November 17, 2009

Murdered Jesuits Honored 20 Years after Their Deaths in El Salvador

Jesuit MartyrsTwenty years after they were killed at Central American University in San Salvador, along with their housekeeper and her daughter, six Jesuit priests were honored by the Salvadoran government, the US Congress, and Jesuit institutions.

Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes gave the priests the National Order of Jose Matias Delgado awards—the country's highest honor—on November 16, the 20th anniversary of the killings.

Funes said the awards were presented as a "public act of atonement" for mistakes by past governments.
In October, the US Congress approved a resolution honoring "these eight spiritual, courageous and generous priests, educators and laywomen."

Commemorative events are being held at the 28 US Jesuit colleges and universities, including a live feed from San Salvador of the procession and vigil at Xavier University; a series of events throughout the month at Santa Clara University, including a talk by Fr Jon Sobrino SJ, a co-founder of Central American University who was away from the residence the night of the murders; a discussion at Boston College on November 30 with Fr Sobrino, Fr J Donald Monan SJ, and historian Noam Chomsky on "Memory and Its Strength: The Martyrs of El Salvador"; and a Martyrs Week at Loyola University New Orleans with a different event each day.

Jesuit MartyrsThe eight killed on November 16, 1989, were:

[Catholic News Service]

More from around the web on the anniversary:

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Jesuits Arrested at Anti-nuclear Protest at World's Largest Nuclear Base

Jesuits Fr Bill Bischel and Fr Steve Kelly, along with Sr Susan Crane, Sr Lynne Greenwald, and Sr Anne Montgomery RSCJ, were arrested on Kitsap- Bangor Naval Base near Seattle on November 2, as they took part in an anti-nuclear protest.

They were cited for trespassing and destruction of government property, given a ban-and-bar letter, and released.

In a joint statement, the group stated: "The manufacture and deployment of Trident II missiles, weapons of mass destruction, is immoral and criminal under International Law and, therefore, under United States law. As US citizens we are responsible under the Nuremberg Principles for this threat of first-strike terrorism hanging over the community of nations, rich and poor.  Moreover, such planning, preparation, and deployment is a blasphemy against the Creator of life, imaged in each human being." [Pax Christi]

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Jesuit's Documentary about Immigrant Youth Part of Larger Immigration Project

Posada, an award-winning documentary film written, directed, and produced by Fr Mark McGregor SJ, is part of the Posadas Project, an initiative in the United States through which McGregor promotes education and advocacy for immigrants.

Free viewings of the documentary, which focuses on the journeys of three boys and a mother who immigrate to the United States, have recently been shown in Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Posada is McGregor's response to the American bishops' call for the Justice for Immigrants campaign. The documentary was inspired by Las Posadas, the annual Mexican Christmas celebration.

Recent grants from the Our Sunday Visitor Foundation and the Catholic Communication Campaign  have paid for development of a DVD companion guide, an updated web site, and distribution of Posada and other resources to help communities affected by immigration.

The film is available for purchase at; the Posadas Project is online at

Watch the Posada trailer:

[Posada Project]

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University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy Featured in Time Article

University of Detroit Jesuit High School and AcademyTime magazine's web site recently featured a story on the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, highlighting it as Detroit's last Catholic college-prep high school.

The article says that the school "boasts a near perfect graduation rate and sends 99 percent of its graduates on to higher education" in a city where only 25 percent of high school freshmen make it to graduation.

The original version of the article suggested that the school was the only Catholic college-prep school in Detroit. An update notes: "That was based on a definition of college prep as a place where 75 percent or more of students take college-prep courses and go on to college. In fact Detroit Cristo Rey, a Catholic high school launched last year, aims to be a college-prep school as well, though it has yet to graduate a class."

There is a third Catholic high school in the city, Loyola High, founded in 1993 by the Jesuits and the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Read the full article at [, Detroit Free Press]

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Love the Alien as Yourself: Immigration Forum Summary

Fr Thomas Reese SJ, a senior fellow at Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, wrote an online article, "Love the alien as yourself," on a recent forum at Georgetown University on immigration, "Honoring Human Dignity and the Common Good: A Catholic Approach to Immigration Reform."

