Blessed Cosme Spessotto, OFM: Franciscan Martyr of El Salvador

On January 22, four Salvadorans murdered by death squads during the period of social unrest in the country several decades ago are to be officially recognized by the Church as “blessed” martyrs. Among them is a Franciscan friar, Fr. Cosme Spessotto, OFM.

Ambushed with Fr Rutilio Grande, SJ

The other three martyrs are better known from the 1989 film “Romero”: Fr. Rutilio Grande, a Jesuit priest and friend of St Óscar Romero; sacristan Manuel Solórzano; and teenage bell-ringer Nelson Lemus. The three were ambushed and brutally gunned down in their car by security forces in 1977. Friar Cosme’s story is less familiar to the wider public.

Called early to the priesthood

Friar Cosme was born Sante Spessotto in January 1923 to a humble farming couple, Vittorio Spessotto and Josefina Zamuner, in the village of Mansuè, province of Treviso, Italy. He experienced a call to the priesthood at an early age,

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