BY FÁTIMA PEÑA | October 22, 2013
I didn’t meet Fr. Dean Brackley, S.J. I met him right after he was dead. In UCA’S official Facebook appeared a note that said that Fr. Dean had recently died. I simply had to see the comments in the note to know he was a special person.
Last week I was looking for a theme to write a chronicle for a journalism assignment. Lilia Suárez, the receptionist in Monsignor Romero Center immediately exclaimed: “Write something about Fr. Dean!” Unfortunately, it was not allowed in my assignment to write something about a person who had already died.
Here in El Salvador, the people who knew him try to remember Fr. Dean with joy and faith. A couple weeks ago, a group of Fr. Dean’s fellows organized a solidarity lunch and bingo to support the UCA Martyrs scholarship program, which Fr. Dean started in order to provide scholarships to cover tuition and living expenses for Salvadoran students attending the UCA. All of them are bear witness of Dean´s love and commitment.
I envy all the people who knew Fr. Dean. Just in seeing his photos I find joy and peace. Sounds kind of strange, but it happens.
A person who went to visit Fr. Dean in the cemetery last Wednesday told me this story: “I was in the cemetery and the day was extremely sunny. So I asked Fr. Dean (jokingly): please, Fr. Dean, send us some clouds. And suddenly the whole sky got cloudy. We could feel him there.”
And then Lilia told me: “I don’t feel that Fr. Dean is dead. I feel as if he is in a long travel, like the U.S. Travels he used to do when he was alive. I feel that maybe someday, he will come back”. And that´s how I would like to remember Fr. Dean.
Fátima Aracely Peña Fuentes is 19 years old and in her third year of pursuing a degree in Social Communication at the Central American University (UCA). She’s from a small country in Central America called El Salvador (Monsignor Romero and Jesuit Martyr’s country). When not in the classroom, she is an educational guide at Monsignor Romero Center and always trying to tell people all the story about our martyrs. For many years she has been interested in topics such as social justice and Liberation Theology that she has learned with the Jesuits.