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Online Newsletter of CRISPAZ
Christians for Peace in El Salvador 

Spring Edition 2017

By Ana María Pineda, RSM

 Forty years ago, on March 12, 1977, Jesuit Rutilio Grande was murdered on the road to El Paisnal. He was driving there to celebrate the novena to St. Joseph, the town's patron.   Two campesinos, 72 year-old Manuel Solórzano, a delegate of the word, and 16 year old Nelson Rutilio Lemus died with him.  Father Grande was the first priest to be killed on the threshold of the civil war in El Salvador.  Grande, a tireless worker in preaching the  Gospel to the rural poor of his native country, and an innovative promoter of a ministry directed to the campesinos, was only 49 years old.  Evolving from the Grande family history of poverty and his own life-long struggle with his human fragility, he had dedicated his life to answering the call to minister to the poor.
 The youngest of the six sons of Salvador Grande and Cristina Garcia, Rutilio was born on July 5, 1928 in El Paisnal-one of the poorest little towns in San Salvador.  The poverty of his childhood coupled with the disintegration of his parents' marriage, shaped Rutilio's personality and by some accounts, predisposed him to future bouts with depression and scrupulosity. After a pastoral encounter in El Paisnal with Archbishop Luis Chávez y González, 13 year old Grande entered the minor seminary of San Salvador.  His road to the priesthood led him to later join the Society of Jesus and he was ordained on July 30, 1959 in Oña, Spain.

CRISPAZ' Director, Francisco Mena recives the award from the President of the University of Scranton, Kevin Quinn, S.J.

Christians for Peace in 
El Salvador is presented with the 2017 
Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Award by the University of Scranton

  On Tusday, April 18, the University of Scranton presented Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ) with the Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Award. The ceremony took place at the Leahy Hall. This award is given to "Distinguished Contributors to Ignatian Mission and Minsitry". It is given in honor of the late Rev. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., the Superior General of the Society of Jesus from 1965 to 1983. The University of Scranton instituted the award in 1995 to further its namesake's vision by recognizing men and women for outstanding contributions in a wide variety of Ignatian-inspired ministries. 

 On behalf of Christians for Peace in El Salvador, CRISPAZ' Director Francisco Mena was on hand to receive the award, along with his wife Veronica, and CRISPAZ' Development director Stanley DeVoogd. Attending the award ceremonies were the President of the University of Scranton, Kevin Quinn, S.J., D irector of the Jesuit Center,  Fr. Patrick Rogers, S.J., Campus Ministry leaders, faculty and staff as well as many friends of CRISPAZ and El Salvador.

 Receiving the award, Francisco Mena made a point to thank the community at the University of Scranton for honoring CRISPAZ's 33 years of solidarity work, but also shared that ultimately he was not only accepting this on behalf of CRISPAZ but the many Salvadorans who CRISPAZ has been privileged to walk alongside of in the past in their present on going struggle for a more just world. As a faith-based organization - CRISPAZ is humbled and deeply honored by this recognition.

 On the award the citation reads: "CRISPAZ challenges us today, just as Archbishop Romero did so many years ago, to be a voice for change in systems that continually marginalize the poor and to work for the rights of migrants, refugees, and all who suffer injustice".

Picture taken on Elba's last day during lunch with staff to bid her farewell.

Farewell to CRISPAZ' Delegations Coordinator,
Elba Moreira
  After four years with us as a valued member of our team, Elba Moreira - Delegation Program Coordinator - will no longer continue to be part of our staff. Elba became one of the faces of CRISPAZ many of our delegations participants got to see. I am very grateful to her for her commitment to CRISPAZ.

 Elba will be exploring other opportunities, and on behalf of the CRISPAZ board of directors and our staff, I extend our best wishes to her future endeavors. Please join me in sending our best wishes to her.

Francisco Mena Ugarte
Executive Director

Editorial Staff

Rafael Garcilazo, 
Communications Coordinator

Michael Lee,
Chair of Communications Committee

Francisco Mena,
Executive Director
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Please join the many friends of CRISPAZ by making an online donation today. It is safe, secure and it helps us to be able to continue our mission of accompaniment with the rural poor of  El Salvador. 

Ernesto Valiente
Vice Chair:
 Kelly Czajka
 Brian Rude
 Christopher Kerr

  Board Members  
Ann Bollheimer
Peter Buck
 Angela Casanova     
Colleen Cross 
Jennifer Collins Cevallos
Don Clarke
Paul Darilek
Rev. Joaquin Figueroa
Rev. Dan Groody, CSC
Rev. Peter Hinde, O.Carm. 
Meg Hannigan Dominguez
Paul Knitter
Rev. Tim Kesicki, S.J.
Michael Lee
Carol Muntz
Peter Neeley, S.J.
Kent Newton
Ana Maria Pineda, RSM.
Rev. Kevin Quinn, S.J.
Marielos Tores
Austin Woody  
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"You forgot this in
An interview with Pedro Cabezas, 
Coordinator of International Allies  against Metal Mining
By Rafael Garcilazo

 On March 29, 2017, El Salvador celebrated the fact that it became the first country in the world to prohibit metal mining. This prohibition passed through El Salvador's Legislative Assembly with support from a sweeping coalition and is backed by almost 80% of the population. This law is aimed at protecting El Salvador's environment and natural resources. Despite the current overwhelming support, this anti-mining movement began with a few, yet driven grassroots groups, with their minds set to push back the country's historical alliance to pro-business policies. 
 CRISPAZ sat down with Pedro Cabezas, coordinator of the International Allies against Metal Mining to learn more about this issue.
  Pedro Cabezas has been working on the mining issue for the last seven years. He had lived in Canada for 20 years and traveled with a delegation to Chalatenango. He remembers, "One of the things we found when we were visiting was that communities in Chalatenango were concerned with the issue of mining. 

