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Hundreds of Salvadorans made a Palm Sunday march through the streets of the capital under a scorching sun as they urged new Pope Francis to put a murdered archbishop on the path to sainthood.
"We are very excited" to mark the 33rd anniversary of archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero's assassination "because we believe Pope Francis will beatify monsignor Romero," said Rosa Gavidia, a septuagenarian activist of basic ecclesial communities. "For us as the people, monsignor Romero is a saint."
Gavidia, who has participated in the processions every year since Romero was killed in March 1980, joined a group of parishioners who carried flowers and pictures from the neighboring community of San Antonio Abad.
"Beatifying monsignor Romero is an obligation that the pope cannot avoid if he wants to be consistent with his message of justice. He should do so soon," said Porfirio Melgar, a 51-year-old anesthesiologist.
Romero was assassinated on March 24 1980 by gunmen linked to El Salvador's right-wing military government at the time in the midst of a brutal civil war that began in 1979 and ended in 1992.