Posts Tagged ‘El Salvador’

Initiative Helps Keep School Open in El Salvador

The first thing one notices when entering Santa Luisa School is the massive, solid metal fencing and doors that shield it from one of the roughest neighborhoods of San Salvador, El Salvador. Once those doors close, the chatter of the marketplace and the blaring car horns and police sirens are replaced by the voices of children playing during gym class or shoes shuffling from class to class.

For the more than 500 boys and girls — mostly from poor or destitute families — who get a K-9 education at Santa Luisa, the school is an oasis from a city suffocating from drugs, gangs and violence. For many students, Santa Luisa represents their best chance to break out of the cycle of poverty that surrounds them daily.

Santa Luisa is beginning its 76th year and would not have reached its milestone 75th year without the aid of a group of alumni from the University of Scranton (Pa.). Led by Jesuit Father Brendan Lally, who now serves as a spiritual director at St. Joseph University in Philadelphia, the non-profit Salvadoran Children of the Poor Education Foundation (SCOPE) has helped Santa Luisa meet its annual budget and supply basic needs for the past decade.

SCOPE is the product of two immersion programs Fr. Lally steered over two decades at the University of Scranton. The first, International Service Program, began in 1987 and takes students and alumni to two homes for street children in Mexico City for six weeks of the summer. Its success spawned a second program, Bridges to El Salvador, formed after Fr. Lally’s heart was moved by the Catholic witness of the people there.

A visit to Santa Luisa School has always been part of the Bridges itinerary. Lally has taken groups of students, professors, university staff, fellow priests, seminarians and alumni through the streets of San Salvador, including to the martyrdom sites of Archbishop Oscar Romero (1980), the six Jesuits gunned down at the University of Central America (1989) and the three American nuns and church worker who were kidnapped, raped and shot in December 1980.

“I wanted (pilgrims) to meet the people and to discover the reality of their lives, to experience their faith, to listen to their stories and to let them know that their sisters and brothers in faith from the U.S. cared about them and were united with them,” he said. “We were also seeking our own conversion, so that we could discover the Gospel alive amid the materially poor — the gospel that Archbishop Romero died for, the gospel that could change our own lives and attitudes.”

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Jesuit Father Dean Brackley Honored by University of San Francisco for Work in El Salvador

In November of 1989, a commando unit of the Salvadoran armed forces entered the campus of the Central American University (UCA) and killed six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter. It’s said they were murdered for speaking out against the government, for advocating for the poor, for working to negotiate an end to the war. And they paid for their beliefs with their lives. Yet, although their lives had ended, many believed their work needed to be carried on.

In 1990, Jesuit Father Dean Brackley volunteered to leave his position in the New York Province of Jesuits and move to El Salvador to join the staff of the Universidad Centroamericana, administering the university’s School for Religious Education and assisted in schools for pastoral formation sponsored by the UCA.

Fr. Brackley passed away on Sunday after battling both liver and pancreatic cancer.

“Dean Brackley was an extraordinary Jesuit. His 20+ years of service in El Salvador included pastoral work in numerous parishes, meeting with delegations visiting El Salvador, immersion trips, but at all times, he promoted Gospel values from the perspective of the poor.  His 2004 book The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times is a powerful expression of God’s providential love for the poor expressed in the Ignatian vision. Dean will be deeply missed by the people of El Salvador, students and faculty of the UCA, and the countless compañeros he met along the way,” said Jesuit Father Thomas H. Smolich, President of the Jesuit Conference of the United States.

A few weeks before his passing, Brackley was honored by Marquette University with a Doctorate of Religious Studies, and by the University of San Francisco which established a scholarship in his name:

WHEREAS, University of San Francisco Trustee J. Dean Brackley, S.J., quietly, immediately and heroically volunteered to replace one of the murdered Jesuits from the University of Central America in San Salvador after the 1989 massacre of six university Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter; and

WHEREAS, Dean Brackley, S.J., ever since his entrance to the Society of Jesus in 1964 has displayed an uncommon commitment to the social and human implications of the Gospel; and

WHEREAS, Dean Brackley, S.J., has ever and always balanced his demanding academic and administrative responsibilities with pastoral care for the poor and marginalized; and

WHEREAS, Dean Brackley, S.J., has hosted numerous delegations to El Salvador, including groups from the University of San Francisco; and

WHEREAS, Dean Brackley, S.J., has faithfully and generously served as a trustee of the University of San Francisco for nine years;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the University of San Francisco establish a scholarship to honor Trustee J. Dean Brackley, S.J.; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this scholarship be awarded to a Latino/a student of high academic promise and significant financial need;

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this scholarship student be designated the Dean Brackley, S.J. Scholar during his/her matriculation at the University of San Francisco.

Fr. Brackley entered the Society of Jesus in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1976.  He earned a doctoral degree in Religious Social Ethics from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1980, and traveled a vocational path marked by spiritual creativity, moral courage, and an unfailing companionship with the poor.

