Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel, a Cleveland native; lay missionary Jean Donovan and Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford were killed by some national guardsmen for their role in aiding the Salvadoran people. As Bishop Perez told the students, the women displayed the ultimate act of love when they laid down their lives and died for the people of El Salvador. They did what Jesus did for us when he died on the cross, he explained.
Despite what many people think, Advent is not a time to prepare for the coming of Christ, the bishop said. “Advent is a time to prepare for the encounters with Jesus that have yet to come. It is a time for us to make sure we are prepared for these encounters. When we encounter Jesus and open our hearts to these encounters, our lives are never the same,” he said.
That’s what happened with the four martyred churchwomen. Early in their lives, they had an encounter with Jesus and they were forever changed, the bishop said. They fell in love with the Lord and his people and did whatever they could to help save as many as they could. They knew their lives were in danger, yet they stayed to help and to serve until their deaths. Those who encountered these women encountered Jesus through these women and their lives were forever changed, Bishop Perez said.
He told the students they have the ability to do the same and asked them not to forget that.
During the Communion reflection, a slideshow was played showing the various works of mercy performed during the year by St. Ignatius students. The works include feeding the homeless, serving as pall bearers for those who have none, neighborhood cleanup, mentoring younger students and more.
“As I watched the slideshow, I want you all to remember something. What you are doing there is the biggest thing you can do with your life -- bigger than any game you will play. When you do those works of service, you are touching the lives of others. They are encountering you and encountering Jesus through you,” Bishop Perez told the students.