Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College commemorate Archbishop Romero

by Michael O. Garvey

Archbishop Oscar Romero

The 32nd anniversary of the assassination of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero will be commemorated at the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College with the events of Romero Days on March 27 and 28 (Tuesday and Wednesday).

The 16th annual Romero Days celebration, sponsored by Latin American/North American Church Concerns in Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute, will include a film screening, a discussion and a lecture given by South African Bishop Kevin Dowling.

There will be a free screening of the film “Monseñor: the Last Journey of Oscar Romero,” which chronicles the last three years of Romero’s life, at 7 p.m. March 27 in the auditorium of the Hesburgh Center for International Studies on the campus of Notre Dame. The screening will be preceded at 4:15 p.m. by a discussion of its use in teaching Catholic social doctrine. The discussion will be led by Margaret Pfeil, assistant professor of theology at Notre Dame; and Michael Amodei, executive director of adolescent catechesis for Ave Maria Press. Admission to the discussion is free, but requires registration with Amodei at

Bishop Dowling, of Rustenberg, South Africa, will speak on “Archbishop Romero: An Icon for South Africa” at 7:30 p.m. March 28 in the Carroll Auditorium of Madeleva Hall at Saint Mary’s College.

The 68-year-old Bishop Dowling, a native of Pretoria, South Africa, has served the Rustenburg diocese for 21 years and has praised the model of church leadership exemplified by Romero. Such leadership, he has written, “instead of giving an impression of its power, privilege and prestige, should rather be experienced as a humble, searching ministry together with its people in order to discern the most appropriate or viable responses which can be made to complex ethical and moral questions.”

Romero was assassinated by a right-wing death squad while presiding at Mass on March 24, 1980, in a hospital in San Salvador. His outspoken advocacy of human rights, his denunciations of U.S. military aid to El Salvador, his call for Salvadoran military personnel to disobey immoral orders and his insistence that the Church be inseparable from the poor all made him a figure of some controversy before and after his death.

Romero has been officially recommended for canonization by the Catholic Church in El Salvador, and he is already widely venerated as a martyr in his native country, throughout Latin America and in the United States.

Contact: Rev. Robert S. Pelton, 574-631-8528,