Salvadoran Martyrs

Saturday’s beatification ceremony in El Salvador (January 22) memorializes the four Salvadoran Martyrs who stood up to overwhelming power in the name of God— to the point of making the ultimate sacrifice for their faith. Jesuit Father Rutilio Grande and his two lay minister companions, adolescent Nelson Lemus and elder Manuel Solórzano were murdered in a hail of bullets as they drove to join in a novena on 12 March 1977. Franciscan Friar Cosme Spessotto left his native Italy to minister among the poor of rural El Salvador; for his efforts he was murdered on 14 June 1980.

Rutilio Grande coverThose decades witnessed a power struggle (crescendoed by the Salvadoran civil war of the 1980s) between the entrenched powers and the freedom of the “everyman” especially the rural poor campesino to whom these four ministered. At stake was basic human freedom as described by the priest Zechariah as he thanks and praises God: “This was the oath he [YHWH, the God of Israel] swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.” (Luke 1:73-75)

Perhaps the best known of the four is Blessed Rutilio Grande, often linked with his good friend and protegé—and at the same time, mentor—San Óscar Arnulfo Romero. Lectio Publishing is pleased to announce, simultaneous with Grande’s beatification, the publication of a new book that illuminates the person of Rutilio Grande as seen through his letters, articles, and sermons (as well as folk ballads); and those of close associates, most notable his Monseñor Romero. 

Rutilio Grande, Memory and Legacy of a Jesuit Martyr, is written by Ana María Pineda R.S.M. whose family is related to that of the late martyr. She draws from family resources, reminiscences of contemporaries and students of Grande, and the archives from the University of Central America (UCA) to give an immensely-readable personal and intimate picture of just who this man was.

Notably, this book is a follow-up to her immensely popular Romero & Grande: Companions on the Journey, which explores the relationship between the two close priests in a similarly personal way. To get the full experience that Sister Ana María shares, purchase both titles together (from either page link, for a limited time) and receive a 20% discount.

We join in joyful unison with the people of El Salvador thanking and praising God as they celebrate the lives and deaths of their faithful martyrs this Saturday!

Here Comes the CTSA Conference!

If you plan to attend The 73rd Annual Convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America in Indianapolis next week, be sure to look us up. We’ll be showcasing our latest— and our most influential— books that we’ve published in the last five years.

Romero & Grande coverWe do believe that Grace is at Work in the World, and attempt to show this in the titles that we publish. Whether exploring the grace of recent saints—St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) and (soon-to-be Saint) Blessed Oscar Romero—or the impact of Pope Francis, or topical themes of Evangelization or the Creed or Eternal Life, we bring the best of Christianity and Catholicism to parishioners, students, and scholars.

We salute Sr. Ana María Pineda, Oscar Romero scholar and Lectio author, on her recent election to co-lead the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, West Midwest Community. You won’t want to miss hearing Ana María as a panelist discussing the Theological Witness of Oscar Romero on Friday (June 8) 2:30 in the Lincoln Room.

Stop by our book table to say hello!

Proselytism vs. Evangelization

Dr. Eduardo EcheverriaIn today’s edition of The Catholic Thing, Dr. Eduardo J. Echeverria authors an article on Pope Francis and proselytism. He begins…

In a recent interview arranged by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J., the editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, prior to the trip to Sweden for an ecumenical gathering anticipating next year’s 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Pope Francis expressed something that he has voiced several times during his pontificate: “to proselytize in the ecclesial field is a sin.” He added: “Proselytism is a sinful attitude.”

This is strong language and deserves careful attention, because many think the pope is saying the Catholic Church should no longer evangelize other Christians. That’s a large question that would take extensive treatment. Here, I’m going to limit myself to the “ecclesial field,” in the pope’s phrase, of ecumenical dialogue. Unfortunately, Francis did not define what he means by proselytizing, and did not distinguish it from evangelizing. He simply states that proselytism as such is a sin. But he doesn’t tell us why. Nor does he distinguish between unethical and ethical means of proselytizing. Read the entire article »

Dr. Echeverria has authored for us a scholarly book entitled Pope Francis, The Legacy of Vatican II (256 pages, $29.95). Learn more, download sample ePub, or buy now »

You may also like Fr. Leon Strieder’s recent publication, Evangelization: Building and Rebuilding the Kingdom: Issues of Language, Culture, and Conversion (492 pages, $46.95).
Learn more, download sample ePub, or buy now »