Posts Tagged ‘Jesuits’

Delegate Reflection: The Spirits of the Jesuits Continue On

November 15, 2014

Pam Wargin traveled with the delegation from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Wisconsin this past July. She graciously shares this reflection with us all. 

My name is Pam Wargin, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to have traveled to El Salvador as a part of our parish’s delegation this summer.

The St. Elizabeth Ann Seton delegation at the UCA.

When I first began the journey of preparing for this trip, I had very little knowledge of the history or of the current reality in El Salvador. I did not really understand that the country suffered a terrifying civil war between 1980 and 1992. I didn’t know that a large part of the population, including our brothers and sisters in Rutilio Grande, lived in refugee camps outside of El Salvador for twelve years during the war.

I wasn’t sure what God had to teach me on this trip. What I felt in El Salvador was heart wrenching and heart warming, horrifying and hopeful all mixed together in almost each and every individual experience.

Today, I’d like to share with you our visit to the University of Central America. The UCA- as it is called there- is a Jesuit university. The campus is much like Milwaukee’s Marquette, which is also Jesuit. It has a lovely chapel, students conversing on benches and calming walkways with beautiful trees and flowers. As a Marquette grad myself, I felt a certain connection with the staff and students around me as we walked through the grounds.

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24th Anniversary Commemorating the UCA Martyrs

November 28, 2013

The large crowd walking through the UCA campus to honor the martyrs.

The large crowd walking through the UCA campus to honor the martyrs.

Saturday, November 16th marked the 24th anniversary of the massacre of the six Jesuit priests: Ignacio Ellacuría, Ignacio Martín Baró, Segundo Montes, Joaquín López y López, Amando López, Juan Ramón Moreno, their housekeeper, Elba and her daughter, Celina Ramos at the University of Central America (UCA) in San Salvador. SHARE delegates from St. Patrick’s Church in Seattle joined thousands of others in the annual activities commemorating the martyrs. This year’s theme, “No hay justicia sin solidaridad compartida”, or, “There is no justice without shared solidarity,” truly conveys SHARE’s mission as well as the underlying goal of the sistering relationship St. Patrick’s has maintained for over twenty years with El Salvador, specifically Nueva Trinidad in Chalatenango.

Thousands of Salvadorans were accompanied by pilgrims and visitors from all over the world.  This strong international presence represented a fellowship and common understanding of the attendees:  El Salvador may very well be a tiny nation, but the significance of the UCA Massacre continues to be recognized on a global scale. People from around the world, like the St. Patrick´s delegation, come together in solidarity and love for the Salvadoran people. Although this day is marked with deep sadness and lingering anger at what transpired that day twenty four years ago, we celebrate the dedication and commitment to justice of these martyrs with joy and hope. Their memory inspires others who possess the courage to facilitate change and strive relentlessly for a better reality for the Salvadoran people.

The St. Patrick´s delegation enjoying the vigil, commemorating the UCA martyrs.

The St. Patrick´s delegation enjoying the vigil, commemorating the UCA martyrs.

St. Patrick’s of Seattle, WA demonstrates the importance of solidarity through painful times. The parish of St. Patrick’s has been accompanying the Salvadoran people ever since the Sanctuary Movement began in the 1980s, which helped Central American refugees find a safe-haven as they fled atrocious civil wars. St. Pat’s sustains their relationship of mutual accompaniment by sending delegations to visit their sister community Nueva Trinidad. While providing spiritual, physical, and economic support to their Salvadoran brothers and sisters, the parish has continued to speak out against injustice in El Salvador and raise awareness in their region to encourage others to do the same. These important types of relationships that have historically been facilitated by

SHARE and other organizations help to strengthen the solidarity between the United States and El Salvador and deepen the significance of commemorating important events in history such as this one.

Reflections of El Salvador

December 21, 2012

 Written by Sister Theresa Saetta, RSM of her time in El Salvador during the Honoring Women Religious Delegation.

While the scenes of assassination have been transformed into memorials, chapels, and a rose garden in El Salvador, the memories of the people who knew, loved, evangelized with, and were saved by the men and women martyrs remains startlingly fresh and immediate.  Each day of our pilgrimage brought us ever closer to the women martyrs, Ita, Maura, Dorothy and Jean, as well as Oscar Romero, the Jesuits of the University of Central America, and their housekeeper and her daughter, Elba and Celina.

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Delegates carry a banner of the martyrs of Chalatenango to the cemetery where Ita and Maura are buried.

