Loyola University Chicago

Office of the President


Honoring Our Ignatian Heritage

November 4, 2015

Dear Loyola Community,

On Monday, November 16, we will mark the 26th anniversary of the assassination of the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) martyrs—six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and the housekeeper's daughter. This year, we will present an inaugural Martyrs Award to the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants, which is responding to the needs of migrants and refugees from El Salvador and Latin America. The suffering of these people is rooted in many of the same structural injustices to which the martyrs responded. The work of the Interfaith Committee reminds us of the way to which we are the direct heirs to, and responsible for, the ongoing mission of the martyrs.

Loyola honors the Salvadoran martyrs each year because in their lives and deaths, they exemplify the Jesuit and Catholic ideals and values that we seek to emulate, such as solidarity with the poor, working for social justice, and courageously witnessing to the truth. The annual Martyrs Award will honor a worthy faith-based organization or individual with a $25,000 prize in commemoration of the UCA martyrs and in support of the University's commitment to advancing social justice. In early 2016, the University community will be invited to submit nominations for next year's awardee. A committee will be formed to review the submitted nominations and to recommend awardees to the Dean's Council each year.

This month's award ceremony will take place on our Lake Shore Campus, in the Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, BVM, Multipurpose Room, 2nd floor, Damen Student Center, from 3:30—5:00 p.m. At this event, a panel of Loyolans will reflect on their efforts to live out the Jesuit mission in light of issues related to immigration and the struggles of undocumented people. After the panel discussion and award ceremony, there will be a memorial Mass in Madonna della Strada Chapel at 5:15 p.m., followed by a reception beginning at 6:00 p.m. in McCormick Lounge. Information on the award ceremony, as well as other programs organized during Ignatian Heritage Month, can be found at LUC.edu/IHM.

I hope you can join us at this inaugural Martyrs Award event on November 16 to honor the work of the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants, and in support of all who work for social justice.


John P. Pelissero, PhD
Interim President