The final days of Oscar Romero

March 24, is the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Saint Oscar Romero, archbishop of San Salvador.  I am republishing here a post which first appeared on the 40th anniversary in 2020.

Carlos Dada, founder of the online periodical El Faro, has been researching and reporting on the Romero murder for years.   His most recent piece, titled A 5-Millimeter Hole appeared in the English version of El Faro and is taken from a book he is working on. 

Dada describes in detail Romero's actions in the final few days of his life, beginning with the planning for the fateful final sermon which Romero would preach on Sunday, March 23 to the time when an assassin's single bullet would end the life of the voice for the voiceless.

Dada describes the fateful moment:
Romero read from the Gospel of John: “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” It was a short mass and the homily was brief. As he was giving it, a Volkswagen Passat crossed in front of the chapel, turned around in the parking lot and parked in an exit position, just in front of the chapel’s main door. Only Romero could have noticed it, because the few church assistants had their backs to the door. Outside, however, a few people saw the car. It seemed like it had mechanical problems because the driver struggled with the gear stick. In the back seat, another man was waiting. Exactly 31 meters and 10 centimeters (102 feet) from them, Romero pontificated at the altar. He looked towards the door. We’ll never know if he saw the bearded man that, from the back window of the Passat, pulled out a rifle and aimed it in his direction. 
Read the rest of the article here.

Ten years ago, Dada and El Faro published his interview with Captain Álvaro Rafael Saravia titled How we killed archbishop Romero.  Saravia was one of the conspirators, and is the only person being prosecuted in absentia for the crime 40 years later.
For more on Saint Oscar, see Oscar Romero: Getting to Know Him.