On January 20, 1979, Fr. Octavio Ortiz, and young companions — Angel Morales, Jorge Alberto Gomez, Roberto Orellano, and David Alberto Caballeros — were killed during retreat in the El Despertar center, in San Antonio Abad, just outside of San Salvador, El Salvador.
Early in the morning the army came in the retreat center, breaking down the doors, and crushing the head of the young priest, Father Octavio Ortiz, under a tank. Trying to hide their crime, the Salvadoran army put the bodies of the four youths killed on the roof of the retreat center with guns and claimed that there was a fire fight. This tactic continues to this day in many parts of the world, lying to cover up government crimes.
At the funeral of Father Octavio on January 21, 1979, Monseñor Oscar Romero said:
“Octavio [Ortiz] found a treasure; he was sharing it with those youths. This is the great message of Octavio and those who died: the form of this world is passing away and the only thing left is the joy of having worked for the Reign of God in this world. All the pomp, all the victories, all the egoistical capitalism, all the successes in life shall pass away.
“What is not passing is love, the conversion into service of money, goods, and professional talents and the act of sharing and making all people feel like brothers and sisters. At the end of life, you shall be judged by your love. In this, God has judged Octavio and the deceased youths: in their love.”