August 19, 2014 // Local

ND conference to explore Romero contributions

NOTRE DAME — A major three-day international conference that will explore the past and present theological contributions of Archbishop Oscar Romero, and his enduring impact upon daily life in Latin America will be held Sept. 25-28 at the Hesburgh Center for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

On March 24, 1980, Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero was assassinated by a hired killer while celebrating Mass at a Carmelite chapel located in the Hospital de la Divina Providencia of San Salvador.

Only a few days before his tragic death, Romero told an editor of the Mexican magazine Excelsior: “If they kill me, I will rise again in the people of El Salvador. … If they manage to carry out their threats, as of now, I offer my blood for the redemption and resurrection of El Salvador. If God accepts the sacrifice of my life, then may my blood be the seed of liberty and the sign that hope will soon become a reality. May my death, if it is accepted by God, be for the liberation of my people, as a witness of hope in what is to come. … A bishop may die, but the Church of God, which is in the people, will never die.”

Exploration of the international significance of the life and martyrdom of Archbishop Romero upon the Church of the future, and continuation of Archbishop Romero’s staunch opposition to violence, poverty, social injustice and oppression is the raison d’ être for the annual Romero Days symposiums and lectures, which have been held at Notre Dame every March since 1987, and for the International Conference on Archbishop Óscar Romero, being held at the University of Notre Dame.

This international gathering is sponsored by generous support from Latin American/North American Church Concerns (LANACC), The Kellogg Institute for International Studies, The Institute for Latino Studies (ILS), The Center for Social Concerns (CSC), The Department of Theology, The Institute for Scholarship in Liberal Arts (ISLA) — all at the University of Notre Dame — and by anonymous donors.

To honor Romero’s martyrdom and his message, the conference is bringing together approximately two dozen internationally-recognized Romero experts including Msgr. Ricardo Urioste, president of the Fundación Óscar Arnulfo Romero and a personal friend of Msgr. Romero; Dominican Father Gustavo Gutiérrez, John Cardinal O’Hara Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame; James Creagan, former U.S. Ambassador to Honduras; Roberto Cuéllar, executive director of the Interamerican Institute of Human Rights and formerly Romero’s attorney and legal advisor; Michael Lee, associate professor of Systematic Theology at Fordham University; Julian Filochowski, chair of the Archbishop Romero Trust in England and author of Romero’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize; Claudia Bernardi, professor of community arts at the California College of the Arts and member of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, which exhumed mass graves in El Salvador, Guatemala and Ethiopia; Damian Zynda, director of Christian formation at the Church of the Transfiguration; Tom Kelly, associate professor of systematic theology at Creighton University; Guadalupe Montalvo, who will offer a personal account of what Romero’s efforts meant to her and to her fellow community members at Perquin, El Salvador, and other distinguished experts from around the world.

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