Salvadorans hope new pope will advance sainthood for martyred Archbishop Romero

Thousands of Salvadorans have made a Palm Sunday march through the streets of San Salvador to honor the martyred Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero and express hope the new pope will advance him along the path to sainthood.

Many marchers carried signs referring to Romero as a saint after emerging from Mass at the church where he was assassinated 33 years ago by gunmen linked to the military government of the time.

Romero had criticized the violence of the Central American nation's government and defended the poor. His killing exacerbated a civil war that continued for 12 more years.

Leaders of El Salvador's church say they hope new Pope Francis will beatify Romero. And the capital's Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas told worshippers Sunday that Romero warrants being canonized, or sainted.