Fe y Alegría remembers the 20th anniversary of the murder of Father Joaquín López y López
He was 71 years old when he was murdered. Father Lopez was born in El Salvador in 1918.Upon finishing his studies he travelled to Mexico to enter the novitiate of the Society of Jesus where he graduated in philosophy and humanities. After his solemn profession as a Jesuit in 1956, Father Lopez started his teaching and pastoral activities in El Salvador where he taught catechism to more than 20 thousand children in the city´s marginal communities.
In 1964 he worked in the campaign to approve the law for private universities, thanks to which the UCA could start to exist. When the UCA was founded he worked for the university as secretary of the Human and Nature Science Faculty. Fr, Lopez always considered himself part of the university community. He was always up to date with the university´s activities.
In 1969 he founded Fe y Alegría El Salvador. He opened two carpentry workshops in Santa Anita, a tailoring one in La Chacra and three primary schools in Morazán, Acajutla and San Miguel. Father López was Fe y Alegría Director until his death. For Fr. López, Fe y Alegría with 38 education centres in eight provinces and 48 thousand beneficiaries, was the solution to one of the most acute problems in El Salvador, the lack of education. "If your projects are for five years, sow wheat, for ten years plant a tree but for a hundred years, educate a population" he liked to repeat.
During the last year of his life, he suffered greatly. He had undergone two major operations and his health was very fragile. He knew that he was not likely to live long, but he continued to work hard as if he had all the time in the world ahead of him... Sadly the assassins ended his life on November 1989, together with eight other innocent people.
But Fr. López continues to live in the heart thousands of El Salvador´s inhabitants who benefitted from his efforts to give education to the less favoured people of the country.
Today, on the 20th anniversary of the murder of the "martyrs of El Salvador" the lives of these dedicated people leads us to question how we address the reality of the impoverished countries. It continues to be the spark that keeps alive our commitment with education and the transformation of the system to achieve a fairer world.