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A Life of Faith and Courage

Anthony Ferrari, '15

On Saturday March 12th, 1977, Rutilio Grande, was on his way to celebrate mass in the town of El Paisnal. An old man, Manuel Solorzano, and a young man, Nelson Rutilio Lemus, accompanied him. While driving through the sugarcane fields, Rutilio and his companions were assassinated by machine gun fire. Rutilio Grande’s death foreshadowed the Salvadoran Civil War, in which many Catholic priests, nuns, and laypeople were martyred. Rutilio Grande was killed before the civil war began, twelve years before the deaths of the martyrs at the Universidad Centroamericana. While he is considered the first Catholic martyr of El Salvador, Rutilio Grande was also a member of the Jesuit order and a native son of El Salvador.

When I reflect upon my experience at Santa Clara University, I am reminded of the school’s commitment to building a more humane, and just world. The crosses in front of the Santa Clara mission commemorate the Jesuits who were killed with their housekeeper and her daughter at the Universidad Centroamericana in El Salvador. These crosses call me to reflect upon all of the martyrs of the world who died in pursuit of justice, including the many martyrs whose names we will never know. To give up one’s life for the sake of humanity is the ultimate act of Christian faith. Martyrdom is an act of pure love; it is the culmination of a full giving of the self. It is a gift of love that we all receive. Thus, I invite us to reflect upon the life of Rutilio Grande, S.J., the first Catholic priest to be martyred in El Salvador. We remember Rutilio Grande’s utter fearlessness, in which he demanded human dignity and justice for the sake of the marginalized, despite being in immediate danger. Remembering that we are a Jesuit university that is called by the gospel to make a preferential option for the poor, I call us to reflect upon how we will receive Rutilio Grande’s gift of love. How can we live lives of faith and courage, in pursuit of a more humane and just world?

On Saturday March 12th, 1977, Rutilio Grande, was on his way to celebrate mass in the town of El Paisnal. An old man, Manuel Solorzano, and a young man, Nelson Rutilio Lemus, accompanied him. While driving through the sugarcane fields, Rutilio and his companions were assassinated by machine gun fire. Rutilio Grande’s death foreshadowed the Salvadoran Civil War, in which many Catholic priests, nuns, and laypeople were martyred. Rutilio Grande was killed before the civil war began, twelve years before the deaths of the martyrs at the Universidad Centroamericana. While he is considered the first Catholic martyr of El Salvador, Rutilio Grande was also a member of the Jesuit order and a native son of El Salvador.

Many remember Rutilio Grande for his friendship with Oscar Romero, bishop of San Salvador. Some consider Rutilio Grande’s death to be a pivotal moment in Oscar Romero’s life, which further inspired Romero to speak out and seek justice for the oppressed. Ultimately, it is impossible to measure the full extent to which Rutilio Grande influenced and inspired those around him. After all, Rutilio Grande continues to inspire those that are working to build a more humane and just world. Yet, while Rutilio Grande was a close friend of Oscar Romero, one should remember that Rutilio Grande was an innovator and warrior for justice in his own right. Inspired by the Second Vatican Council, Rutilio Grande pioneered a ministry program, which established Christian Base Communities and brought the gospel to impoverished, rural communities. Using the Gospel as his framework, Rutilio Grande sought to empower the people and reaffirm their inherent human rights.

Most of all, Rutilio Grande should be remembered for courageously living out his faith. In his sermons, he regularly spoke out against the government for their oppressive and unjust actions against the campesinos. Of his sermons, Rutilio Grande is famous for the Sermón de Apopa, which many people consider to have provoked his death. In the sermon, Rutilio proclaims the equality of the children of God and criticizes the Salvadoran government for deporting a priest, Mario Bernal. Rutilio Grande uses the metaphor of the communal table to declare the love of God’s kingdom and that God has created the material world for everyone to share. In addition, he reminds us that the Gospel message of truth and justice is often considered subversive, especially when surrounded by unjust and oppressive social structures. With so many people still struggling against poverty and oppression, Rutilio Grande’s call for justice is still very relevant to the world. Thus, in the next few weeks, we will be publishing Rutilio Grande’s Apopa Sermon in multiple installments. We begin this publication on March 24th, the anniversary of Oscar Romero’s death, in honor of Rutilio Grande’s friendship with Oscar Romero and their shared commitment to justice. Please pray and reflect on Rutilio Grande’s sermon in such a way that we can continue his mission of building foundations of justice and equality for the Kingdom of God,

¡Rutilio Vive!
Anthony Ferrari

Note of Context: Rutilio Grande delivered this sermon at a demonstration protesting the kidnapping and deportation of a priest, Father Mario Bernal. At the demonstration, the people marched in a procession, which ended with a mass in front of the Apopa church.

