40 Years: Remembering Padre Rutilio Grande

On March 12, 1977, Father Rutilio Grande was driving on the road between Aguilares and El Paisnal. An old man and a boy were riding with him.  Because he was an advocate for education, because he worked to organize poor farmers in his community, because he believed in freedom for the oppressed people around him, Father Rutilio Grande was assassinated.  Every year on the anniversary of his death, people who were and are inspired by Father Rutilio's life work gather to honor his memory.

With friends from communities repopulated after the war, with friends from the Catholic church and with friends from the Lutheran Church, we walked the route from "The Three Crosses" - the memorial by the side of the road, the place where an old man, a boy and their priest lost their lives - to the town of El Paisnal.  We listened, we walked, we hugged, we sang, we held hands, we took photos, and we sat for a while in the church.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Rutilio Grande's death, and there is hope among the faithful people of El Salvador, that Father Rutilio will soon be beatified - a step in the formal process of being named a saint in the Roman Catholic tradition.  Like Monseñor Oscar Romero, Father Rutilio Grande is a role model and an inspiration to many people from a variety of faith traditions.

The banner shown in the photos near the end of this collection, holds the names of many people who lost their lives because they stood up for justice and dignity for all.


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