The Chaparrastique volcano in eastern El Salvador that erupted Sunday, December 29, 2013, spewing ashes over the coffee growing countryside and prompting the immediate evacuation of people within three miles of the volcano, has links to Archbishop Óscar A. Romero (1917-1980). [More on the eruption.]
- Romero originated in the province where the volcano is located, which was formerly itself called Chaparrastique and is now known as San Miguel. The volcano is therefore also referred as “the San Miguel volcano.” According to local belief, San Miguel was saved from a 1787 eruption of the volcano by the intercession of Our Lady Queen of Peace, who is venerated there. Romero was a life-long devotee and he cared for the statue as a priest.
- The Sunday morning eruption is threatening various towns and hamlets in Romero’s home province of San Miguel, as well as in another region, called Santiago de Maria, where Romero served as bishop in the 1970s, before he was appointed archbishop of El Salvador’s capital, San Salvador, located 85 miles to the west.
- Before Romero was ordained a bishop, he served as editor of San Miguel’s diocesan newspaper—also called Chaparrastique. He served in this capacity from 1961 to 1967, a longer stretch than his term as Archbishop of San Salvador (1977-1980), for which he is much better remembered.
The eruption of Chaparastique may yet be seen as an auspicious omen for Óscar Romero—that the earth itself where he was born clamors for his recognition ...