Apopa Homily
February 13, 1977

Preamble and clarifications

Dear brothers, [sisters] and friends,

The invitation has traveled through the valleys, the countryside and the villages where the voice of our dear Father Bernal would resonate through the waves with his classic “All right?!” when he handled the Bible.

I would like to tell you, then, this invitation was sent to the Christian communities in the parishes of Guazapa, Nejapa, Quezaltepeque, Opico, Ciudad Arce, Aguilares and Tacachico. Our Vicar said that they are the parishes north of La Libertad and San Salvador.

We held an emergency meeting, the priests together with the Christian faithful of our parish, and we agreed precisely to have this demonstration of faith. We clearly announced that we would meet at the gas station and from there we would march in an orderly and organized fashion all together, united, in solidarity, confessing our faith, and then we would finish with the Eucharist that is the greatest commitment and the symbol of what Father Mario Bernal preached and defended.

It’s the symbol of a communal table, with a seat for each one and long tablecloths for all.
It is the symbol of Creation, for which Redemption is needed.
It is already being sealed by martyrdom!

Specific instructions on disciplined behavior were given. We are not responsible for every flier that was distributed. The official statement of the Christian communities will be given at this mass, close to communion. All other fliers might be good or bad depending on the contents, but the Vicariate is not responsible for them. They might be good or bad depending on the contents.

We had also planned to make four stops, in which four brothers would take the word of God and confront our reality with it, letting it echoing it in the very reality of our people. This was also planned!


The Church as a service institution

Now, my dear brothers, [sisters] and friends, allow me to tell you this, after hearing the Good News and the Word of God in this reading from the Gospel. We are part of a church formed by laypeople – you are the majority of God’s people. And if we have climbed here on these stands, the only purpose for our ministry is to serve you. The word “minister” comes from “to minister”, meaning to serve God’s people. From the Pope to the Bishops to the last country priest, we are servants in the community that is God’s people.

The Church is certainly an institution. This is required for a series of logical reasons, provided that this institution faithfully embody the values of the gospel, in order to make the world more dynamic, making it ferment, like bread dough ferments with yeast, reactivating it.

Incarnate in the fragility of history

The Church must not be a museum of dead traditions, of gravediggers. It extends through all nations, languages, races and a diversity of cultures in the world, in the actual realities of the peoples. We are not talking in Japan, but rather here in our country, and the Word of God must become incarnate in this country.

We are aware of our fragility, our sins, and betrayals on the long road of history. We are a corporation of humans, the Church is human, from laypeople to Church leaders, priests and bishops and popes. We have confessed our faults and the constant need for individual and group conversion within the Church. The Pope has set an example of this on many occasions. Arriving in Jerusalem he threw himself on the dirty ground and recognized his fault and the fault of the Church for many of the sins of the world. The Pope is a weak man and a sinner, we are weak and sinners. This was said in one of the readings at the first stop: Where will we go to announce what the Lord gives to us, if we are poor?!

Conclusion. We are not here, in Apopa, this morning, a large number of parish communities are represented here, like a split sect of the Church, neither from the local Church, nor from the Universal Church. We feel part of this Church that we love, and we want to see it always renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the midst of its weaknesses, that are indeed there; in the midst of evil, in the midst of all the problems of the world. We love it, not only for what the Church should be, but also for what it is already, in need of constant conversion.

First part. Equality of God’s children

My dear friends, before we get to the central topic of this Eucharist, allow me to elaborate in this reflection. Father here has read the Gospel to us…

The Gospel that we have just heard is clear and clean like water coming down a mountain. Only the blind cannot understand it!

Jesus was a walking pilgrim among the people. He would travel through towns and villages. He would preach the Good News of God’s Kingdom in every hamlet, in every place, at every crossroad. And what are the guidelines of that Kingdom, of his first message? They are well defined, they are very clear, they are very precise. It takes evil; it takes blindness not to understand them!

We, all human beings, have one common Father. Then we are all children of this Father, although we were born from the different mothers here on earth. Then all human beings are clearly brothers and sisters. All equal one to the other! But Cain is an abortion in God’s Plan, and groups of Cains do exist. He is also a negation of God’s Kingdom. Here in our country there are groups of Cains, and what is worse, they invoke God.

