Church bells rang out across El Salvador today with the news that Pope Francis had signed a decree that Oscar Romero will be beatified as a martyr who died for the faith when he was gunned down by an assassin's bullet while saying mass on March 24, 1980. The date of the beatification is being determined by the Vatican, but the place will be the Salvador del Mundo monument and plaza in San Salvador.
For me, Oscar Romero has always been a source of great inspiration and a model of a true commitment to peace and justice for the most marginalized members of society. His image is everywhere in El Salvador as the people remember the voice of the voiceless, who walked as a shepherd of the suffering people of El Salvador before his murder in 1980.
If you have not spent much time with Romero, here are some great resources to gain a deeper appreciation for his life and what he meant for the people of El Salvador.
The best documentary: Monseñor: The Last Journey of Oscar Romero. This documentary, which was released on DVD, offers lots of archival footage of Romero and the remembrances of many people who knew and worked with him. Highly recommended.
The best dramatization: Romero starring Raul Julia. This Hollywood movie is the way that many English speakers get to know Romero. Some of the details are not historically accurate, but the majority of the film is true to Romero's life.
The best book: Monseñor Romero: Memories in Mosaic by María López Vigil. This book telles Romero's life story through the memories of people from all walks of life who knew him. From his early days in ministry through his martyrdom, you will get the complete story.
The best collection of inspirational passages from Romero's homilies: The Violence Of Love. Short excerpts from Romero's sermons in English which you can download for free or can purchase in hard copy. A great devotional book.
The best blog. Super Martyrio blog. Written by our friend the blogger Polycarpio, this is the location to go for up to date news on the progress of Romero's canonization, analysis of his theology, and reflections of Romero in Salvadoran culture.
The best website: The Archbishop Romero Trust. This UK website has a wealth of resources including English translations of Romero's sermons