4 February, 2023

Salvadoran delegation thanks Pope Francis for the beatification of priest martyrs

Despite the fatigue from his activity as the highest representative of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis took the time to feel the hands of each of the attendees in the Clementine room of the Apostolic Palace.

By Engelbert Maldonado

Vatican City – Some 400 Salvadorans, including dozens of residents in Italy, were received by Pope Francis to give thanks for the beatification of the priests, the franciscan Cosme Spessotto and Rutilio Grande. At the time of the latter's martyrdom, They murdered two peasants who accompanied him, Manuel Solorsano and Nelson Lemus who were also beatified.

Despite the fatigue from his activity as the highest representative of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis took the time to feel the hands of each of the attendees in the Clementine room of the Apostolic Palace.

Despite the fact that the event was attended by all the Salvadoran bishops, Vice President Félix Ulloa and other government authorities, the papal speech did not open with greetings addressed to each of them.

In his message, he expressed that the Church should not be lukewarm in the face of society's problems.. “Sometimes it seems that the Church is doing activism, protest against governments, but it should not do it in a partisan way, must be an evangelical activism”.

The act of beatification took place last 22 January in front of representatives of the Catholic Church where the four martyrs were described as servants of God.

The two pastors of the church defended the fundamental rights of the Salvadoran population, each with different styles..

Father Rutilio Grande, He was a Jesuit born in the Paisnal Municipality who had extensive intellectual training and tried to apply in his parish of Aguilares the principles subscribed to in the Second Vatican Council..

His martyrdom took place on the road that leads from Aguilares to El Paisnal, both municipalities north of the capital city San Salvador. The event occurred on 12 March 1977 and he was the first priest to be assassinated in El Salvador, in the midst of a convulsed society due to the popular struggles that contested the social injustice imposed since the colonization and extermination of the native race.

Meanwhile, Fray Cosme Spessotto was martyred in his parish of San Juan Nonualco, while meditating with the missal in hand minutes before officiating the mass of 7 on a Saturday night 14 June 1980.

Father Spessotto was born in a province of the Veneto region in northeastern Italy with a baptismal name, center. Once ordained a priest he changed it to Cosimo to remember the first Italian martyr.

By coincidence or God's design, Father Cosme decided to mission in places where martyrdom could be imminent despite maternal opposition.. First he wanted to go to China but the triumph of the Maoist revolution made Christian work in that country impossible and that is how he ended up missionary in Central America.

The friar was deeply opposed to violence as a means of solving social problems and was capable of going to victims from both sides without asking which side they were on.. He was a profound defender of the temple as the house of God and for this reason he prevented the seizure of the parish by extreme left-wing groups, but also prevented the military from taking the bell tower as a sniper position..

The two priests were committed to the lives of their parishioners, but big, gave voice to the feelings and dreams of the people. A) Yes, I raised the petitions before the government at a time when requesting human dignity for all was described as communist by the authorities and therefore just the elimination.

Big put it like this, “the first contact with people should be characterized by a human encounter; try to get into their reality to get out with the common reality”.

Pope Francis, remembered that “Father Rutilio was assassinated when he was going to meet his people”, and thus reminds us that the Church must walk towards the people.