(University Heights, Ohio) November 4, 2014 — More than 1,300 people affiliated with Jesuit universities, high schools, parishes, and the larger Catholic Church will converge at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ), November 15-17 in Washington, D.C. The 17th annual Teach-In will coincide with the 25th anniversary of the murders of six Jesuit priests and two laywomen, killed in El Salvador on November 16, 1989, by Salvadoran military for their defense of the economically poor.
The IFTJ is a nationwide social justice conference sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network, a national lay-led, faith-based, social justice organization that works to mobilize Jesuit universities, high schools, parishes, and ministries and the larger church throughout the United States in order to effect positive social change on critical issues facing the world. Teach-In attendees represent more than90 Catholic institutions in 25 states, Canada and Mexico.
Keynote speakers include Marie Dennis, Co-President of Pax Christi International; Michael Lee, Ph.D., Professor of Systematic Theology at Fordham University; Fr. Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J., a Honduran human rights activist; Caroline Brennan, Senior Communications Officer at Catholic Relief Services; Fr. James Martin, S.J., editor-at-large at America Magazine; Fr. Tom Reese, S.J., columnist at National Catholic Reporter; and Daniel Misleh, Executive Director of the Catholic Climate Covenant.
"I am very much looking forward to participating in the Ignatian Family Teach-In this year," said keynote speaker Marie Dennis, on her presence at the Teach-In. "It is always energetic and inspiring — a great place to be renewed and challenged by the Gospel. I am sure that will be particularly true on this 25th anniversary of the assassinations at the Jesuit university in El Salvador."
This year's Teach-In includes the national premiere of a documentary depicting the story and legacy of the Jesuit murders in El Salvador. Entitled Blood in the Backyard, the approximately 30-minute documentary produced by Loyola Productions includes interviews with Rep. Jim McGovern, former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador William Walker, El Salvadoran Ambassador Francisco Altschul, and Fr. Jon Sobrino, S.J. The documentary will be shown on Saturday evening, Nov. 15, and will be followed by a communal prayer service commemorating the lives of the murdered Jesuits and their lay companions.
In addition to the workshops, keynote addresses, and policy discussions, participants will rally on Capitol Hill on Monday, Nov. 17, before collectively meeting with more than 125 U.S. Congressional offices. Advocates will visit with their respective lawmakers to urge Congress members to pass humane comprehensive immigration reform, support human rights oriented policies in Central America, and respond to climate change and effects marginalizing the economically poor.
"Not only will the Teach-In participants commemorate the lives of the murdered Jesuits, they will put the martyrs' legacy into action by advocating on Capitol Hill for key issues facing people across the world today," said Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network. "This is a critical time for faith-based advocates to be calling on our country's leaders to act morally on important issues like immigration reform, climate change, and human rights in Central America."
Teach-In attendees will also have access to the first-ever print edition of The Jesuit Post (TJP), which will include posts by young Jesuits as well as specially invited lay women and men writers. Using a variety of digital media, TJP offers a Jesuit and Catholic perspective on the contemporary world. Posts focus on both sacred and secular issues, and everything in between and can be found at: https://thejesuitpost.org.
The Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice is sponsored by: Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Catholic Relief Services, Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University, Loyola University Chicago Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University Maryland, University of San Francisco, Xavier University, America Magazine, Appalachian Institute at Wheeling Jesuit University, Bread for the World, Fairfield University, U.S. Jesuits National Advocacy Office, John Carroll University, Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University, Loyola Press, Oxfam America, and Villanova University.
• A live stream of the main stage events will be available on Saturday (Nov. 15) & Sunday (Nov. 16).
Social Media Connections for the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice:• ISN Twitter Handle: @IGsolidarityNET
• Teach-In Hashtag: #IFTJ14
• Facebook: /ignatiansolidarity
• Instagram: ignatiansolidarity
The Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) is a national social justice network inspired by the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. ISN was founded in 2004 and is a lay-led organization working in partnership with Jesuit universities, high schools, and parishes, along with many other Catholic institutions and social justice partners. More information can be found at: www.ignatiansolidarity.net.