Commemoration the 30th Anniversary of the Martyrs of El Salvador

    November 9, 2019

    Below is a note from University President Scott R. Pilarz, S.J. to the University community.

    Dear Members of the University Community,

    This month marks the 30th anniversary of the assassination of the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador at the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA), a Jesuit university in the nation’s capital.  For many years, the UCA has been a model for Jesuit universities around the world for its very public commitment to the service of faith, the promotion of justice, and the work of reconciliation.  The UCA serves as a reminder to us all that Jesuit universities should work to transform culture. As many of you know, The University of Scranton has a special relationship with the UCA, with administrators, faculty, staff, students, alumni, board members, and donors having visited through multiple programs over the last 30 years to express solidarity with the Salvadoran people and work to build a more just, peaceful society there.

    The University will offer a series of events this month to honor the work of our martyrs and the Salvadoran people. Please join us in doing the following: 

    Volunteer Opportunity: Serve and clean at the Seasons of Love dinner at the Church of the Good Shepherd on Sunday, Nov. 10, from 12:00 noon until 3:30 p.m. Transportation will be provided from the university. Please contact Pat Vaccaro at to register and with questions. Sponsored by The Ellacuría Initiative and the Center for Service & Social Justice.

    Prayers of Hope for DACA Table Sit: We will participate in the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) initiative Prayers of Hope to show support for and solidarity with DACA recipients on Tuesday, November 12, The DeNaples Center 2nd floor, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., as the U.S. Supreme Court begins hearing the case on the legality of the Trump Administration ending the program. Information about the Martyrs as well as the upcoming events will be included. Sponsored by The Ellacuría Initiative, the Office of Community & Government Relations, and Campus Ministries.

    Mass and Donation Drive: On Thursday, Nov. 14, at 4:30 p.m. in The McIlhenny Ballroom, we will hold a Mass to commemorate the martyrs and to commission the group attending the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in DC. Donations of soup, cereal, and socks will be collected at Mass. Sponsored by Campus Ministries and the Center for Service & Social Justice.

    Global Insights, El Salvador: Students, faculty, and staff share their international experiences of El Salvador, with a light lunch of Salvadoran cuisine served, on Thursday, Nov. 21, 11:30 a.m. -12:45 p.m., in Brennan Hall Rose Room. Sponsored by The Office of Global Education, The Office of Residence Life, The Cross Cultural Centers, and the Office of Equity and Diversity. RSVP to

    Our celebration of El Salvador will continue throughout the academic year, culminating in March with a commissioning Mass for those participating in Spring Break service projects as well as marking the 40th Anniversary of the assassination of St. Oscar Romero.

    We at The University of Scranton honor the memory of our martyrs and vow to continue their work.

    In the words of the poet, T.S. Elliot, in his play Murder in the Cathedral, “For the blood of the martyrs shall enrich the earth, shall create the holy places.  For wherever a saint has dwelt, wherever a martyr has given his blood for the blood of Christ, there is holy ground, and the sanctity shall not depart from it….from such ground springs that which forever renews the earth.”

    Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.


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