Nothing, except a personal lived experience of those days of repression in El Salvador, could have prepared one for the events described so vividly and painfully by the eye witnesses or first responders who met with us there.  In the very chapel where Archbishop Oscar Romero was murdered, during a prayer of reflection on his life, each one of us stood and spoke a word describing Romero.  Words like: Courageous, Martyr, Bishop of the Marginalized, Conversion, Evangelizer, committed to the Poor, began pouring forth like a waterfall, a litany of a life lived on the edge, on purpose, just like Jesus.

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Court Orders Government to Investigate El Mozote Massacre

December 14, 2012

The Salvadoran military systematically assassinated over 800 men, women, and children in the massacre

On Monday, December 10th, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a long awaited ruling on the El Mozote massacre case. The Court condemned the government as responsible for the massacre, for this violation of life. As part of the ruling, the Court ordered the Salvadoran government to investigate those responsible for the El Mozote massacre, citing that the 1993 amnesty law does not cover war crimes that occurred during the civil war.

Throughout the war, the government repeatedly committed acts of extreme cruelty and violence, and the El Mozote massacre was undoubtedly one of the most brutal. On December 11th, 1981, Salvadoran armed forces entered El Mozote and the surrounding villages. They then rounded up, separated, and systematically killed nearly 1,000 men, women, and children. Only one survived. Over half of the victims were children. The massacre is just one war atrocity among many for which the Salvadoran government is responsible as the state implemented its policy of terror against its people; it remains burned into the collective Salvadoran memory as the most horrific violation against human life.

Up until recently, national Salvadoran courts refused to investigate the killings, using the 1993 amnesty law to avoid responsibility for the long list of human rights they so cruelly violated in December 1981. Because of this impunity, human rights organizations like Tutela Legal took the case to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and then to the Inter-American Court in 2011. However, Monday’s ruling is encouraging in the fight for truth, justice, and reparations for the crimes committed. Among other things, the Inter-American Court ordered the Salvadoran government to enact the following remedial measures:

i) continue compiling a Register of Victims and Relatives of Victims of the massacre  
ii) perform investigations of the events,  
iii) ensure that the Amnesty Law does not represent an obstacle to investigations,  
iv) investigate the conduct of officials who obstructed the investigation

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Delegates to Remember Martyred Jesuits

November 21, 2012

“A fight against impunity implies a long term struggle. If one remains firm in one’s position, a well-rooted seed will take hold and the consciousness of new generations, new professionals, will change as well.” — Jesuit Father José María Tojiera

For twenty three years, individuals, non-government organizations, and international groups have been fighting for justice for six Jesuit priests assassinated at the Jose Simeón Cañas University of Central America (UCA).As the Jesuit University in El Salvador and as one of the centers of liberation theology, the UCA played an active role in speaking out for human rights during the Civil War. For this reason, six Jesuits in residence, including the rector of the University, were murdered along with their housekeeper and her daughter in 1989.  

During the Honoring Women Religious Delegation we will visit the museum at the UCA, built to pay homage to those eight martyrs and other Christian martyrs of the Civil War in El Salvador. We will also see the Rose Garden, where the Jesuits were found, now a memorial garden, and the Chapel, where they are buried.

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Former Salvadoran Colonel Montano Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court

September 15, 2012

Recently former colonel Inocente Orlando Montano, was charged with three counts of perjury and three other counts of immigration fraud this past Tuesday in the United States Federal Court. He was one of the alleged army officials accused of  the 1989 murders of six Jesuits priests. Montano pleaded guilty to all charges and can face up to 45 years in prison; his sentencing hearing will take place on December 18th.

Inocente Orlando Montano- September 11, 2012

Montano was indicted in Spain in 2011 along with 20 other army officials after being suspected as culprits in the deaths of the priests, a cook and her daughter at the Central American Unversity in El Salvador(UCA) . Based on his suspicion by a Spanish court of his involvement in the murders of the priests, Montano can still be subject  to deportation to Spain. A Spanish judge has already submitted a request to the U.S. government and a response is mending at the moment. 

This retired army colonel admitted to lying in his immigration application when filing for Temporary Protection Status in the U.S. by declaring that he was never involved in any activity with the Salvadoran army. Montano has also declared that he had no role in the slaying of the priest over two decades ago. 

It is believed that Montano had been living in the Boston area since 2001; a man who once held the highest military ranking in the Salvadoran army during its Civil War, worked at a Candy factory for years. Montano’s expenditure is still pending so far there is no word on the U.S. government’s decision. Keep reading on the story by clinking here. 