Remembering 20 Years Later: Jesuits Murdered in El Salvador

Jesuit_El_Salvador_3On Nov. 16, 1989, six Jesuits, along with a housekeeper and her daughter, were killed by members of the El Salvadoran military at the University of Central America Pastoral Center in San Salvador. Killed in the attack were Ignacio Ellacuria, S.J., 59; Amando Lopez, S.J., 53; Joaquin Lopez y Lopez, S.J., 71; Ignacio Martín-Baró, S.J., 50; Juan Ramon Moreno, S.J., 56; Segundo Montes, S.J., 56; Julia Elba Ramos, 42, the housekeeper of the Jesuit residence, and her daughter Cecilia Ramos, 15.

The Jesuits had been labeled subversives by the Salvadoran government for speaking out against its oppressive socioeconomic structure.  The clothing of the six Jesuit priests killed (photo above) are exhibited at the museum of the Central American University in San Salvador.

For more photos, visit our Flickr page.

Jesuit Apostolates Commemorate 20th Anniversary of Six Jesuits Murdered in El Salvador

Martin_BaroOn Nov. 16, 1989, six Jesuits, along with a housekeeper and her daughter, were killed by members of the El Salvadoran military at the University of Central America Pastoral Center in San Salvador. The Jesuits had been labeled subversives by the Salvadoran government for speaking out against its oppressive socioeconomic structure.

To mark the 20th anniversary of their murders, the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Resolution 761, “Remembering and commemorating the lives and work of (the Jesuit Fathers, their housekeeper and her daughter) on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of their deaths at the University of Central America Jose Simeon Canas in San Salvador, El Salvador.” The resolution was sponsored by Rep. James McGovern (D) of Massachusetts.

Killed in the attack were Ignacio Ellacuria, S.J., 59; Amando Lopez, S.J., 53; Joaquin Lopez y Lopez, S.J., 71; Ignacio Martín-Baró, S.J., 50; Juan Ramon Moreno, S.J., 56; Segundo Montes, S.J., 56; Julia Elba Ramos, 42, the housekeeper of the Jesuit residence, and her daughter Cecilia Ramos, 15.

In remembrance of those who lost their lives, various Jesuit apostolates, including colleges, universities and parishes, are commemorating November 16th, 2009 with memorials, Masses and religious services. A list of institutions participating appear below with events listed if available. Please check back regularly as this list is ever growing.

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U.S. Congress Honors Jesuits on the 20th Anniversary of Their Deaths in El Salvador

jesuit martyrsThe U.S. House of Representatives debated and approved, on the suspension calendar, a resolution remembering and commemorating the lives and work of six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter on the upcoming 20th anniversary of their deaths in El Salvador. The resolution was sponsored by Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), who led the Congressional investigation into the assassinations when he was a senior aide to then-Rep. John Joseph Moakley (D-MA).

The House today passed House Resolution 761, which stated, in part:

“Remembering and commemorating the lives and work of Jesuit Fathers Ignacio Ellacuria, Ignacio Martin-Baro, Segundo Montes, Amando Lopez, Juan Ramon Moreno, Joaquin Lopez y Lopez, and housekeeper Julia Elba Ramos and her daughter Celina Mariset Ramos on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of their deaths at the University of Central America Jose Simeon Canas located in San Salvador, El Salvador on November 16, 1989.”

During the bloody civil war of El Salvador in the 1980s, in the early morning hours of November 16, the six Jesuit priests and their housekeeper along with her daughter were executed by soldiers. Many Jesuit institutions around the country will mark the 20th anniversary of the murders with lectures, vigils and screenings of documentaries about the killings and the struggle for justice.

“The witness of these martyrs continues to inspire us today, these many years later,” said John Kleiderer, acting secretary of social and international ministries at the Jesuit Conference of the U.S. “They were unwavering in their defense of the poor and oppressed. We honor their memories and their legacy of work on behalf of justice and peace. We are grateful to the members of Congress for remembering and honoring them today.”

The U.S. House of Representatives debated and approved, on the suspension calendar, a resolution remembering and commemorating the lives and work of six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter on the upcoming 20th anniversary of their deaths in El Salvador. The resolution was sponsored by Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), who led the Congressional investigation into the assassinations when he was a senior aide to then-Rep. John Joseph Moakley (D-MA).

The House today passed House Resolution 761, which stated, in part:

“Remembering and commemorating the lives and work of Jesuit Fathers Ignacio Ellacuria, Ignacio Martin-Baro, Segundo Montes, Amando Lopez, Juan Ramon Moreno, Joaquin Lopez y Lopez, and housekeeper Julia Elba Ramos and her daughter Celina Mariset Ramos on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of their deaths at the University of Central America Jose Simeon Canas located in San Salvador, El Salvador on November 16, 1989.”

During the bloody civil war of El Salvador in the 1980s, in the early morning hours of November 16, the six Jesuit priests and their housekeeper along with her daughter were executed by soldiers. Many Jesuit institutions around the country will mark the 20th anniversary of the murders with lectures, vigils and screenings of documentaries about the killings and the struggle for justice.

“The witness of these martyrs continues to inspire us today, these many years later,” said John Kleiderer, acting secretary of social and international ministries at the Jesuit Conference of the U.S. “They were unwavering in their defense of the poor and oppressed. We honor their memories and their legacy of work on behalf of justice and peace. We are grateful to the members of Congress for remembering and honoring them today.”