Human rights groups in Washington sounded the alarm after the Salvadoran government began mass arrests and suspended personal freedoms following a record-breaking spree of homicides by gangs in late March.
Catholic Relief Services, which operates several programs in El Salvador, is worthy of support, said retired Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros and an engineer from that country who now lives in Queens. Their observations coincide with the start of the 2022 Rice Bowl Lenten almsgiving program sponsored by CRS.
Prosecutors in El Salvador have brought charges against a former president for the murders of six Jesuits in 1989, a crime carried out by soldiers during a brutal civil war in the Central American country.
Thousands filled Salvador del Mundo Plaza in San Salvador for the beatification ceremony of Father Rutilio Grande. Among them was retired Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros of the Diocese of Brooklyn, who described the event as “moving.”
Although he was treated for mental illness, Father Rutilio Grande never stopped sharing the Gospel. Some suggest this martyred El Salvadoran priest should be the “patron saint of breaking mental health stigma.”
Unlike the spotless image of many holy men and women, a depiction of one of the new martyrs of the Catholic Church looks anything but polished.
Representatives from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops celebrated Mass Jan. 20 at the tomb of two Maryknoll sisters from the U.S. buried El Salvador — where they were murdered in 1980 — and called them “martyrs” and “models” for the Catholic Church.
Responding to the border crisis in Del Rio, Texas, and broader immigration issues, more than 150 Catholic organizations last week implored President Joe Biden to end a policy called Title 42 — federal permission for the immediate expulsion of migrants and limitation of their right to seek asylum.
In his 28 years as a priest in El Salvador, Father Manuel Acosta has witnessed his share of violence. He lived through the killings of Catholic clergy, men and women religious, catechists and countless lay ministers persecuted during the country’s civil conflict in the 1980s. He has also lived through decades of gang aggression against El Salvador’s poor.
In a moving tribute to four American women slain in El Salvador during the height of that country’s civil war in 1980, Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Chappetto led a memorial Mass marking the 40th anniversary of their deaths on Dec. 2.