Nicaragua Withdraws Troops from SOA

September 14, 2012

The massacre at El Mozote is one of the many atrocities committed by SOA graduates.

In a historic decision earlier this month, Nicaraguan President Ortega announced that Nicaragua will be withdrawing its troops completely from the School of the Americas (SOA) now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. The Nicaraguan Government has been slowly withdrawing troops over the past decade, sending only five last year.  

In regard to the School of the Americas, President Ortega said: “The SOA is an ethical and moral anathema. All of the countries of Latin America have been victims of its graduates. The SOA is a symbol of death, a symbol of terror. We have been gradually reducing our numbers of troops at the SOA, sending only five last year and none this year. We have now entered a new phase and we will NOT continue to send troops to the SOA. This is the least that we can do. We have been its victims.” 

Over 64,000 soldiers have been trained the School of the Americas (SOA) since it’s founding in 1946.  SOA graduates have used their counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, to devastate the lives of thousands of Central Americans.

SOA graduates are responsible for the assassinations of Monseñor Romero, the six Jesuit Priests, the Four U.S. church women, the El Mozote Massacre, and tens of thousands of other ruthless murders of innocent people.

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Civil Society Demands Justice on the 30th Anniversary of the Mozote Massacre

December 14, 2011

The Monsenor Romero Coalition and the signatory organizations and persons call on the national and international community to remember that December 10th we celebrate the 63rd Anniversary of the Universal Declaraion of Human Rights and that on the 11, 12 and 13th of December of this year it will be 30 years since the Mozote Massacre.  These two commemorations invite us to continue with efforts to denounce impunity and demand that the Salvadoran government provide the truth, justice and reparations for the crime against humanity committed in El Mozote and surrounding areas. For this reason:

1.  We declare to never forget this cruel, inhumane and aberrant extermination. Read More »

Spain Demands that El Salvador extradite military personnel processed for the massacre of the Jesuits

December 9, 2011

The Council of Ministers also resolved to request that the United States of America extradite the two other military personnel accused in the killing who reside in that country. One of the defense lawyers said that the call for extradition does not worry them because they are certain that the Supreme Court of Justice will deny the request.

Ignacio Ellacuria, SJ

By Efren Lemus / Published December 2,  2011
Translated by Bethany Loberg.  Original in Spanish here

This Friday the Spanish Council of Ministers agreed to request that Salvadoran and U.S. authorities extradite 15 Salvadoran military personnel accused of participating in the assassination of six Jesuit priests and two of their collaborators, a crime which occurred the 16th of November of 1989. 

Europa Press stated that in accordance with the proposal of the Spanish Minister of Justice, Francisco Caamaño, the Spanish government has emitted 13 requests for extradition from El Salvador and two from the United States. Caamaño presented the application for extradition at the request of the Supreme Court, the institution prosecuting the military personnel for the crimes of assassination, terrorism, and crimes against humanity.   Read More »

The Salvadoran Supreme Court Favors Impunity

September 6, 2011

This past Wednesday, the 24th of August, ten magistrates of the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the nine soldiers involved in the assassination of Jesuit priests and two of their staff members. A Spanish judge required that the soldiers be tried as the primary perpetrators of these crimes, which have shaken the Salvadoran and international communities. The ruling granted the soldiers unrestricted freedom and makes clear that INTERPOL can not capture them without an order from the highest court of El Salvador.

The Court argued that INTERPOL’s red alert is only to locate suspects and does not involve an order of capture for the purpose of extradition. In addition, the Court mentioned that it had not received any official requests on the part of the Spanish government to capture and extradite the suspected soldiers, thus the Court granted them unrestricted freedom, ignoring international conventions signed by El Salvador. Once again, victims of crimes against humanity – such as the assassination of Monsignor Romero, the Jesuit priests, the El Mozote and El Sumpul massacres, and the thousands of “disappeared” during the armed conflict (El Salvador’s Civil War, 1980-1992) – in addition to their families, have been deprived of their right to fair and full justice.

It is impossible to forgive and to forget without knowing the truth about what has happened. It has been twenty years since the Jesuit priests’ case was first heard in Salvadoran courts, but the legal procedure has been heavily tampered with and has left many doubts, in addition to failing to try the masterminds behind the crimes – even in the wake of the Spanish courts’ search for justice. Instead, those responsible for executing the law and justice in our country have yet again voted in favor of the criminals without regard to international law and treaties

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