“Each one of us possesses greatness. God would not be my Author if I were something useless. I am worth a lot, you are worth a lot, we are all worth a lot because we are creatures of God, and God has poured out his gifts on each person. That is why the church values human beings and fights for their rights, for their freedom, for their dignity.”
Saint Oscar Romero (August 15, 1917 – March 24, 1980) was the fourth Archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador. When he was appointed, Romero was seen as a conservative choice who would not challenge the ruling junta in El Salvador. Following the murder of a priest and personal friend, in addition to the disappearance of civilians who challenged the government, Romero realized that he could no longer be silent. He became an outspoken advocate for the oppressed amid a growing civil war. His radio broadcasts were heard throughout the country, during which he would rebuke the government’s human rights abuses and read a list of the disappearances, tortures, and murders occurring throughout the country. In 1980, he was assassinated while celebrating Mass in the chapel of the hospital. Known as a “voice for the voiceless,” St. Romero was canonized by Pope Francis on October 14, 2018, who said, “His ministry was distinguished by particular attention to the most poor and marginalized.”
The Romero crest includes five primary symbols: the palm branch, clashing swords, a cross moline, a bishop’s insignia, and a triple sprig of rosemary. The palm branch represents both El Salvador and Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem. The swords represent both the violence that Romero condemned and his bravery in confronting it. The cross moline is also featured in the Catholic Central crest, connecting Romero not only with the school community, but also the city of Grand Rapids and the Grand River as the cross models a fish hook in reference to Saint Peter. The bishop’s insignia represents Romero’s position in San Salvador, and the rosemary is taken from his bishop’s crest as a representation of love, fidelity, and loyalty.The Latin phrase Justitia et Pax translates to “justice and peace,” two words that summarize Saint Romero’s dedication to fighting for the cause of the oppressed so that we may one day bring the peace of God’s Kingdom to earth.