy and the way it is practiced, and he exhibited a beautiful blend of deep prayerful spirituality and effective action for justice. Because of these achievements, he has become an increasingly attractive ecclesiastical figure for the twenty-first century and a genuine icon for our sceptical times. The United Nations has recognised him, and the Anglican Communion has virtually canonized him by including him, with a special Collect prayer, in its annual liturgical calendar. There is a significant range of materials by and about Archbishop Romero in the Spanish language, largely published in Central America, including a critical edition of the homilies that Romero preached from the pulpit of his cathedral every Sunday. Until now, there have been only brief extracts of those inspiring sermons, which serve well for meditation and quotations, but, unfortunately, they do not enable serious study and analysis of the man and his words. Therefore, the complete texts (for the three year cycle corresponding exactly with his archiepiscopal ministry in San Salvador) are, and will continue to be in the future, an important aid for theological study and research – for those training in seminaries, for academic libraries, and for spiritual resource centres. It is a worthy project that might also help demonstrate further his stature to those still pondering and still doubting his worthiness for beatification in the Roman Catholic Church.
Oscar Romero, born in Ciudad Barrios, on August 15th 1917, studied theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and was ordained priest in 1942. He served the diocese of San Miguel for 25 years. In 1967 he moved to San Salvador as Secretary General of the National Bishops’ Conference.