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Rome Reports

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Visiting what Oscar Romero left behind

We are in San Salvador. Here is the small home that Archbishop Oscar Romero lived in. "Inside this house is his bedroom, his study, and here we are here in the backyard." His things are as he left them. A calendar recalls the date and time of his murder. He spent his final hours with Fernando Sáenz Lacalle, his successor, and other Opus Dei priests. MONS. FERNANDO SíENZ LACALLE Emeritus Archbishop of San Salvador "It was an extraordinarily friendly gathering, even though it was simple. We sat on the ground, in the shade of palm trees, studying a document he had brought. Later we had lunch. We returned at about three-thirty. He warned us that he had a Mass that evening and that he must return early.â? The Mass took place at the Divine Providence hospital chapel. The clothes he wore in those tragic moments are in this wardrobe. This nun explains what happened here. "He went to the altar to start the consecration. In that moment, you couldn't even hear the vehicle's noise, you only saw it come in. Some witnesses say that the murderer came out and shot from one  side of the church.â? It was 1980. El Salvador was in a civil war. Several military commanders launched a fierce crackdown against violent guerrillas groups. The archbishop gave a voice to the defenseless. His homily the day before was the last straw, and his enemies decided to assassinate him. "I would like to make a special call to all men in the military. Brothers, you are killing your own brothers, though they are from the same place. If you are ordered to kill a man, Godâ??s law must prevail, and Godâ??s law says "Do not kill.â? John Paul II visited Romero's tomb in the Cathedral. Benedict XVI declared him a "witness of faith," and now Pope Francisc has declared him a martyr because he was killed by hatred of the faith. The Pope will send a representative to El Salvador for the upcoming beatification ceremony. And Francis hopes to be there himself in a few years to celebrate his canonization. JMB/ATO RR JM -PR Up:AC