El Salvador hopes for a miracle and another saint-in-waiting
Friday, Mar. 17, 2017
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (CNS) — El Salvador’s Catholic Church circles swirl these days with news about a possible miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Oscar Romero, one that many hope will lead to his canonization.
In the not-so-quiet whispers of hope, there’s also the yearning that the momentum will help the beatification cause of his martyred Jesuit friend, Father Rutilio Grande.
Fr. Grande was killed 40 years ago – March 12, 1977 – while on his way to a novena. More than a dozen bullets went through his body, killing him and parishioners Manuel Solorzano, 70, and 16-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus.
“We’re waiting” for word that will make Fr. Grande El Salvador’s next saint-in-waiting, said Andrea Perla, of the Archdiocese of San Salvador’s canonization department.
Perla, a 20-something charged with using social media to teach others about Fr. Grande, said there’s a lot to learn from the priest’s exemplary life: humility, generosity and caring for those who need help the most. Like many young Catholic Salvadorans, she said she didn’t know a lot about Fr. Grande, other than his association with Romero, until she started reading about his life. “And I really fell in love,” she said.
Fr. Grande, a native Salvadoran, was educated mostly in Spain and Belgium and other parts of Latin America, but returned to work among his country’s poor and rural masses. The mission teams he organized taught peasants to read using the Bible, but also helped the rural masses organize as workers to speak against a rich and powerful minority that paid them meager salaries and against the social maladies that befell them just because they were poor.