BY ISN STAFF | September 2, 2020

From October 19-26, 2020 the Ignatian Solidarity Network will host the first virtual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ).

Initiated in 1997, IFTJ commences annually in the fall to commemorate the lives of the Jesuits and their companions martyred in El Salvador. The six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her teenage daughter were murdered on November 16, 1989, for speaking out against the country’s tumultuous civil war. 

Each year, IFTJ connects Catholic faith and justice, addressing timely issues through dynamic speakers, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities. Known as the largest annual Catholic social justice gathering in the U.S., the gathering has attracted attendees from Jesuit and other Catholic universities, high schools, parishes, and organizations in the U.S., as well as Canada, Mexico, Spain, and El Salvador. 

This year will mark the first virtual IFTJ, due to travel and gathering restrictions resulting from COVID-19. The virtual platform offers an opportunity for expanded programming beyond the typical two-day event, followed by an advocacy day. October 19-23 will feature professional development tracks and content geared toward high school classrooms. October 24-26 will follow the traditional IFTJ format with 40+ dynamic speakers, breakouts, prayer and liturgy, and advocacy. Attendees also benefit from nine full months of access to all content through an on-demand library of all conference speakers, supplemental materials, and virtual exhibitor materials. 

The event will provide opportunities for virtual networking with fellow attendees through chat features, Q&As with keynote speakers and breakout presenters, and reflection and roundtable sessions. Opportunities will also be available to build network connections through one-on-one meetings and sponsored networking and information sessions with 75+ faith and justice exhibitors. 

Featured mainstage keynote speakers will include Olga Segura, author on race and culture, particularly as it relates to the Catholic Church, Fr. Bryan Massingale, racial justice scholar and professor at Fordham University, Mauricio López, executive secretary of Red Eclesial PanAmazonica (REPAM), a Catholic network that promotes the rights and dignity of people living in the Amazon, and Bishop Mark Seitz, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso and advocate for those who migrate. 

Featured breakout presenters include Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J., founder of Homeboy Industries, Sr. Simone Campbell, S.S.S., executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Joan Rosenhauer, executive director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and Patience Mhlanga, a graduate of Fairfield University whose family was resettled in the U.S. with the support of JRS/USA, and Fr. James Martin, S.J., best-selling author and editor at large for America Magazine. 

High school track presenters include Sr. Helen Prejean, C.S.J., Kino Border Initiative, Brophy College Preparatory, Creighton University Ignatian Advocacy Club, Bishop O’Dowd High School, and Cristo Rey Baltimore. 

Professional development track presenters include the Slavery, History, Memory and Reconciliation project of the Jesuits, Kino Border Initiative, Christian for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ), Dr. Marcus Mescher, and Dr. Mary Wardell-Ghirarduzzi. 

Teach-In

“For more than twenty years, the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice has brought people together to honor the legacy of the Jesuit martyrs and their companions through learning, prayer, and action,” says Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network. “In this unprecedented year, in which our world has drastically changed due to a global pandemic along with the many other ways our country is grappling with injustice, we remain committed to forming advocates for a world that better upholds the dignity of all people.”

The 2020 theme, Prophetic Resilience: Breaking Down and Building Up, urges attendees to “break down all that separates us from the love of God, from each other, and from flourishing,” addressing the roots of violence and oppression and to build up “our individual and collective capacities for healing and justice.” 

Sponsors include, at the Magis level, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and The Loyola Foundation, Inc.; at the Loyola level, EthixMerch, International Samaritan, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, and Sojourners; at the Xavier level, Commonweal and Villanova University Campus Ministry, and at the Arrupe level, Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ), Jesuit Schools Network, Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, Magis Americas, U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, and the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Learn more and register for the 2020 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice here.

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