Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (August 15, 1917 - March 24, 1980) was a prominent Roman Catholic priest in El Salvador during the 1960s and 1970s becoming Archbishop of San Salvador in 1977. After witnessing numerous violations of human rights, he began to speak out on behalf of the poor and victims of repression (Read more about his life).On March 23 the night before his death, during a homily broadcast, Romero pleaded with soldiers to end the violence. The following is an excerpt of this homily:
"I would like to make a special appeal to the men of the army, and specifically to the ranks of the National Guard, the police and the military. Brothers, you come from our own people. You are killing your own brother peasants when any human order to kill must be subordinate to the law of God which says, "Thou shalt not kill." No soldier is obliged to obey an order contrary to the law of God. No one has to obey an immoral law. It is high time you recovered your consciences and obeyed your consciences rather than a sinful order. The church, the defender of the rights of God, of the law of God, of human dignity, of the person, cannot remain silent before such an abomination. We want the government to face the fact that reforms are valueless if they are to be carried out at the cost of so much blood. In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression." (Read the full Sermon)
On each anniversary of his death, El Salvadorans march through the streets in memory of him. Mothers make pupusas (thick tortillas with beans), pack them, and prepare the children for a two-to-four hour ride or walk to the city to remember the gentle man they called Monseñor.