This year marks the 40th anniversary of the death of St. Oscar Romero, the martyred archbishop of San Salvador. In the three short years of his episcopal ministry he emerged as a courageous prophet, a voice for those who had no voice, and truly a saint for our time. His outspoken defense of the poor and his refusal to keep silent in the face of violent repression earned him powerful enemies. In making an option for the poor, he was prepared to face “the same fate as the poor.” Still, his witness and his theological message remain: a gift and a challenge to the church he loved.
Nowhere is that theological and pastoral vision so clearly expressed as in the four pastoral letters he released from 1977-1980. Along with the other documents collected here, they represent one of the most powerful expressions of church teaching in our time: an application of the gospel to the challenges of history, especially in situations marked by injustice, inequality, and violence. These documents, sealed by his own blood, are a timeless call to follow the Good News of Jesus, wherever it leads.