Rutilio Grande Sermon
Tony Ferrari, RS Major
When many hear the name Rutilio Grande S.J., they often think of Oscar Romero. Knowing Grande as the friend of Romero does not even begin to describe how important Grande was; prior to his assassination of 1977, Grande was an advocate for the poor and a warrior for social justice. In his ministry program, he taught the campesinos (peasants), empowered them with the teachings of the Gospel, and encouraged them to organize and advocate for their human rights. In addition to this, Grande was an incredible speaker who wrote powerful homilies that demanded justice.
While in the class Salvadoran Martyrs, taught by Ana Maria Pineda, R.S.M., I learned how important Grande was as an innovator and a martyr, a person whose love cannot be measured. Thus, I wanted to learn as much as I could about Grande. I wanted to hear his words in order to be further inspired. I looked to find anything that he had written, something that would allow me to further encounter him. Although many of his sermons were likely destroyed by the government, I learned that there are a few of his sermons that have been saved. I was particularly interested in the "Apopa" sermon, the sermon that likely provoked his death. Immediately, after reading it in Spanish, I was amazed by the inspiring and powerful words of the sermon. And yet, I was even more surprised that the sermon had never been translated into English. I couldn't believe it. Instead of waiting for a publishing company to realize their mistake, I decided to spearhead a translation project myself. I consulted my professor, Ana Maria Pineda R.S.M., and she helped me brainstorm ways to make this idea a reality. I contacted the Ignatian Center and they were interested in publishing the sermon on their website. With their help, we contacted the Universidad Centroamericana in order to receive permission to do the translation. Thus, we could begin the project. My Modern Languages professor, Irene Bubula-Phillips, was the primary translator of the project. In addition, Carlos Duran, S.J., Olga Pavisich Ryan, and Jake Schneider assisted as additional translators, review the initial translation. With all of their work, we were able to publish the first section of the sermon on the anniversary of Oscar Romero's death, in honor of Rutilio Grande and Oscar Romero's friendship. I invite everyone to read Rutilio Grande's "Apopa" sermon; his critique of oppression and inequality is still very relevant to our world. After praying and reflecting on his words, we can participate on his mission of building a world where love and justice reign.