Jocelyn A. Sideco is a retreat leader, spiritual director and innovative minister who specializes in mission-centered ministry. She writes for NCR's Young Voices blog. Visit her online ecumenical ministry, In Good Company, at

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Romero, saint of the Americas

They may have waited 35 long years, but the many thousands who packed Savior of the World Plaza for the beatification of Óscar Romero took joy in the moment – and in the memory of the slain archbishop. Romero, who was martyred in 1980 as he said Mass in a hospital chapel near the start of El Salvador’s 12-year civil war, was beatified May 23. More than 250,000 people witnessed the ceremony, and spontaneous chants of “¡Viva Romero!” rang out through the crowd.

Returning to El Salvador: Two Sisters of Providence look forward to Romero beatification

Archbishop Óscar Romero was shot to death as he said Mass March 24, 1980 after he exhorted Salvadoran soldiers to disobey their superiors if they were ordered to attack innocent civilians. The Salvadoran civil war would eventually claim some 75,000 lives. More than 250,000 people are expected for Romero’s beatification ceremony on Saturday, May 23, in the Plaza of the Savior of the World in El Salvador’s capital city, San Salvador. Among them will be two Sisters of Providence, Sr. Vilma Franco and Sr. Ana Orellana-Gamero, now living in the United States who are honoring family members they lost during the brutal civil war, as well as Romero.