One of the speakers at the forum was Octavio Gonzalez, a Georgetown graduate, who spoke about his father illegally crossing the US-Mexico border in 1969. His mother also crossed into the US illegally after being turned back by a border guard who refused to let her cross even though she had a valid visa.

"As much as they both wanted to stay with their families in Mexico, it was becoming clear to them that their aspirations for their children would not be possible living in Mexico," Octavio said. "If they stayed to raise a family in Mexico, their children, like them, would go to school six months out of the year and work the fields on the ranch. We would certainly never get the opportunity to study through college."

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick explained why the Catholic Church supports comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship. The church's teaching on immigration is based on the fact that "We are all brothers and sisters in God's one family," he said.

"We must change our laws so as to bring the undocumented out of the shadows, provide safe passage to those who want to come to work or join their families in our country, and address the economic inequities which compel persons to leave their homes in search of employment," McCarrick said.

To read Fr Reese's full article on the forum go to  []

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Around Campus

Xavier University Back to the Bible eventXavier University's Hosts Marathon Public Bible Reading
Xavier University recently hosted a three-day Back to the Bible marathon public Bible reading that attracted about 150 readers from among Xavier students, faculty, staff, and members of the Cincinnati community.

A lounge on campus was set up so that people could stop in and read or listen to others read from Bibles in a variety of languages including Latin, Greek, Persian, Swahili, Russian, and Vietnamese.  

Reading began with the Book of Genesis and ended at the conclusion of the Hebrew Scriptures (II Chronicles). [Xavier University]

Creighton-Led Team Makes Hernia Repairs in Dominican Republic
A medical team led by Omaha surgeon Charles Filipi of Creighton Medical Associates made its seventh annual trip to the Dominican Republic, where the group repaired more than 100 hernias over five days at a surgical center at the Institute for Latin American Concern Center (ILAC) in Santiago in early November.

The team of about 50 people included physicians, nurses, medical students, and technicians.

Using three operating rooms, doctors performed hour-long surgeries beginning around 6 am and ending around 5 pm each day.

The effort is one of about 25 service trips coordinated annually through Creighton's ILAC Office. To learn more about Creighton's ILAC program, visit; to read the Company magazine story on ILAC, go to [Creighton University]

Cristo Rey in Baltimore Holds First "Take Your Teacher to Work Day"
Cristo Rey Jesuit High in Baltimore recently held its first "Take Your Teacher to Work Day," with 26 teachers and administrators "shadowing" students in corporate offices.

Students help pay for their education by working five days a month in entry-level positions at one of 66 businesses and nonprofit organizations throughout Baltimore.

Students introduced their teachers to their colleagues and received their work assignments. Then the teachers did the kinds of work Cristo Rey students complete on a regular workday, including answering phones, delivering mail, performing data entry, and preparing mailings. []

On the web:

Georgetown Confronts Hate Crimes
In response to two Georgetown University student beings attacked and called anti-gay slurs while walking near campus in early November, students held a Vigil Against Assault.

About 100 members of the campus community gathered and listened to the university vice president and representatives from several student organizations.

The university has also offered counseling to the victims and sent campus-wide safety alerts, as well as sending out an email regarding the incidents, which was posted on the blog of the Georgetown Voice at [Washington Post]

Loyola University New Orleans Community Volunteers for 10th Annual Day of Service
Loyola University New Orleans students and alumni participated in volunteer projects in November for Wolves on the Prowl, an annual national day of service.

This year, alumni in 12 cities volunteered with various charities. More than 360 Loyola students, alumni, and employees participated in several New Orleans projects, including rebuilding houses and planting fruit orchards.

Elsewhere, alumni cleaned a homeless shelter in Boston, sorted food at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, volunteered at the Texas

Discovery Gardens in Dallas, and prepared meals for the homeless at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. [Loyola University New Orleans]

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