Father Rutilio Grande was born in 1928 into a poor family in El Paisnal in El Salvador; he began pursuing his vocation to be a pastor at a young age, getting to know Luis Chavez, the Archbishop of San Salvador, as a teenager and entering the Jesuits at age 17. Father Grande was ordained in 1959 and served as the prefect of discipline and the professor of pastoral theology in the diocesan seminary from 1965 to 1970. He became the pastor of Aguilares in 1972 and encouraged the local population to fight for land reform and justice; he also became a member of the priests’ senate in 1974. Father Grande understood that as a priest, what was demanded of him was an example of loving service and self-sacrifice, an understanding exemplified in his most famous sermon on February 13, 1977.
On February 13, 1977, Father Grande said mass in honor of a Colombian priest who had been recently arrested in El Salvador and deported without charges. In his sermon, he declared: “I’m quite aware that very soon the Bible and the Gospel won’t be allowed to cross our borders…because all the pages are subversive. And I think that if Jesus himself came across the border at Chalatengo, they wouldn’t let him in…without any doubt, they would crucify him again.” As a direct result of this sermon, on March 12, while driving from Aguilares to El Paisnal with 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus and 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano, his car was sprayed with gunfire and he died instantly.
Shannon Doyle is a Junior at John Carroll university from Westfield, NJ. Last semester she studied at NUI Maynooth in Ireland. She is majoring in sociology with a minor in Peace, Justice, and Human Rights and is planning to complete her masters in Non-Profit Administration. She bacame interested in the Ignatian Solidarity network after attending the Ignatian Family Teach-in last fall. She has been involved in many volunteer activities in and outside of campus including volunteering each summer at Sister Pat’s Kids Camp in New York for kids with cancer and blood disorders. last summer she also volunteered with the York Street Project in Jersey City which helps young mothers complete their high school degree. At John Carroll she is also President of the Carroll Cinema Society and a member of the Ultimate Frisbee Team.