God, the Lord, in his plan for us, gave us a material world. Like this material mass, with the material bread and the material chalice that we will raise in honor of Christ, the Lord. A material world for everybody without borders. This is how Genesis describes it.

- It is not a matter that I say, “I bought half of El Salvador with my money, therefore it is my right and there is no right to discuss!”. It is a purchased right, because I have the right to buy half of El Salvador. It is a negation of God! There is no right that counts before those of the people!

Therefore the material world is for everyone, without borders. Therefore, a communal table with long tablecloths for everybody, like this Eucharist. Each one with a seat at the table. And let there be table, tablecloths and food for everybody.

There is a reason Christ chose to exemplify the Kingdom as a supper. He talked a lot of a banquet, of a supper. And he celebrated it the eve of his final commitment. He, at the age of 33, celebrated a farewell supper with his closest friends. And he said that that it was the great memorial of Redemption. A table shared in brotherhood, with a seat and a place for everyone.

Love, the Code of the Kingdom! It is the only key word that sums all the ethical codes of humankind; it elevates them and unites them into Jesus. It is the love of a shared brotherhood that breaks down and destroys all types of barriers, prejudice, and must overcome hatred itself. We are not here because we hate! We even love those Cains. Those are our enemies, - clearly they don’t understand this!

Christians do not have enemies. They are our brothers Cains. We do not hate anybody. Love that is conflictive and that requires of the believers and of the body of the Church, a moral violence. I did not say physical violence. Moral violence! I am saying it for the recorder, because I saw along the way recorders that do not belong to the faithful who were listening to Father Mario; they belong to the betrayers of the Word of God….
(Applause interruption)

Please let’s not applaud, this way we are not going to finish!

Love that is conflictive and that requires of the believers, and of the body of the Church, moral violence. I already said that we were not to come here with machetes. This is not our violence. The violence is in the Word of God that forces us and forces society, that unites us and gathers us together even when we are beaten. Therefore, the code can be summed in one word, LOVE: against hatred, against sin, against injustice, against human domination against the destruction of brotherhood.

The message of Jesus is not just to announce the Kingdom and denounce its antithesis. The gospel we have heard says word for word: “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.”

Besides bestowing people with his prophetic words –“nobody has spoken like this man”- he also puts at their disposal all his capabilities, his walks, his qualities and talents, his power as a miracle worker: “He healed every kind of disease and illness”, said the reader of the Word of God.

This means that the Lord was not indifferent to human pain. Not at all! The Lord gave bread and multiplied bread. This shows how his words became actions, as it is understood in the Bible: words are actions. He himself is the Word of the Father, he is action. He never stopped along the way.

My friends. As the Ecclesial Body, the Church and each one of us who forms it are prophets – as the brothers who preached the truth along our precession said. As an ecclesial body we continue Jesus’ mission. This body that is the Church and that encompasses entire communities, has the mission, that is the task, to announce and facilitate a favorable environment for God’s Kingdom here, in this world. It is necessary to embody the values of the Kingdom in the realities of our country to change it effectively, like yeast changes the dough.

One of our brothers already described very clearly the mission at the beginning of the procession. It is demanding: “I am sending you”. And it is telling that to the Church and also to each one of us: “Go and tell the people!”. And the people are made up of different groups. And the prophet must be confronted with the Word of God in his hand. The word of God is a pillar. It is the divine reality.

God’s message is like a thermometer and a pendulum to measure human realities, like a demand of the realities that involve all the different groups in our country: the Cains and those who are like Abel, that is, martyred, those who are being enslaved. Then, we all have a prophetic mission.

Second part. The danger of living the Gospel

But what brought us together on this day? Why are we in Apopa under the sun? You all, brothers (and sisters), we are very comfortable here in the shade!

What brought us together in Apopa, from all corners of the Vicariate and even other communities outside the borders of our Vicariate is the case of Father Mario. It is an ecclesiastical event. The Church cannot remain silent. She cannot stay out of this matter. We feel affected.

We hear it among the people: What are you going to do? All over the countryside, simple people, humble people, those who would listen to Father Mario on the air, were asking us – “What are you going to do?!”

Well, here we are! At least to give a symbolic and official demonstration of protest from the Church, from our communities, from this part of the Church Archdiocese. He was a priest in the local Church of San Salvador and specifically here, he was the pastor of Apopa, thus having a mission on behalf of the Church in this community.

