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Remembering, in sadness and hope

Written by Mike Thee
November 19, 2009

November 16 marked the 20th anniversary of the assassination of six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter at the University of Central America in El Salvador. The eight martyrs were killed, execution-style, by the Salvadoran army for speaking out against injustices in the country.

“For these last 20 years Seattle University, along with our sister Jesuit universities, has been at the forefront of solidarity with the Salvadorans to bring about a lasting peace and a just resolution,” Rector Pat Howell, S.J.,  wrote to the campus last month.

Seattle University marked the anniversary in a variety of ways.

  • The annual Celebration of Hope Mass was held on Nov. 12 at the Chapel of St. Ignatius.
  • A panel discussion, followed by a procession to the chapel, was held on the actual day of the anniversary.
  • A delegation of 19 students and staff traveled to Fort Benning to protest the School of Americas (S.O.A.), which has long been criticized for its role in training Central American police and military officers linked to human rights violations.
  • Another delegation of 14 faculty, staff, Jesuits, students and alumni traveled to the University of Central America in El Salvador at which the murders occurred. One of the delegates, Mike Bayard, S.J., has blogged on the experience.
  • Eight Seattle University Jesuits shared reflections on the murders. Visit Campus Ministry to read the moving words of Frs. Frank Case, Natch Ohno, Hugh Duffy, Tom Murphy, Patrick O’Leary, Jerry Cobb, Pat Kelly and Paul Janowiak.

For additional coverage on the anniversary, you can visit the Jesuit sites, Connections and Company. You can also read a column in National Catholic Reporter written by Charles Currie, S.J., president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.