By: Justin Worthing ~Staff Writer~
Xavier’s Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice (CFJ) is organizing multiple events to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter during the Salvadoran Civil War at the Central American University in El Salvador.
The events include a display of Mary Pimmel-Freeman’s watercolor portraits of the eight victims, hung by the entrance to the CFJ office.
In addition, the CFJ partnered with student organization Voices of Solidarity (VOS) on Nov. 10 to erect crosses for the victims of the civil war. VOS placed 14 crosses to represent 14 martyrs of El Salvador as well as 25 crosses to represent the roughly 75,000 civilian deaths during the war.
The will also be a prayer service for the martyrs on Nov. 13, plus parish and university Masses on Nov. 16. Collections at student Masses will be taken for the benefit of Fe y Alegría, which runs schools for socioeconomically-disadvantaged children in El Salvador.
The CFJ has also partnered with the Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice, Bellarmine Chapel, the Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue, the Jesuit Community at Xavier, the Office of Mission and Identity, the President’s Office, the Theology Department and VOS to bring Bob Lassalle-Klein to speak about his new book “Blood and Ink: Ignacio Ellacuria, Jon Sobrino, and the Jesuit Martyrs of the University of Central America” at 7:30 p.m on Nov. 18 in Kennedy Auditorium.
“Needless to say, our remembrance is an act of mourning; we deeply regret the loss of these lives,” Xavier professor and Jesuit Fr. Dan Hartnett said. “The companions of (ours) worked hard for peace by means of teaching, writing, saying Mass and occasionally giving lectures abroad. Many were well-known scholars but they always remained close to those in need; they were never too busy to attend to the everyday problems of people on the margins of society.”
Xavier also plans to send student delegations to the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice (IFTJ) in Washington, D.C. and to the School of the Americas (SOA) Vigil and Protest in Georgia.
The IFTJ delegation will be led by senior Joe McGrath and sophomore Hannah Sheppard, and the SOA Protest delegation will be led by senior and Managing Editor at the Newswire Taylor Fulkerson.
“IFTJ is a conference put on once a year by the Ignatian Solidarity Network,” McGrath said. “The conference is made up of high school and college students from all across the nation of nearly all Jesuit colleges and some of the larger Jesuit high schools. It is important for Xavier students to go to help continue the growing network of the Jesuit education, also to learn about what other schools are doing that we could take back to our own campus.”
The SOA Protest began in 1990, one year after the death of the eight martyrs. SOA, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, created the battalion responsible for killing the martyrs in 1980.
“I think it is important for students to attend because it helps them to see the connection between American foreign policy and real people who live in Latin America,” Fulkerson said. “I think it’s also important that, as a Jesuit university, students are exposed to the gritty reality of violence and war and the corresponding cry for justice that comes from the people. It is part of educating the whole person: both the mind and the heart, alongside other people.”
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