Surprisingly he was expelled, after a chain of events that resulted in moral violence, with accusations that were never proven in trial, and with no opportunity to defend himself. Against all human rights of all the civilized nations of the world. I regret how his can happen in my country. If Father Mario committed a crime, then try him in court and publicly tell us the verdict. Even Jesus of Nazareth was given a public, albeit rigged, trial, on the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Not even this was granted to poor Father Mario.

- They tell me that he was a foreigner! Father Mario, a foreigner?! Certainly, and from Latin America. I wonder how in Latin America, discovered by Columbus, where we are all kneaded together with coffee with milk as well as blood, we can be foreigners! Can we be foreigners anywhere?

- From Colombia… All that talking about being Hispanic on October 12, many children waving little flags and applauding with their teachers. The day of Hispanic heritage, the day of Latin America. What does that mean?

He, a foreigner! But this is not the issue!

What is at stake is the fundamental question of being Christian today, of being a priest today in our country and on the continent that is suffering the hour of martyrdom. Whether or not to be faithful to the mission of Jesus under the real circumstances that we have to face in this country. This is a country where a poor priest or a poor catechist in our community can be falsely accused, threatened, taken away secretly in the middle of the night, possibly even attacked with a bomb. It happened! And if he is a foreigner, he will be kicked out. Many foreigners have been kicked out! But the fundamental question remains.

It is dangerous to be Christian in our midst! It is dangerous to be truly Catholic! It is practically illegal to be an authentic Christian here, in our country! Because out of necessity the world around us is rooted on an established disorder, in front of which the mere proclamation of the Gospel becomes subversive. That’s the way it must be, it cannot be otherwise! We are chained by disorder, not order!

What happens is that a priest or a simple Christian who practices his faith according to the basic and simple guidelines of Jesus’ message, must live faithfully between two demanding pillars: the revealed Word of God and the People. The same people, the great majority, the marginalized, the sick who cry out, those who are enslaved, those on the margins of culture – 60 percent illiterate- those who are alienated in a thousand ways, those who have been living in a feudal system for centuries.

In some places in our country they do not own their land nor their lives. They must climb on the conacaste trees – not even those belong to them, not even the conacaste trees! The chiltota birds can fly up the trees and build their nests high in the branches. The poor Salvadoran is a slave to this land, which belongs to the Lord, according to the Bible. This man is indeed poor! The statistics for our little country are dreadful.

We already said that in the country, in this country, there exists a fake democracy, in name only. A lot is said, mouths are filled with “democracy”. The power of the people is the power of a minority, not of the people! Let’s not fool ourselves!

The statistics for our country are dreadful in terms of public health, culture, crime rate, subsistence of the majority of the population, and possession of the land. We cover it all up with false hypocrisy, with magnificent deeds.

Woe to you, hypocrites, who pay lip service and call yourselves catholic, inside, you are nothing but evil filth! You are Cains and you crucify the Lord when he goes by the name of Manuel, the name of Luis, the name of Chabela, the name of the humble field worker!

“Our people are hungry for the real God and are hungry for bread” was correctly said during our Archdiocesan Pastoral Week. No privileged minority in our country has reason to exist in a Christian way by itself, but rather to serve the large majorities who form the Salvadorian people.

We have no reason to exist as religious minorities, as an elite aware of our Christianity, including our lay leaders and established ministers, or as minorities that hold political, economic or social power. They have no reason to exist, but to serve the people!

Third Part. Persecuted, like Jesus of Nazareth.

Going back to the case of Father Mario… Those of us who met him, here in Apopa and other places, can say that he was a good and simple man. We would listen to him during our meetings of the priests in the Vicariate. His message was clean and clear like that of Jesus. He perfectly fulfilled his ministry within the limits that the priesthood is given by the Church. He did not go beyond these functions. He did not join a guerrilla group, he did not lead any organized political group.

What he did was to speak the Word of the Lord, clearly and plainly, with his usual warmth. With no arrogance. And, in his parish, he tried to galvanize the different groups with the values of the Gospel.

He wanted the people in his parish to stop being simple followers of dead traditions, merely burying wood carved images year after year, but rather be the true worshippers of the living God, the followers of the Lord who is present in each one of the brothers (and sisters) who walks down the street in Apopa, in the market place, the workplace, the bus, the factory, the countryside.

He refused in the middle of last year patron saint festivities…

He did refuse, as a prophet, but both gently and firmly…! He refused – I am saying – , in this parish temple, in the middle of the patron saint festivities, to be surrounded by the selling stands of the poor women, who were tied with rope and brought there, like slaves, and surrounded him.

