VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday recalled the 1980 slaying of El Salvador archbishop and human rights activist Oscar Romero, and praised those who lost their lives in carrying out their mission for the Roman Catholic Church.
Benedict reminded pilgrims in St. Peter's Square that Saturday [March 25th] had been the anniversary of Romero's killing, and that the church had dedicated the day to prayer and fasting for missionary martyrs.
He described they martyrs as "bishops, priests, other men and women clergy and lay people cut down in carrying out their mission of evangelization and human promotion."
Benedict said martyrs represent hope for the world "because they testify that the love of Christ is stronger than violence and hate."
With song and prayer on Saturday, hundreds of Salvadorans in the capital, San Salvador, mark the 27th anniversary of Romero's slaying.
The day before Romero was gunned down in a chapel, he had called on the military to halt its repressive tactics. During El Salvador's 12-year civil war, the [*U.S. backed and financed] military was blamed for death squads that killed thousands of suspected guerrillas and leftist opponents of the military-led government.
The Vatican is considering Romero for possible sainthood.