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Toronto Catholic District School Board

School History And Tradition

Archbishop Romero School front viewEstablished in 1989 as the first Catholic high school in the City of York, the original school consisted of 200 grade 9 students, 18 teachers and three support staff members housed in what was previously York Humber Secondary School. November 1992 marked the start of a $12-million construction project that transformed the original building into a state-of-the-art facility. At a special ceremony on May 7, 1995 the school was officially opened and blessed.

We look to Archbishop Oscar Romero, our patron, as an example of the good news in action. Like Jesus Christ, he challenged and questioned the injustices and the suffering of the poor in his country. Through his writings, we can come to understand this man who is a role model for all students in our school community. 

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Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador

A Priest of Peace (1917 - 1980)

Father Romero was a bright and honest priest who prayed and cared for his people.  He knew that most people in his country, El Salvador, were very poor.  He knew that most of the land was owned by a handful of very rich families.  But, this did not stop him from helping the poor.  He was kind and generous to all people and was popular among his fellow priests.

In 1970, he became bishop.  Seven years later, the Pope name him Archbishop of San Salvador, the capital of his country.  Archbishop Romero listened to the poor farmers.  Slowly, Archbishop Romero changed.  He realized that the poor were poor because rich and powerful families kept them from owning land and earning money to live decent lives.  It was during this support of the poor, that many priests were arrested, tortured or killed.

Archbishop Romero stood up and spoke out for justice and against violence.  He took every opportunity to speak out against the injustice committed against the poor.  He urged people to respect each other's rights and lives.  His sermons became very popular in the country.  Many listened with earphones for fear they would be tortured or killed if they were caught listening to Archbishop Romero.  The more popular Archbishop Romero became, the more he was in danger.  Many of the wealthy Catholics opposed him and some of his fellow bishops disagreed with his strong statements.

Archbishop Romero strongly believed that the Church must stand with the poor and speak up for their rights.  He began to speak out more clearly against the death squads and the armed forces that supported the killers of innocent people.  He also spoke out against the goverment, challenging the country's leaders to stop the violence and injustice.

Archbishop Romero knew that he could be killed, but that the voice of justice could never die.  He continued to speak out until March 24, 1980.  At 6:30, that evening, he was celebrating Mass in a hospital.  Two men walked up to the altar after the homily and shot the Archbishop through the heart.  His courageous stand in the face of persecution recognizes Christ's call to us all to be people of justice.

Archbishop Romero's last words described the grain of wheat that must die in order to bear fruit. Like his Saviour, he died poor, forgiving his murderers.  He was buried in the cathedral where he had preached justice.  A fellow bishop called him, "Saint Romero of the Americas."  Now people from many nations come to his tomb to find strength in their struggles, which, in the spirit of Romero, unites them all.  Whenever we struggle against violence, we struggle against injustice; we are all Romero's people.