Human rights activist honored by DOVE
As a pioneer for fighting against injustice and poverty, Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador was honored this past weekend by the Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE) with a Spanish music mass and reception.
The commemoration took place on Sunday, April 26, at 6 p.m. in the Chapel of Immaculate Conception. Following the mass there was a reflection of his life and impact on the community held in the Campus Ministry Lounge.
The mass was led by Salvadoran priest Father Estermino Chica and celebrated the upcoming canonization process for Romero to become an official saint this May. After mass, students gave testimonials on the effect Romero’s work has had on their life and the legacy he has left in El Salvador. Romero was an advocate for human rights and defender of the poor during the Salvadoran Civil War, which took place from 1979-1992.
Romero was assassinated in 1980 at Divina Providencia, a cancer hospital where he lived, while saying mass at the chapel there. Pope Francis declared Romero a martyr for the Catholic Faith on February 3, 2015.
The event was put together by the “Romero Committee” which was composed of Melissa Santos, Ewa Kowalczyk and Nicole Archibald.
According to Archibald, a sophomore accounting major, after the mass students also made rosaries and get well cards for cancer patients who currently live at the Romero site in El Salvador. They also ate a traditional Salvadoran dish called pupusas that Archibald described as thick tortillas filled with cheese, beans and/or pork.
“This event reminded me of Romero’s powerful message and impact on the struggle for justice,” said Archibald. “I feel blessed to reflect on Romero’s story with the Seton Hall community.”
Kowalczyk, a sophomore biology major, said that the ceremony was particularly special to her because on a mission trip to El Salvador through DOVE she actually got to visit Romero’s home, the hospital where he worked and the chapel in which he was killed.
“I felt very privileged to be there and to see firsthand where this humble man lived and worked,” said Kowalczyk.
She expressed satisfaction from seeing how many students, parents and faculty came out to the event. She considers Romero a great example to us all.
“I find his courage to be inspiring,” said Kowalczyk. “He went from being a really quiet and reserved Archbishop, to being the voice of the Salvadorian people.”
Mackenzie Scibetta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.