Since 1970 El Salvador has given the Church and the world a veritable cloud of witnesses, a cloud of martyrs. Archbishop Romero is the most renowned of all. However, Rutilio Grande, the Jesuits at the UCA, the US women missionaries, and the Italian Franciscan friar Cosme Spessotto are also widely known. But there were many, many more. Six priests were killed during the three years Archbishop Romero headed the Archdiocese of San Salvador (pictured below) together with dozens of catechists and Christian community leaders.
Following Romero's death many more Christians, lay and clerical, gave their lives defending human rights and in the pursuit of human dignity and social justice.
In life Archbishop Romero was known as the 'voice of the voiceless' poor. In death, as Ignacio Ellacuría proclaimed, he has become the 'named of the nameless' martyrs of El Salvador. The Anglican Communion, which commemorates Archbishop Romero's sanctity every year on March 24th, celebrates 'Oscar Romero' jointly with the 'Martyrs of El Salvador' and offers a special Collect prayer for the feast.
you called your servant Óscar Romero to be a voice for the voiceless poor,
and to give his life as a seed of freedom and a sign of hope:
Grant that, inspired by his sacrifice and the example of the martyrs of El Salvador,
we may without fear or favour witness to your Word who abides, your Word who is Life,
even Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be praise and glory now and for ever. Amen.