BY CHRIS KERR | March 12, 2012
Today we remember the life of Fr. Rutilio Grande, S.J., who was murdered in El Salvador in 1977 at the hands of Salvadoran paramilitary soldiers. Grande is most often referenced for his friendship with the late Archbishop Oscar Romero, who Rutilio enlightened by sharing the stories of the marginalized people to whom he ministered. Grande’s death caused Romero to analyze even more critically the realities of El Salvador as he developed into a passionate voice for the economically poor and marginalized. However, most notable of Grande’s ministry may be his commitment to providing a voice for people in their experience of Christian faith. In Aguilares where Grande was serving when he was murdered, interaction with the Gospels by the laity was core to his ministry. Grande allowed people to experience the personal Christ in their struggle, to feel a deeper connection to his suffering and his resurrection.
More can be learned about Fr. Grande from a reflection written by Joseph Mulligan, S.J., a U.S. Jesuit who has been serving in Central America for many years. The reflection is entitled: “Remembering a Jesuit Martyr” from A Globe of Witness.
Chris joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) as executive director in 2011. He has over fifteen years of experience in social justice advocacy and leadership in Catholic education and ministry. Prior to ISN he served in multiple roles at John Carroll University, including coordinating international immersion experience and social justice education programming as an inaugural co-director of John Carroll’s Arrupe Scholars Program for Social Action. Prior to his time at John Carroll he served as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and secondary levels in Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Chris speaks regularly at campuses and parishes about social justice education and advocacy, Jesuit mission, and a broad range of social justice issues. He currently serves on the board of directors for Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ). Chris earned a B.A. and M.A. from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He and his family reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio.