Father Miguel Vasquez Hernandez knew the four U.S. women missionaries who were raped and murdered by Salvadoran National Guard soldiers in December 1980.
As a newly ordained priest, he served the same poor in the same area of the country as did Maryknoll Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel and lay missioner Jean Donovan.
Father Vasquez also knew the six Jesuit professors at Central American University, who were slain execution-style on the campus in November 1989. They taught him when he was a seminarian nine years earlier.
But Father Vasquez also knew very well San Salvador Archbishop Oscar Romero, gunned down as he was celebrating Mass on March 25, 1980.
Like all bishops, Archbishop Romero took a special and personal interest in his seminarians, Father Vasquez told nearly 100 people at the annual memorial, held this year at St. Sabina Parish, for the archbishop who has become a symbol of service to the poor to the point of sacrificing life.
“When they killed Archbishop Romero, I devoted myself to working with the poor and the refugees,” Father Vasquez told the gathering March 20.
Now the pastor of San Bartolome Parish in an area outside of San Salvador that was hit hard by the civil war that raged through the 1980s, Father Vasquez said that Archbishop Romero remains alive in the people he serves.
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- Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator