Thursday, November 19, 2009

Remembering the Martyrs of the UCA.

Earlier this week, I posted some reflections on the Martyrs of the University of Central America. As a kind of addendum or follow-up to that post, I wanted to write something about how Jesuit universities in the United States are marking the twentieth anniversary of the murder of six Jesuit priests and two Catholic laywomen at the UCA in San Salvador. National Jesuit News has a list of some commemorative events being held at Jesuit institutions throughout the country. Saint Joseph's University has marked the anniversary with a number of events, including public lectures on aspects of the legacy of the Martyrs of the UCA and a Memorial Mass celebrated on campus earlier this afternoon.

Some photos of today's Mass are presented above. The principal celebrant, Father Edil Calero, is a Bolivian Jesuit spending the current academic year at SJU. Having spent four years of his Jesuit formation in El Salvador, he can count himself as an eyewitness to the country's ongoing experience of poverty and social division. Appropriately enough, Father Calero offered the Mass not simply for the memory of the eight individuals killed at the UCA in November of 1989, but also for the seventy-five thousand Salvadorans who lost their lives in the country's long and brutal civil war.

During the homily at today's Mass, SJU's own Father Dan Joyce described how the Jesuits martyred in El Salvador lived out an approach to Christian discipleship with roots in the Spiritual Exercises. A similar concern for discipleship motivates the SJU students who have chosen to travel to Columbus, Georgia this weekend to take part in the annual prayer vigil at the site of the SOA/WHINSEC as well as the associated Ignatian Family Teach-In. Special prayers were offered for these students at the conclusion of today's liturgy (see bottom photo), and I will continue praying for them over the next few days. May their experiences this weekend deepen their faith in Christ, and may they return to campus with greater zeal for the values of the Gospel. AMDG.


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