The Archbishop Romero Lecture has been offered on the campus of the University of Notre Dame every year since 1987. About ten years ago, the university press helpfully published a collection of many of the most significant of these in book form, as Monsignor Romero: A Bishop for the Third Millennium. It serves as an excellent little primer on the person, the ministry, the martyrdom, and the legacy of Oscar Romero.
Authors of these lecturers include leaders in the church and politics and several people who knew Romero personally. The result is a small volume (about 120 pages in all) that offers lots of interesting and enlightening insights into
- Romero’s personality (for example, in addition to his strongest and most admirable qualities, one lecture reminds us that he was also shy, impatient, and had some difficulty communicating constructively with some of his priests);
- his fierce commitment to and love for the institutional church (expressed prominently, for example, in the pastoral letters he published);
- his friendship with Fr. Rutilio Grande, whose death became the catalyst of a dramatic conversion;
- the liberation theology that he grew increasingly to appreciate and embrace as an incisive diagnosis of the causes of the suffering of his people;
- the meaning and relevance of his life and his death to North American Catholics today;
- and more.
This book is well worth the time. I recommend it.