University of Scranton Commemorates 25th Anniversary of the Martyrs of El Salvador

Nov 5, 2014

The University of Scranton has planned a series of events in November to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the martyrs of El Salvador – the six Jesuit priests and their housekeeper and her daughter who were murdered on the grounds of the University of Central America, a Jesuit university in El Salvador.

“I have traveled annually to El Salvador for the past nine years, motivated by the selfless quest for service and sacrifice of the Martyrs of the University of Central America,” wrote University of Scranton President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., in an article to be published in the November issue of Connections, the monthly online news publication of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU). “Each time, I am humbled by their example and inspired to make their story live on in the lives of others – especially those attending and serving at our Jesuit schools.”

 The University’s events begin on Tuesday, Nov. 18, with Will Cohen, Ph.D., associate professor of theology/religious studies at the University, delivering a lecture titled “Liberation Theology and the UCA Martyrs.” The lecture, which is free of charge and open to the public, will take place at noon in the Moskovitz Theater on the fourth floor of the DeNaples Center on campus.

The following day, Wednesday, Nov. 19, Oscar Torres’ award-winning film “Innocent Voices,” a biographical film about coming of age during the Salvadoran civil war, will be shown in the Pearn Auditorium of Brennan Hall. The screening, which is free of charge and open to the public, will begin with a brief talk by Torres, the film’s writer and producer, at 6 p.m.

Two commemoration events are scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 20: a Mass and lunch at 11:30 a.m. in the McIlhenny Ballroom of the DeNaples Center; and a student/alumni panel in the Pearn Auditorium of Brennan Hall at 6 p.m. Both the Mass and panel discussion are open to the public.

“What the Martyrs Mean for Us Today,” a faculty panel, will be presented on Friday, Nov. 21, at noon in the Moskovitz Theater of the DeNaples Center. Michael Allison, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Political Science Department and coordinator of Education for Justice, will moderate the panel discussion. The event is open to the public, free of charge.

The University’s commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the El Salvador martyrs will conclude on Sunday, Nov. 23, with “Feeding Families in Our Community,” a service project for University faculty, staff and students. The project will take place at the Valley View Terrace Housing Development during two shifts: 10 a.m. to noon, and noon to 2 p.m. Members of the University community who wish to volunteer may register at

The events planned to commemorate the anniversary complement a tradition of University initiatives intended to remember the martyrs. In 1999, the University began the Bridges to El Salvador program for students, faculty and staff to foster a greater commitment to justice issues. This legacy continues at the University through experiences led by the University’s Jesuit Center to El Salvador and other countries. In 2001, the University dedicated Martyrs Grove in an area near Campion Hall to serve as a place for prayer and reflection and as a reminder of the importance of their lives.

For more information about the University’s commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the El Salvador martyrs, contact the Jesuit Center at (570) 941-6480 or visit

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