He said: Saint Catalina de Apopa cannot be honored in such a hypocritical and stupid way.

Brothers (and sisters), if Jesus of Nazareth saw this he would say: “this is what I did”.
Father Mario also has done it.

Here are some remarks about the case of Father Mario.

I greatly fear, my dear brothers (and sisters) and friends, that very soon the Bible and the Gospel will not be able to enter through our borders. We will only get the book covers, because all the pages are too subversive. Subversive against sin, of course!

In this context, it is interesting to see the avalanche of imported sects and of the slogans proclaiming freedom of religion, that are spreading around. Freedom of religion, freedom of religion! Freedom of religion so that they can bring us a false god. Freedom of religion so that they can bring us a god who is up in the clouds, sitting on a hammock. Freedom of religion so that they can introduce us to a Christ who is not the true Christ. It is false and it is serious!

I greatly fear, brothers (and sisters) that if Jesus of Nazareth returned, like that time, down from Galilee to Judea, that is, from Chalatenango to San Salvador, I dare say that this time he would not get as far as Apopa with his sermons and actions. I believe that they would arrest him sooner, by Guazapa. There they would take him prisoner and put him in jail… (at this moment the power is cut to sabotage the speech and he is left without microphone).

Do not be upset… ! There is something else here to make my voice resound until the mountains! (Big applause as he continues with a megaphone)

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, I fear that if Jesus tried to cross the border, there by Chalatenango, they would not let him enter! They would arrest him by Apopa. Who knows if he even would make it as far as Apopa, right ?! Or rather by Guazapa, tough on him! They would bring him in in front of many Supreme Courts for being unconstitutional and subversive.

They would accuse the man-God, the prototype of man, of being an agitator, a foreign Jew, of stirring up exotic and strange ideas, contrary to “democracy” , that is contrary to the minority. Ideas that are contrary to God, because they are; they are the clan of Cains.

Without a doubt, brothers (and sisters), they would crucify him again. Perhaps, God forbid, I would also be among those who crucify him. Without a doubt, brothers (and sisters), we will crucify him again, because we prefer a Christ of the mere gravediggers.

Many prefer the Christ of the mere gravediggers. A mute Christ, without a mouth to be paraded on the streets. A muzzled Christ. A Christ made to our liking and according to our miserable interests.

This is not the Christ of the Gospel! This is not the young Christ of 33, who gave his life for humanity’s noblest of causes!

My brothers and sisters, some people want a god up in the clouds. They do not want this Jesus of Nazareth, who is a scandal for the Jews and insanity to the pagans. They want a god who does not question them, who lets them stay in their established order, and who does not utter these dreadful words: “ Cain, what have you done with your brother Abel?”

We must not take anybody’s life. We must not hold our foot down on anybody’s neck to dominate and humiliate him. As Christians we must be willing to give our lives for a just order, to save others, for the values of the Gospel.

Dear brothers (and sisters). You probably read in the press that our humble Archbishop- who soon will no longer be Archbishop – our humble Archbishop, who, like our priests, has his own weaknesses and faults… just yesterday was harshly attacked by a group of Cains, who call themselves catholics. He was publically called a “communist” by an obstinate minority, because of his simple Pastoral Letters based on the Gospel.

Newspapers in our country, our own newspapers, have publicly attacked Church documents, such as Vatican II and, with incredible impudence, even the Pope, Paul VI, was attacked internationally in the high finance circles of the Empire: Wall Street…There, all the way up there…! You already know it, right?!

He was condemned saying that, in his famous encyclical on the Development of the Peoples, he supported a “reheated Marxism”. It is the usual scandal, that occurs when the Gospel is announced and in a special way connected to its practice.

Mario Bernal. You are already far from us! We found out that they sent you back to Colombia via Guatemala, as the persecutors are linked together in every nation.
Your strength, Father Mario, was the Gospel, and, at the same time, it was your weakness. In the same way, our strength is not in the weapons, the armies, nor the G3 and not even the legions of angels, as Jesus told Pontius Pilate.

Mario, you triumphed in your weakness! And your enemies, who are also those of the Gospel, have been defeated. Because they are irrational, and with their irrationality they want to cover up the sun of truth, that cannot be covered with a finger or with brute strength.

Your voice, Mario, will resonate through the valleys and the mountains of our countryside. Your exile joins the martyrdom of the Church in different nations of Latin America.

