Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

University of Central America martyrs to be remembered during a Mass

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A cross in the Peace Quad honors Jesuit priest Ignacio Martin-Baro who was killed in El Salvador on Nov., 16 1989. Martin-Baro and five other Jesuit priests were killed on that day by members of the Salvadoran Army who were trained at the School of the Americas.

Next week, the Loyola community is coming together to remember the martyrs of University of Central America massacre.

During the height of the Salvadorian Civil War in 1989, six Jesuit priests, along with their housekeeper and her daughter, were brutally murdered by the El Salvadorian guerrilla forces. At least 19 of the militants that were charged for the murder of the victims, were trained at the United States Army School of Americas.

Those killed were university rector and well-known philosopher Ignacio Ellacuria, social psychologist Ignacio Martin Baro, Segundo Montes, Amano Lopez, Joaquin Lopez y Lopez, Juan Ramon Moreno, and the housekeeper Elba Ramos and her 16-year-old daughter Celina Ramos.

The Jesuits refused to let go of their ideals and practiced peaceful resistance against a secular, radical leftist Guerrilla rebel faction, Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, during political turmoil in the nation.

Vicente Gutierrez, marketing freshman, first found out about this tragedy while attending the Cristo Rey Jesuit School in Houston.

“It’s important that we honor those who died for what they believed in and keep them in our memory as we develop our beliefs as Jesuits,” Gutierrez said.

Ken Weber, university resident minister, said this celebration of martyrdom calls upon those in the Jesuit community not to forget those who have suffered through their commitment to God.

“The martyrdom reminds all who are engaged in the Jesuit enterprise throughout the world of our own call to live the Gospel message of dignity and love for all people, even in the face of threats to our lives,” Weber said.

These Jesuits wrestled with steep socioeconomic inequalities in El Salvador and maintained a diverse University in a country where a small minority of students finished elementary school and an even smaller percentage of those who graduated from high school were able to meet the cost of university tuition.

Through education, the Jesuits created ways to expose pervasive injustices in government and tried to propose a peaceful social order.

According to Weber, the legacy of these Martyrs, like the legacy of Jesus Christ, is best honored through a Mass service.

“Loyola’s Catholic, Jesuit identity makes the Catholic Mass a highly appropriate occasion to remember those individuals who have sacrificed their lives to bear witness to the Gospel of Christ,” Weber said.

The Martyrs Mass service will be held in the Peace Quad on Nov. 15 at 9 p.m.

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    Scott NeufeldNov 16, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Perhaps I didn’t understand this correctly but I’m fairly certain the article has the identities of the UCA scholars’ murderers quite backwards. You state twice that the martyrs were murdered by “El Salvadorian guerilla forces” when in fact they were murdered by an elite death squad acting out the wishes of the current El Salvadorian government…not the guerilla force of the FMLN.
    However, I do think the murders were initially framed as having been carried out by the FMLN in order to hide the fact that it was actually the government who had ordered and carried out their murders in order to silence their resistance and neutralize the ideological threat they posed to the maintenance of the status quo in El Salvador.

    Perhaps this is a matter of contention, but I am fairly certain (for once) the wikipedia article on this massacre provides a very clear explanation (citing the actual Truth Commission in El Salvador after these events) of these events, and comes to the opposite conclusion…

    The article is also somewhat inconsistent as you seem to indicate in the caption of the image that they were murdered by members of the Salvadorian army, but in the text you say it was El Salvadorian guerilla forces…these are not the same parties!

    Nevertheless, thank you for honouring these martyrs in your Mass