A Pilgrim's Journey
Mariana Miller
Campus Ministry

A reflection on the experience of traveling to El Salvador on the 25th Anniversary of the deaths of the UCA Martyrs

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Mariana Miller The whole experience of participating in the celebrations of the life and martyrdom of the six UCA Jesuits, their cook and her daughter was simply amazing. Upon arrival to El Salvador for the first time in my life, I immediately loved the landscape. Everything was very colorful and full of life and the rolling terrain makes it simply beautiful! The natural beauty contrasted with the fact that houses and shops are all protected by walls and barbed wire. People seem happy and easygoing, but they don’t feel safe. That must be a terrible feeling. This country has a history of poverty and oppression that still goes on, now in the hands of the drug gangs. It has been hard to get the economy going after a terrible war, it has been hard to create jobs and provide young people with a solid education and this works to the advantage of the drug lords who lure, mostly young men, into a life of addiction and violence. It is very sad.

But in the midst of this terrible reality, it was apparent to me that Salvadorians are people of very profound faith and one of the things I loved the most about this experience of celebrating the life and legacy of the UCA Martyrs was the amazingly lively and incarnated liturgies. By incarnated I mean that the joys and sorrows of the Salvadorian people are very present in the liturgy. That is why I would like to share with you my own translation of the “Gloria” from the Salvadorian Popular Mass (Misa Popular Salvadoreña) that was sang at one of the Masses.

There is an explosion of joyful singing
I am going to join my people at the cathedral.
Thousands of voices are united on this day
To sing in our patronal feast.

Glory be to the Lord, glory be to the Lord!
Glory be to the patron of our land: El Salvador (note that “El Salvador” means “Savior”)
There’s no redemption from any other Lord.
Only one Patron: our Divine Savior!

Because you are just and a defender of the oppressed,
Because you truly love us,
All your people come today decided
To proclaim our value and dignity.

Now, Lord, you will be glorified
Like it was on Mount Tabor,
When you see this people transformed
And there is life and freedom in El Salvador.

But the gods of power and money
Are opposed to transfiguration.
That’s why now you, Lord are the first one
To rise your arm against oppression.

Mariana Miller
Campus Ministry
Creighton University

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