Throughout his time as Archbishop of San Salvador (1977-1980), Oscar Romero continually pointed to Catholic Social Teaching as a way of understanding and orienting how the Christian faith is to be lived in the contemporary world. As we approach the 40th anniversary of Romero’s martyrdom, the 35th annual Romero Days conference will bring together a distinguished group of scholars to both critically engage the role of Catholic Social Teaching within Romero’s life, witness, and writings, and explore Romero’s legacy in light of contemporary work for justice and human development. Speakers will address Romero’s Salvadoran context, his overall relationship to Catholic Social Teaching, his employment of particular Catholic Social Teaching principles, and how his legacy might be received today.

Undergraduate and graduate students in all programs at Notre Dame are invited to submit a paper proposal for the Romero Days 2020 conference. Proposed papers must address either Romero or Catholic Social Teaching, with a strong preference for works that address both. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following: analyses of aspects of Romero’s life or writings in light of Catholic Social Teaching; explorations of Romero’s use of Catholic Social Teaching; productive applications of Catholic Social Teaching to concrete situations locally, nationally, or globally, whether in the past or present; theoretical engagements with the logic and coherence of Catholic Social Teaching as a whole or particular ideas within it; interdisciplinary work on Catholic Social Teaching and/or the life of Romero.

  • Proposal length: your proposal should be no more than 300 words in length. It should clearly detail the contribution of the paper to an important field of study as well as how the paper fits within the Romero Days 2020 conference theme of “Oscar Romero and Catholic Social Teaching.”
  • Deadline for Submission: Dec 1, 2019; you will be notified by email regarding whether or not the paper was accepted by Dec 15.
  • Papers will be presented during the Romero Days 2020 Conference on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

If you have any questions regarding your proposal or proposal process, please contact Todd Walatka (



Rev. Robert S. Pelton, C.S.C. Memorial Essay Contest

The Rev. Robert Pelton Memorial Essay Contest honors the legacy of the late Fr. Bob Pelton, missionary priest, founder of Latin American North American Church Concerns (LANACC), and tireless advocate of Saint Archbishop Óscar Romero and the principles of social justice and Church renewal. The essays should treat some aspect of the Catholic Church of Latin America and/or ecclesial collaboration between North and South. Essays on Latino Catholicism are also welcome. They must be original essays that were written in the last three years, but they need not be essays written for a specific class. There is no limit to the length, but awards will generally be given to essays that are at least five pages in length. Participants may not submit to more than one category.


Undergraduate Contest:
1st place: $500
Runners-up: 2 awards of $100

Graduate Student Contest:
One award of $150

Alumni Contest:
One award of $150

To be considered for the 2020 awards, essays must be submitted online by 11:59pm on March 6, 2020.
Awards will be presented at the Romero Days 2020 conference on Tuesday, March 24.

For more information, please contact Lupe Ramírez.

Romero Days 2020 Conference Schedule (Preliminary)


Monday, March 23rd

Location: Hesburgh Center for International Studies, C103 (unless otherwise stated)

8:30-9:00am             Registrations Check-In

9:00-9:10am             Welcome Address
Todd Walatka, University of Notre Dame

9:10-10:30am           Session 1: Romero in Context
Sr. Ana Maria Pineda, Santa Clara University—Romero and Rutilio Grande
Michael Lee, Fordham University—Romero and Liberation Theology

10:40am-12:00pm   Session 2: Catholic Social Teaching and the Option for the Poor
Margie Pfeil, University of Notre Dame—Romero and Catholic Social Teaching
Edgardo Colón-Emeric, Duke Divinity School—Romero and the Option for the Poor

12:00-1:30pm           Lunch

1:30-3:00pm             Session 3: Human Dignity
David Lantigua, University of Notre Dame—Romero, CST, and Human Dignity
Carmen Nanko-Fernández, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago—Romero’s Legacy for Human Dignity Today

3:00-3:30pm             Coffee Break

3:30-5:00pm             Session 4: The Common Good
Stephen J. Pope, Boston College—Romero, the Common Good, and Economic Justice
Nichole Flores, University of Virginia—Romero, the Common Good, and Social Movements

Tuesday, March 24th

Location: Hesburgh Center for International Studies, C103 (unless otherwise stated)

9:00-9:10am             Recap of Day 1 and Introduction to Day 2
Todd Walatka

9:10-10:30am           Session 1: Peace
Kevin J. Burke, S.J., Regis College—Romero, CST, and Peace
José Henriquez, National University of Ireland—Theology and Peacekeeping in Light of Romero

10:40am-12:00pm   Session 2: Solidarity
Meghan Clark, St. John’s University—Romero, CST, and Solidarity
Elizabeth O’Donnell Gandolfo, Wake Forest Divinity School—Solidarity, Base Communities, and the People of God

12:00-1:30pm           Lunch

1:30-3:00pm             Session 3: Romero and the Practice of Catholic Social Teaching
Rubén Rosario Rodríguez, Saint Louis University—Romero, CST, and Racism
Matthew Phillip Whelan, Baylor University—Romero and Land Reform
Leo Guardado, Fordham University—The Church as Sanctuary and CST

3:00-3:15pm             Coffee Break

3:15-4:15pm             Notre Dame Student Presentations

4:15-4:45pm             Closing Reflections
Todd Walatka
Peter Casarella, University of Notre Dame

5:15-6:15pm             Romero Martyrdom Anniversary Mass
Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame

6:30-8:30pm             Reception and Banquet Dinner
Conferral of the Annual Rev. Robert S. Pelton, CSC Essay Contest Awards
Location: The Oak Room, South Dining Hall

Peter Casarella
Meghan J. Clark
Nicole M. Flores
Elizabeth O’Donnell Gandalfo
José A. Henríquez
David Lantigua
Michael E. Lee
Carmen M. Nanko-Fernández
Margaret Pfeil
Ana María Pineda
Stephen J. Pope
Kevin J. Burke
Ruben Rosario Rodriguez
Todd Walatka
Matthew Whalen


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