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Oscar Romero 24th March killed 1980 Among those commemorated in new statues on the west front of Westminster Abbey I am bound as a pastor by divine command to give my life for those whom I love and that is all Salvadoreans even those who are going to kill me These words appeared in a newspaper just two weeks before Archbishop Romero was shot while celebrating Holy Communion in the hospital which had been his home since his enthronement in 1977 Quiet unassuming conservative in temperament and regarded by the church as safely orthodox he was an unlikely martyr for the cause of liberation Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Goldamez was born 1917 in the town of Cindad Barrios in the mountains of El Salvador near the border with Honduras Leaving school at twelve he began an apprenticeship as a carpenter showing promise as a craftsman but soon thought about ordination although his family were not keen He trained at San Miguel and San Salvador before completing his theological studies in Rome Because of the war in Europe there was no member of his family at his ordination in 1942 Returning to San Salvador in 1944 he served as a country priest before taking charge of two seminaries In 1966 he became secretary to the El Salvador Bishops Conference - a post he held for 23 years He earned a reputation as an energetic administrator and his inspirational sermons were broadcast across the city of San Miguel by five radio stations Oscar became bishop in 1970 serving first as assistant to the aged Archbishop of San Salvador and from 1974 as Bishop of Santiago de Maria Within three years he was Archbishop of San Salvador At that time there was growing unrest in the country
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