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Evening Prayer in Memory of the UCA Martyrs

Download: BC-Weston – Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador Prayer Service (2011)
Source: Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (Formerly Weston School of Theology) – Written by Rebecca Chabot

Evening Prayer in Memory of the UCA Martyrs

Antiphon: Let us make peace our plan of work.

(The Prayer of St. Francis)
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow your love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith

Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
Where there is sadness, joy

O, Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love

For it’s in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born
To eternal life.  Amen.  Glory…


Antiphon: The work to build the Kingdom of God continues.

(“The Work To Build The Kingdom of God Continues” by Monseñor Oscar A. Romero)

It helps now and then to step back and take the long view.
The Kingdom of God is not only beyond our efforts,
It is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.
No prayers fully express our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.

This is what we are about.
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects, far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.  Amen.  Glory…


Antiphon: The blood of the martyrs nourishes the people of God.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, the reign of heaven is theirs.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are those whose heart is pure, for they will see God.
Blessed are those who are compassionate, for they will receive mercy.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are those who work for peace, for they shall be known as children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted in pursuit of what is right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.  Glory…



(A reading from Mark Chmiel’s The Book of Mev)

The Jesuits’ work was based on the promotion of human rights for the poor majorities as the most effective way of realizing the common good.  Their lives dramatically incarnated a foundational Christian truth: Fidelity can lead straight to the Cross.  Ellacuría once offered a spiritual exercise for the present age of atrocity that called people of good will to struggle so that others can experience a more abundant life:

I want you to set your eyes and your hearts on these people who are suffering so much—some from poverty and hunger, others from oppression and repression.  Then, since I am a Jesuit, standing before this people thus crucified you must repeat St. Ignatius’ examination from the first week of the Exercises.  Ask yourselves: What have I done to crucify them?  What do I do to uncrucify them?  What must I do for this people to rise again?

Canticle of Mary

Antiphon: We remember always the stories of those who go before us.


Presente Litany

Ignacio Ellacuría…Presente!

Oscar Romero…Presente!

Jean Donovan…Presente!

Ignacio Martín Baró…Presente!

Elba Julia Ramos…Presente!

Segundo Montes…Presente!

Rutilio Grande…Presente!

Ita Ford…Presente!

Joaquin Lopez y Lopez…Presente!

Celina Maricet Ramos…Presente!

Amando Lopez…Presente!

Dorothy Kazel…Presente!

Juan Ramon Moreno…Presente!

Maura Clarke…Presente!


Our Father (sung to the tune of “The Sound of Silence”)

Padre nuestro Tú que estás
en los que aman la verdad,
haz que el Reino que por Ti se dio
llegue pronto a nuestro corazón
y el amor que tu Hijo nos dejó,
en la cruz
esté ya con nosotros.
Y en el pan de la unidad
Cristo danos Tú la paz
y olvídate de nuestro mal,
si olvidamos el de los demás
no permitas que caigamos en tentación
¡ Oh Señor!, ten piedad del mundo.

(Recite Lord’s Prayer)

¡ Oh Señor!, y ten piedad del mundo.


Final Prayer:

Lord of all, we remember this night our brothers and sisters who in choosing to follow you and to proclaim the Good News of your salvation to the world, paid with their lives.  We pray that you will strengthen us and encourage us through their lives and their ministries.  May we be willing to serve the world selflessly and not count the cost.  We pray that you will be with the people of El Salvador as they remember the saints who walked in their midst and we pray that you will remind us that no theology can survive apart from the world.  Help us direct our studies ad majorem dei gloriam.  With the UCA martyrs, with the Four Churchwomen, and with Monseñor Romero, we pray.  Amen.


About the Author:

Rebecca Chabot is a social ethicist and PhD candidate at the University of Denver/Iliff School of Theology. Her love of social ethics grew out of her experiences in El Salvador as an undergraduate and as a graduate student. In 2004, during her last semester of college, her first full-length play, No Más: The Story of the Salvadoran Martyrs, premiered to a packed house at Creighton University. In addition to the show, she has also helped plan and/or create rituals for various school groups and for the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice. Though her primary writing is academic and covers everything from feminist theologies to the ethics of professional club soccer, she also enjoys creating rituals and shows that are designed to help people connect their passion for their faith with the pursuit of social justice.

1 reply
  1. Kate Speltz
    Kate Speltz says:

    With regards to the “Romero Prayer” – *This prayer was composed by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, drafted for a homily by Card. John Dearden in Nov. 1979 for a celebration of departed priests. As a reflection on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop Romero, Bishop Untener included in a reflection book a passage titled “The mystery of the Romero Prayer.” The mystery is that the words of the prayer are attributed to Oscar Romero, but they were never spoken by him.



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