They pretty much gave me a mandate to go back to Canada and tell the mining companies that they were not wanted here in El Salvador. So when I went back to Canada, I organized a group called Canadians against Mining in El Salvador, and we began to work on that issue. In particular, we brought the message to Canadian NGOs and civil society organizations that Canadian companies were violating human rights here in El Salvador." "We believed that as Canadians we had the responsibility to denounce this and to make sure that companies were accountable to the desires of the communities down here. With that possibility, I developed a network, and in 2013, I was offered a job here in El Salvador coordinating international allies against mining in El Salvador. That was a one-year contract, but four years later I am still here."

  Now, Pedro Cabezas is working with CRIPDES, which is a local community development organization that has a presence in 7 departments of El Salvador. For more than 10 years, the communities that CRIPDES works with have been organized against mining companies. They began to organize in Chalatenango back in 2006, and the following year they helped to form the National Roundtable against Metallic Mining in El Salvador (known as the "Mesa"), which is a coalition of different organizations that have been advocating for the prohibition of mining in the country.

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Rutilio Grande through the eyes of Oscar Romero
Miguel Cavada Diez 

"I consider him a brother"
 In the funeral mass for Fr. Rutilio Grande, SJ, Mons. Romero started the homily with these words:
"If this were an ordinary funeral, I would speak here, my dear sisters and brothers, about the human and personal relationship that I shared with Father Rutilio Grande whom I considered a brother. At important moments in my life, he was very close to me and I will never forget his gestures of friendship." (March 14, 1977)

 "Here in a home in this town of El Paisnal, like in Bethlehem of Judea, Rutilio Grande was born with the signs of the one chosen by God in the midst of his people. God anointed Rutilio Grande just as David was anointed. We are also able to say that on the day of Rutilio's anointing, the Spirit of God rested upon him. 

Then this man carried from here the gift of love for his people. This man saw the landscape that we are seeing at this moment and like the children of today who live in El Paisnal, felt the dust rise from the streets and experienced the sadness of poverty and the difficulties of living in a distant village. Yet this man also experienced the moral wealth of the people, the wealth of a home where he learned how to pray, where he learned how to see God and love the neighbor. 

It was here where Bishop Chávez, during one of his pastoral visits, found Rutilio among the other young men and asked him: Do you want to be a priest? Then Bishop Chávez brought him to the seminary. (El Paisnal, March 5, 1978)

"That good heart"
 "Yes, we can see my sisters and brothers that the greatness of the human person does not reside in the fact that one goes to the great city, or that one has titles of honor or wealth or money. The greatness of the human person resides in becoming more human. Thus when Rutilio achieved the fullness of his humanity, we find him returning here to El Paisnal. 

In the evening of the patron feast of this town, he returned here, filled with a love for humanity --- a love that was developed in his heart during the time of his university studies. This man had to understand that true greatness did not reside in leaving El Paisnal and becoming rich in some other place. Rather, his knowledge and his 
vocation led him to realize that true greatness meant returning to his people, loving his people, and becoming more human. Yes, this is true greatness." (El Paisnal, March, 5, 1978)

And close to El Paisnal, in Aguilares, where Monseñor went to comfort the town after a month of being occupied by military forces that left behind numerous assassinations, he said these words to summarize who Rutilio was: "that good heart that we remember with fondness: Father Grande and his collaborators" (June 19, 1977).

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2017 Delegations

CRISPAZ would like to express our deepest gratitude to the delegations that have visited El Salvador through the CRISPAZ Encounter Program thus far in 2017.

Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY

University of Dayton, Dayton, OH

St. John the Baptist Parish, Cincinnatti, OH  
St. Mary's Student Parish at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH

Boston College STM, Boston, MD

University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI

Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA

Second Presbyterian Church, Louisville, KY

On behalf of the many people and organizations we accompany, 
Blessed Oscar Romero's 100th Anniversary Celebration Delegation

 On August 15, 2017 the people of El Salvador will celebrate the 100th birthday of their beloved Blessed Oscar Romero, join CRISPAZ in remembering his birthday by, together with the Salvadoran people, looking into the future of all peoples who continue to work together for biblical justice in our communities and nations.

Visit dates: August 11-18 , 2017

This CRISPAZ Encounter will focus on:
- Legacy of Archbishop Romero among the people of El Salvador
- Looking into the future with Salvadorans on faith, economic, social and cultural issues
- Participating in local and national birthday events.
- Home stays in rural areas where Christian Base communities continue to inform local efforts of building a just society as they deal with the effects of migration.

For more information wrie or call Stan DeVoogd: / 502-592-5995