Last year, Father Ivan, a young priest from Colombia, like you, was brutally killed with another North American father and group of peasants, by a group of landowners in Olancho, Honduras. They were buried with a tractor, 15 meters deep down a well.

It was not many years ago, 6 maybe, that another Colombian, Father Héctor Gallego, was captured in the middle of the night in his small shack, in Santa Fe de Veraguas, Panama. That was the last that was heard about him. They threw him in the ocean, in the middle of the night. He was helping the peasants working in a cooperative, in a network of cooperatives. In that way he was helping them put the Gospel into practice.

That same type of people recently killed a Salesian priest and a Jesuit who had defended the indigenous people of Brazil. In Paraguay, an irrational dictator has exiled a number of priests. The list goes on.

Here, among us, the list grows with those who are expelled from our country. A few days ago, Ramírez, one of our brothers, Juan José Ramírez is his exact name, was run over. They are not even expelling him, because they are treating his injuries! For defending the humble and the poor.

Dear Mario. When Pope Paul arrived to your land, Colombia, that is also our land, after he got off the plane, he knelt down and kissed the ground. It was the year 1968. He talked from your land of Colombia to all the peasants of Latin America on the Day of Development, August 28, 1968. On the eve of that day, the bishops from the entire continent met and proclaimed “ the freedom of God’s children, in particular those oppressed on the continent”.

These are the Pope’s words, Mario, what if they were repeated around here…! You said the same words in different ways and they expelled you from the country. They Pope talks to the peasants in a special language: (he reads a long quote from the Pope’s speech)

We love you with predilection, and together with us, always remember and hold present that the Holy Mother Catholic Church loves you, in spite of her sins and weaknesses. Because we know the conditions of your existence, conditions of misery for many, some below the basic necessities of human life.

Now you are listening to us, in silence, beloved peasants, but we hear the shout that rises from your suffering and from the majority of humanity.

We cannot ignore you. We want to support your cause, that is the cause of the humble, the simple people.

We know that the economic and social development has been unequal in the great continent of Latin America, and while it favored those who promoted it at first, it has neglected the large native populations, almost always abandoned to live under ignoble conditions, often harshly treated and exploited.

We know that now, brothers and sisters, you realize that your social and cultural conditions are inferior and you are anxious to reach a better distribution of wealth and a better recognition of the importance that you deserve, given how many of you live in the continent, and of your rightful position in society.

We believe that you know how the Catholic Church, in spite of her weaknesses, has defended your fate; the popes that came before us, have defended it with their social encyclicals; the Ecumenical Council, that includes three thousand bishops, has also defended it and we have sponsored your cause in the Encyclical on the Development of Peoples.

But today, dear country people – the Pope continues – the problem has become more serious because you are now aware of your needs and your suffering, and like many others in the world, you cannot endure and tolerate that these conditions last forever and no solution is found.

This is what the Pope says, Father Mario! This is what you said on the radio. This is what the Church documents say, and this is what the Salvadoran Church is saying. Unfortunately this is not allowed, this is not legal.

Padre Mario. These communities, those of Apopa and the surrounding Christian communities in the Vicariate, the brothers and sisters who have come, who have wanted to come from other parts of the country, of the local Church, we are all going to celebrate this Eucharist , that is the ideal that we support…

Long tablecloths and a communal table for everybody, a seat for everybody. And Christ in the middle! He, who did not take anybody’s life, but rather offered his own to the noblest cause.

This is what He said: Raise your cup and toast in your love for me. Recall my memory, commit to building the Kingdom! Building the Kingdom, that is the solidarity of a communal table, the Eucharist.

Then hopefully we will say: Agreed, Mario!” May this be the motto of this Eucharist, as you asked us on the radio when you were discussing the Gospel:

- Agreed? Agreed!

- Then, do we agree? (he asks raising his hand over the New Testament)

-Agreed! Everybody calls out together raising their hands.

Well, as we agree, let’s say the Apostles Creed with our Church, which is agreeing with Father Mario, there in Bogotá, where they have thrown him… And let’s enter the wave of the Holy Spirit celebrating this Eucharist …

- I believe in God, the Father…!


Apopa, February 13th , 1977


One month later, on March 12th , Rutilio was killed together with two peasants on the way from Aguilares to his village, El Paisnal.

Primary Translator: Irene Bubula-Phillips
Additional Translators: Olga Pavisich-Ryan, Carlos Duran S.J., and Jake Schneider
Additional Contributor: Ana María Pineda R.S.M.
Editor: Anthony Ferrari