James Riordan, S.J. of Xavier University will join over 1,000 others passionate about faith-inspired social justice who will gather in Washington, DC, from November 12-14, 2011, for the 14th annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ) sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network.
The Teach-In is an opportunity for members of Jesuit institutions and partners to gather for learning, prayer, networking and legislative advocacy on Capitol Hill. Teach-In attendees represent all twenty-eight Jesuit universities, as well as Jesuit high schools, parishes, volunteer communities, and other Catholic institutions and organizations.
Started in 1997 in Columbus, Georgia, the IFTJ occurs in mid-November to remember the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador, six Jesuit priests and their companions murdered November 16, 1989, in El Salvador for their efforts on behalf of the economically poor of El Salvador. The IFTJ moved from Georgia to Washington, DC, in 2010, to respond to the integration of legislative advocacy into the experience.
The 2011 theme is “The Gritty Reality: Feel It, Think It, Engage It,” derived from a 2000 speech given by former Jesuit Superior General Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., in which he said, “Students, in the course of their formation, must let the gritty reality of this world into their lives, so they can learn to feel it, think about it critically, respond to its suffering and engage it constructively.”
Keynote speakers include Rev. Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, S.J., Provincial of the East African Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits); Jim Keady, activist and executive director of an advocacy organization focused on Nike factory workers in southeast Asia; Colman McCarthy, former Washington Post journalist, author, and college professor; Br. Mickey O’Neill McGrath, OSFS, artist and director of Bee Still Studios; and Jennifer Smyers, an immigration and refugee policy advocate at Church World Service. Principal celebrant at Sunday Mass will be Rev. Don MacMillan, S.J., a campus minister at Boston College and long-time peace and justice advocate.