The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Romero Days to celebrate archbishop

Nora Kenney | Friday, March 20, 2009

“Romero Days 2009: In the Footsteps of the Bishop of the World” – an annual event that celebrates the life of Oscar Romero – will kick off on Monday with several panel discussions and lectures.

The event, a joint effort of the Latin American North America Church Concerns (LANACC), the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Latin American Studies Program, the Center for Social Concerns and the Shaheen Fund, will examine Romero’s influence on history and Catholic culture in Latin America and his relevance to Notre Dame students.

LANACC Director Fr. Robert Pelton said he has been extremely dedicated to the organization of Romero Days since he first started the project in 1987.

He said his passion for Romero’s cause stems from his work to further human rights.

“[Romero] was clear in his commitment to people and human rights. So clear was he, in fact, that he was willing to die for his cause,” Pelton said.

March 24 marks the 29th anniversary of Romero’s death. He was an archbishop in El Salvador who was assassinated while saying Mass. As an outspoken and influential public figure during a controversial time in El Salvador, he was vocal about human rights despite death threats.

As Pelton has extensively studied the role of the Catholic Church in Latin America, he said he is traveling to Chile next week to give a series of lectures on the subject. He has also written several books about liberation theology and Romero.

“[Romero] provides a type of leadership that we do need in both the society and the church,” he said.

Pelton said this makes the bishop very relevant to Notre Dame students.

Romero Days begins on Monday evening with a student panel entitled “I shall arise in the Salvadoran people: An Interview Project on Romero’s Continuing Presence.”

Cinnamon Sarver, a graduate student in theology, will be featured in the panel, as well as Victor Maqque, a graduate student studying Latin American History. Sophomore Jenna Knapp, an anthropology and peace studies major and junior Michael Angulo, a history and peace studies major, will be respondents. Pupusas, an El Salvadoran tortilla, will be served at a reception following the panel.

On Tuesday, Fr. Stephen Judd will celebrate Mass in honor of women in service in Latin America at the Church of Loretto at Saint Mary’s College.

Judd will also present a lecture Tuesday entitled “Aparecida and the Latin American Church’s Road Map to Intercultural Dialogue.”

Romero Days will conclude Tuesday evening with speaker Eugene Palumbo’s presentation on Romero called “Now I Understand.” Palumbo is a journalist based in El Salvador.