St. Oscar Romero: Feast Day, Prayers, Quotes, Patronage and More

Oscar Romero

St. Oscar Romero Table of Contents


  • Birth: August 17, 1917
  • Location: El Salvador
  • Death: 1980
  • Beatification: May 23, 2015
  • Canonized: October 14, 2018
  • Feast Day: March 24
  • Patron Saint of: El Salvador, persecuted Christians

Early Life

Born in 1917, St. Oscar Romero became the “voice of the voiceless” in El Salvador.

In his life, Oscar struggled with scrupulosity and was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive personality disorder. He entered seminary at age 13, and for most of his priesthood, he was quiet and unassuming.

Then, civil war broke out, and the poor were being oppressed. Fellow priests were being killed around him.

Road to Sainthood

Leading up to his appointment as Archbishop of San Salvador, he realized that as a follower of Christ, he needed to stand against the governnent’s human rights abuses.

He spoke out on his radio show and called for the protection of the poor and marginalized in his homilies. He reminded people they were “God’s microphones” and encouraged them to be messengers and even prophets.

On March 23, 1980, Archbishop Romero spoke on his radio show, imploring soldiers to follow God’s law above their military orders to kill unarmed civilians.

“No soldier is obliged to obey an order that goes against the law of God”, he said. “I beseech you. I beg you. I command you! In the name of God: ‘Cease the repression!’”


Romero was fully aware of the risk of death and violence that faced him when he bravely spoke out. Shortly after he became archbishop, his friend and Jesuit priest, Rutillo Grande, SJ, was murdered. 

The next day, while celebrating Mass in a hospital chapel, a car pulled up and a single gunman fired a single shot, striking and killing Romero.

Violence continued in El Salvador long after Romero’s death. In 1989, six Jesuit priests and two others were brutally murdered by the Salvadoran military at Central American University in San Salvador.

When Romero was canonized in 2018, Pope Francis wore the same blood-stained belt that Romero wore the day he was assassinated.


Romero remains an inspiration to the country of El Salvador, as well as those battling injustice and persecution.

“He lived the word of God and made it come alive,” said one nun who lived in El Salvador when Romero was murdered. She told the National Catholic Reporter that Romero did not “fly a political flag. His flag was the Gospel.”

Romero is remembered for always speaking out for the poor, and he’s inspired individuals and institutions (like the Romero Center in Camden, N.J.) to continue his work long after his death.

St. Oscar Romero Quotes

  • “Aspire not to have more, but to be more.”
  • “The Church must suffer for speaking the truth, for pointing out sin, for uprooting sin. No one wants to have a sore spot touched, and therefore a society with so many sores twitches when someone has the courage to touch it and say: ‘You have to treat that. You have to get rid of that. Believe in Christ. Be converted.”
  • “The church, the people of God in history, is not attached to any one social system, to any political organization, to any party. The church does not identify herself with any of those forces because she is the eternal pilgrim of history and is indicating at every historical moment what reflects the kingdom of God and what does not reflect the kingdom of God.”

St. Oscar Romero Prayers

Turn to St. Oscar Romero and ask for his intercession when you’re feeling challenged and need strength and courage. Be inspired by St. Romero to work for justice and uplift the poor.

Heavenly Father, like St. Oscar Romero, inspire us be courageous enough to speak out on behalf of those who face injustice, no matter the cost. Inspire us to be of service to the church, especially in helping the poor and needy May the courage of St. Oscar Romero inspire us to work with integrity for an end to violence and poverty. Amen. (via the Missionary Society of St. Columban)

The “Romero Prayer,” most associated with Oscar Romero, and sometimes incorrectly attributed to him, actually comes from Cardinal John Dearden

Every now and then it helps us to take a step back

and to see things from a distance.

The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is also beyond our visions.

In our lives, we manage to achieve only a small part

of the marvellous plan that is God’s work.

Nothing that we do is complete,

which is to say that the Kingdom is greater than ourselves.

No statement says everything that can be said.

No prayer completely expresses the faith.

No Creed brings perfection.

No pastoral visit solves every problem.

No programme fully accomplishes the mission of the Church.

No goal or purpose ever reaches completion.

This is what it is about:

We plant seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted,

knowing that others will watch over them.

We lay the foundations of something that will develop.

We add the yeast which will multiply our possibilities.

We cannot do everything,

yet it is liberating to begin.

This gives us the strength to do something and to do it well.

It may remain incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way.

It is an opportunity for the grace of God to enter

and to do the rest.

It may be that we will never see its completion,

but that is the difference between the master and the labourer.

We are labourers, not master builders,

servants, not the Messiah.

We are prophets of a future that does not belong to us.

St. Oscar Romero, pray for us.


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