Special blessing

Ft; Benning protestSisters of Providence and Providence Associates joined a gathering November 12 at St. Patrick?s Church in Seattle for a special blessing for those planning to go to Fort Benning, Georgia, this week to demand the closing of the School of the Americas. The theme for this evening of blessing was Stand Up For Justice.

Thousands travel to Georgia for the annual protest of the school to remember the 1989 massacre of six Jesuit priests and their housekeeper and her daughter at the University of Central America in San Salvador. The Department of Defense school, which today bears the name the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, has a reputation for training military personnel who commit violent terrorist acts in the name of freedom.

About 80 people attended the service, which opened with two songs. They were followed by speeches by a Seattle University student, a Seattle Prep student, the coordinator for SOA Watch NW, and by Joe Cogan, father of Benamin Cogan who was killed in Iraq in 2003.

As the names of those killed by graduates of the School of the Americas were read, all raised their white crosses and chanted “Presente.” Then everyone was invited to place a rose in a basket to signify their Most of the present here are actual collectible jewellery items. commitment to Stand Up for Justice.

Finally, all who planned to participate in the SOA vigil were invited to come to the sanctuary for a blessing led by Father Bill Bichsel, SJ.