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Statue of slain Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero to be unveiled at MacArthur Park (photos)

It's been a project more than a decade in the making — a bronze statue of a slain Salvadoran archbishop is being unveiled Saturday at MacArthur Park.

Monsignor Oscar Romero is a revered figure for many Central Americans. The Catholic archbishop was shot and killed in 1980 during El Salvador's civil war while holding Mass.

Tens of thousands of people died during the 12-year civil war sparking an exodus of Salvadorans. Many of them settled in places such as Los Angeles, Central Florida, Houston and Washington D.C.

The Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund is the organization behind the project.

Its executive director, Carlos Vaquerano, told KPCC that having the monument placed in the Westlake neighborhood is a big deal for the community, which has one of the largest concentrations of Central Americans in the U.S.

"Monsignor Romero represents for us a symbol of hope, someone who fought for the right things,” said Vaquerano. “He was a very spiritual guy. He wasn't a politician. You know, he was just the archbishop for the poor."

The six-and-a-half-foot, 450-pound statue was made in El Salvador by local artist Joaquin Serrano, 68.

"He's a very humble individual who lives in San Salvador," said Vaquerano. "He was chosen among [several candidates]. And we're very happy with his work."

Serrano will be among dignitaries taking part in the unveiling Saturday, which include Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Democratic state Senator Kevin de Leon.

The event begins at 11:30 a.m.and runs until 1 p.m. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified where the artist was from.