St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish welcomed Father Peter Gyves, SJ, MD as he celebrated the 31st Anniversary of the martyring of 6 Jesuits and two laywomen at the Universidad Centroamericana in San Salvador, El Salvador. During the Salvadoran civil war, these Jesuits sacrificed their lives for denouncing the injustices committed by the oligarchy and for defending innocent Salvadorans subjected to great violence. They are Ignatian role models of a faith that seeks global justice.

Father Gyves gave an impassioned homily on the leadership and courage it takes to risk one’s life and talents, as the Gospel reading suggests, to serve others. He shared his original intentions of becoming a physician as a first-year student at Boston College and how God, communicating through inner stirrings of his soul, invited him to use his gifts outside of the United States. With his heart on fire, Peter decided to serve as a Physician in the rural communities in El Salvador, where shortly before his arrival, the six Jesuits and two women were killed at the Jesuit University. While eight martyrs were explicitly mentioned, a point was made to remember the 70,000+ missing, tortured and dead of El Salvador during the period of the civil war. The event and direct encounter with those who suffered greatly and unjustly elicited his response to serve the poor and marginalized.

Students were attentive and moved by these accounts as they heard of the courage of the martyrs’ and Father Gyves’ response to God’s call. He invited the students present to utilize their education at Boston College and respond to the injustices that occur throughout the world. Hopefully, they can continue to look upon these martyrs as models of faith for how to live out a faith that seeks global justice.

Luis Melgar
Boston College School of Theology & Ministry
Master of Divinity Class of 2023