Legacy of Jesuit Martyrs & Companions Inspires Crowd of Over 1,600 at Ignatian Family Teach-In

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Over 1,000 Attendees Participate in Legislative Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill Following Teach-In

WASHINGTON, DC (PRUnderground) November 20th, 2014

Over 1,600 attendees were inspired by the legacy of the Jesuit martyrs and their companions at the 17th annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ).  The Teach-In took place in the Washington DC area from November 15-17.   The IFTJ is an annual nationwide Catholic social justice conference sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network.  Teach-In attendees represented over ninety-five Catholic institutions in twenty-five states, Canada, El Salvador, and Mexico.  The 17th annual Teach-In coincided with the 25th anniversary of the murders of six Jesuit priests, killed in El Salvador on November 16, 1989, by Salvadoran military for their defense of the economically poor.

Beyond inspiring speakers, policy briefings, and networking events, over 1,000 of the Teach-In participants collectively met with 100+ U.S. Congressional offices during a legislative advocacy day on Monday, November 17.  Advocates participated in meetings with lawmakers and staffers to urge Congress to pass humane comprehensive immigration reform, support human rights oriented policies in Central America, and respond to climate change negatively impacting the economically poor across the world.  Highlights of the advocacy day included a group of approximately fifty students fromArchbishop Mitty High School, Bellarmine Preparatory, and Santa Clara University, who met with with Representative Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) to discuss immigration reform and Saint Louis University High School students and faculty meeting directly with Senator Roy Blunt (MO) to speak about immigration as well.

Keynote Speaker Highlights:

Opening keynote Michael Lee, Ph.D, offered many insights about the legacy of the martyrs.  He challenged critics of the martyrs affinity to liberation theology, saying, “to many people it is a dirty word…but it is the witness of the Jesuit martyrs.  It is a way of seeking God.”  Lee is a professor of systematic theology at Fordham University and has written numerous books on the Jesuit martyrs and liberation theology movement.

That same evening Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International called on students to be “peacemakers” by committing their lives to nonviolence through simple living, civic participation, and socially conscious consumerism, public action, fasting, and prayer.  “You are part of a generation that will face great challenges,” said Dennis.  She continued,  “You are also part of a global community that is filled with energy and life and is already creating a better world.”

The following day Honduran human rights activist Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J., cited the Salvadoran martyrs and the blood they shed in describing the situation in his home country. “Twenty-five years ago they killed our brothers and sisters at the Jesuit University of Central America and twenty-five years later that horror continues to be present in the horror of bodies torn apart in Honduras,” said Coto.  In closing he implored the crowd, stating, “Today is the time of Honduras, don’t abandon the people of Honduras.”

About Ignatian Solidarity Network

The Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) is a national social justice education and advocacy organization inspired by the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. ISN was founded in 2004 and is a lay-led 501(c)3 organization working in partnership with the Jesuits, Roman Catholic order of priests and brothers, and their universities, high schools, parishes, and other ministries across the U.S. ISN works with students, faculty, staff, parishioners, current and former volunteers, alumni, and others inspired by faith to work for social justice and global solidarity.

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Christopher G. Kerr

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