By Gloria Marisela Morán (English translation by Rebel Girl)
March 6, 2014
According to Jesuit priest José María Tojeira, the Archbishop of San Salvador, Msgr. José Luis Escobar, announced at the meeting of the clergy on March 4th that he would be initiating an investigation into the life of Father Rutilio Grande (foreground, right) and thus initiating the cause for his beatification.
Rutilio Grande was assassinated on March 12th, 1977. The crime was attributed to the Guardia Nacional because of his commitment to the poorest classes in El Salvador. He was ambushed as he was going to preside at a Mass in El Paisnal, a township of San Salvador. With him were assassinated his two collaborators, Manuel Solórzano and young Nelson Rutilio Lemus.
Tojeira said that Escobar mentioned, in front of more than 100 priests, that he would be initiating proceedings for the beatification of Father Rutilio Grande and would appoint a priest to begin the investigation.
"A diocesan process must be opened. This isn't open yet but the Archbishop said he has now appointed a priest to go look for material to be able to open the diocesan process for the case of the beatification of Rutilio Grande as a martyr," Tojeira said.
Rutilio Grande, in his homilies and work, always featured denunciations of the inequalities of the period, and his assassination was to silence his denunciations. It was precisely this event that inspired then Archbishop of San Salvador, Msgr. Oscar Arnulfo Romero, to denounce social injustice. Romero was assassinated for the same reason on March 24th, 1980.
"We must give a lot of information about him. We are very willing to offer it. It's an honor for us that the Archbishop has fixed his eyes on Rutilio Grande and wants to initiate the beatification process. We have been convinced that he's a martyr and we were waiting for Msgr. Romero to be beatified before introducing the cause of Rutilio's beatification, but the Archbishop has gone ahead," Tojeira told ContraPunto.
In fact, the actions and life of Father Rutilio have been remembered in various ways in his town and outside. One of these memorials of his vision was the mural in the El Paisnal parish (see above). A mural that was removed in 2013.
"Rutilio was a great priest, a man very concerned about the training of the clergy and always aware of accompanying the peasants and the poor, and in that sense he was a man of priestly life and also life for the neediest. In our time he is a demanding role model, a person who gave his life to serve the poorest," said Tojeira, explaining the priest's importance for the Salvadoran community.