Wednesday, October 21, 2009

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

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.”