Download: Creighton University – Prayer Service for IFTJ Attendees (2011)
Source: Creighton University – Written by Rebecca Chabot

We are a prophetic people.
We come from a prophetic people.

The very violence they create unites us and brings us together even though they beat us down. I’m quite aware that very soon, the Bible and the Gospel won’t be allowed to cross our borders. We will get only the bindings, because all of the pages are subversive. And I think that if Jesus himself came across the border at Chalatenango, they would not let him in. Brothers and sisters, there is no doubt, they would crucify him again. And God forbid I should be one of the crucifiers! -Padre Rutilio Grande

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.

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

Es bueno dar pan por un dia, pero much major es ensenar a conseguir pan para toda la vida. –Padre Joaquin Lopez y Lopez

We are a people who walk together on a road changed by the transformative and redemptive power of friendship with God and with the poor.

Senor, hazme un instrumento de tu paz,
Donde haya odio, siembre yo amor
Donde haya injuria, perdon
Donde haya duda, fe

We accomplish in our lifetime only a 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.

We are a people for whom the blood of liberation has been spilled. *red food coloring added to the water*
We come from earth which has been doused in the blood of the martyrs, known and unknown.

Today in our situation the authenticity of the people of God goes by way of poverty and justice: they are the touchstone of the truth of the faith that is professed and of the genuineness of life as it is lived out:

Poverty, which involves incarnating all our efforts and incarnating ourselves in the reality of the oppressed majorities, and that will necessarily entail a voluntary impoverishment and abnegation on the part of those who wield power.

Justice, which involves giving to the people what belongs to the people and struggling to uproot injustice and exploitation, and to establish a new earth, wherein the life of the new human may be possible. –Padre Ignacio Ellacuria

We are invited into this life by our baptism and by those who have walked the path before us. Choosing to walk this path means being willing to pour ourselves out for the kin-dom.

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.

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

Donde haya desaliento, esperanza
Donde haya sombra, luz
Donde haya tristeza, alegria

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. As 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? –Padre Ignacio Ellacuria

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.

I have frequently been threatened with death. I must say that, as a Christian, I do not believe in death but in the resurrection. If they kill me, I will rise again in the Salvadoran people.

I am not boasting; I say it with the greatest humility. As a pastor, I am bound by a divine command to give my life for those whom I love, and that includes all Salvadorans, even those who are going to kill me.

If they manage to carry out their threats, I shall be offering my blood for the redemption and resurrection of El Salvador. A bishop will die, but the church, the people of God, will not.

–Monsenor Oscar Romero

*play “Caminando”*

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.

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

As a community, we come together to share in this call, to walk together down this path.

O Divino Maestro, concedeme que no busco ser consolado sino consolar
Que no busco ser amado sino amar
Que no busco ser comprendido sino comprender

What I’m saying is I hope you come to find that which gives life a deep meaning for you. Something worth living for—maybe even worth dying for—something that energizes you, enthuses you, and enables you to keep moving ahead. –Ita Ford

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

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.

Several times I have decided to leave El Salvador. I almost could, except for the children, the poor, the bruised victims of this insanity. Who would care for them? Whose heart could be so staunch as to favor the reasonable thing in a sea of their tears and loneliness? Not mine, dear friend, not mine. –Jean Donovan

Porque dando es como recibimos
Perdonando es como tu nos perdonas
Y muriendo en tie s como nacemos a la vide eterna

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own. Amen.

Leader: In the center of the circle, you see a bowl of earth from here on Creighton’s campus. This year, each delegation has been asked to bring earth to the Teach-In. Just like the waters from around the country were mingled last year and used in the Sprinkling Rite, the earth gathered this year will be used to plant a tree, a symbol of our move and new-rootedness in Washington, DC. I’d like to invite each of you to come forward, one by one, and lay hands on the earth. Whichever name you have chosen to write on your cross for this year, I’d ask that you say out loud so that we can respond “Presente” and call forth the memory of those who have come before us.

*Community blesses the dirt*

As a community of faith, we gather together to bring our prayers before God. Our response will be, “Senor, ten piedad.”

Give peace to those who have destroyed our peace and the peace of our world.

We pray…

Grant love to those who have refused us love.

We pray…

Protect from injury those who have done us injury and those to whom we have done injury.

We pray…

Give us the strength to following the footsteps of the martyrs who have gone before, who have been transparent witnesses to the love of God for God’s people—a love so strong that they have laid down their lives for us *red water is added to the dirt* May we in this generation emulate their prophetic lives and witness according to the needs of our own time and place.

We pray…

In the spirit of the martyrs and all those who have walked the paths of justice before us, we recognize that we are a community, one which stretches far beyond those of us gathered here today. Let us join hands and pray, together with all those who have come before us, in the words that Jesus taught us.

*”Collective “Our Father”*

Speaker: *walking to middle of circle and extending his hands over the earth* Good and loving Creator, as we leave this place to join our brothers and sisters around the country in living prophetic lives, we remember those who have laid down their lives for us. We pray that you will strengthen and bless us through the lives of the martyrs, that we, too, might be willing to serve selflessly and not count the cost. We pray that you will be with the people of El Salvador, as they prepare to celebrate the lives of their martyrs, and we pray that you will be with all those who come to this country in the hopes of finding new life and opportunity. Help us all to recognize the saints that walk among us. May this earth, which represents our lives here in Omaha, be used to further justice and peace on the earth. May we be a part of building your kin-dom on earth. With Monsenor Romero, and all the martyrs, known and unknown, 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.

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