On November 16, 1989, six prominent Jesuit priests, including the rector and vice rector of El Salvador's most prestigious university, were killed along with two others at the house as they slept. The Jesuits were labeled subversives by the Salvadoran government for speaking out against the oppressive socioeconomic structure of society. Their assassinations were ordered for their unwavering defense of the poor.
This marks the 20th anniversary of the martyrdom. The U.S. House of Representatives passed House Resolution 761, "Remembering and commemorating the lives and work of [the Jesuit Fathers, their housekeeper and her daughter] on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of their deaths at the University of Central America Jose Simeon Canas in San Salvador, El Salvador." The resolution was sponsored by Rep. James McGovern (D) of Massachusetts.
Xavier University will commemorate the anniversary with these events which are free and open to the public. They are organized by VOS (Voices of Solidarity), which came into existence at the time of the 10th anniversary and therefore celebrates its 10th anniversary with these events.
Saturday, November 14 7:00 pm Bellarmine Chapel: Live feed from El Salvador, allowing viewers to see the procession and vigil in San Salvador in remembrance of the Jesuit martyrs.
Sunday, November 15 4:00 and 10:00 pm student Masses in Bellarmine Chapel: Mass petitions for the Jesuit martyrs in El Salvador.
Monday, November 16 1:15-3:30 pm on Xavier’s Academic Mall: Human Display of Martyred Jesuits in the Academic Mall.
Monday, November 16 8:00 pm in room 330 of the Gallagher Student Center: Showing of the film "Question of Conscience," to learn more about the six Jesuits and what they died for.
Tuesday, November 17 8:00 pm in Kelley Auditorium in Xavier’s Alter Hall: Brian Derouen discusses his act of civil disobedience crossing the line at SOA, and how it has affected his life.
Thursday, November 19 8:30 pm: Solemn Procession and Reflective Vigil. Those traveling to Georgia for the SOA protest Nov 20-22 will meet at Xavier’s Brueggeman Center and process to Bellarmine Chapel in remembrance and to reflect on their role in this struggle. SOA Watch is an independent organization that seeks to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas, through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent protest, as well as media and legislative work. Many of the squad who killed the martyrs were graduates of the SOA and the protest began on the first anniversary of their deaths. It is always the weekend closest to the anniversary.