BY ISN STAFF | October 13, 2018
Editor’s Note: Resources and video from Oscar Romero’s canonization can be found here.
This morning in Rome, Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero was officially canonized a saint.
Romero’s faith was grounded in his solidarity with his fellow Salvadorans, leading to his martyrdom, a direct result of his prophetic voice against U.S.-supported military oppression, calling for human rights and dignity through an end military repression and work toward peace in El Salvador.
On Friday, October 12, 2018, U.S. Representative James McGovern (D-MA) submitted remarks regarding Romero’s canonization to the Congressional Record. [full text below]In his note to fellow members of Congress, McGovern stated that, “as we all work together to address the current challenges facing El Salvador—the violence, worse now than during the civil war, and lack of opportunity that force so many families and children to abandon their homes and flee the country; the need to complete the unfinished business of the peace negotiations, to locate the disappeared, promote truth and reconciliation, and provide justice in exemplary cases of gross violations of human rights; and the responsibility to support the Salvadoran government and Salvadorans from all walks of life to promote development and consolidate democratic institutions so all may live with dignity—it is a moment to welcome the sainthood of Romero and to reflect upon his life, his words and his legacy.”
McGovern played a key role as an assistant to the late Congressman Joseph Moakley in the U.S. Congressional investigation into the murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her daughter on November 16, 1989 in El Salvador. Following his election in 1997 to the U.S. House he became vocal advocate for human rights oriented policies in Central America and around the world. In 2009, McGovern introduced a U.S. House Resolution honoring the Jesuit martyrs and their companions on the 20th anniversary of their deaths. He has also sponsored numerous bills to cut funding or close the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly known as the U.S. Army School of the Americas) where a number of Salvadoran soldiers and officers responsible for the Jesuits’ murders received US taxpayer-funded training leading up to 1989.
From 1996 to 2009, the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice took place in conjunction with SOAWatch’s vigil at the gates of Ft. Benning, the location of the former School of the Americas before it was renamed in 2001. McGovern spoke at the Teach-In in 2005.
In 2014, McGovern was presented with the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s Legacy of the Martyrs Award, in honor of his ongoing commitment to advocating for human rights oriented U.S. policy in El Salvador and across the globe.