On May 22nd, 2015, COAR’s 900+ students celebrated the life and sacrifice of Oscar Romero. The following day, in San Salvador, 250,000 stood in the baking hot sun – happily – awaiting the message from Pope Francis that Oscar Romero was finally Beato Romero! Back at COAR, there was a lovely Holy Mass. Friday was a celebration of the man who served God by serving the people of El Salvador. There was a student produced skit that recounted the years of Romero’s life in the Church. There was a Colonial Era folk dance in era-appropriate costumes, a local inspiration band, and countless students who presented songs and poems in his honor. The school was decorated in yellow and white. Romero’s bust by the front door was arched by balloons and draped in gorgeous red flowers.
COAR was the very first institution named in Romero’s honor following his death in 1980. But, that was a truly violent and momentous year. In March, Oscar Romero was assasinated while celebrating a Memorial Mass at the chapel of Divina Providencia – a hospital on the outskirts of the city. In August, Father Ken Myers began work creating would would become COAR Children’s Village in Zaragoza and in November of 1980, the 4 Church women who had come to El Salvador to serve the people, inspiried by Romero, were themselves murdered horrifically. COAR celebrated the incredible news that at last, Oscar Romero will be beatified. But, we also remembered the many church leaders, nuns, catechists, volunteers and lay people who gave their lives in service to God and to the People of El Salvador.