Women martyrs of El Salvador honoured on World AIDS Day

 A special Mass took place at St Aloysius Church in Euston, on Saturday to celebrate the lives of four missionaries who were martyred in El Salvador 25 years ago. Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford; Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel; and Jean Donovan, a lay missionary, were tortured and killed on 2 December 1980. The group had been working with war refugees and the poor. The Mass was celebrated by Fr Wilfrid McGreal O'Carm. During his homily he quoted TV news journalist Jon Snow who spent several years reporting from El Salvador and frequently praised the commitment of Christians he met there, working alongside the poor. Snow also pointed out that the oppressive regime had received the full support of the world's superpowers. The Mass also marked World AIDS Day. Reflecting on a service he had taken part in recently at Rochester Cathedral, for people with HIV/AIDS, Fr Wilfrid said that St Mark's Gospel describing Jesus 'having pity' on the leper, was quoted differently on that occasion. Instead of 'pity' the word 'anger' was used. "Jesus was angry about the way lepers were ostracised by society at that time," he said. "Perhaps we are not angry enough in the face of injustice. Those who are able to help, don't, and the result is immense suffering." Fr Wilfrid described someone he knew with HIV who is now well and living a very productive life - thanks to anti-retroviral drugs. But, he pointed out, millions of people, most of them children, around the world, are dying for lack of treatment. "Big business makes such immense profits - surely people's hearts would be moved if one of their own family members were ill," he said. "As Christians we can affect change .. in our anger... in our hunger for justice.. in a spirit of love, " he said. "Walking through Euston today I saw a man on the ground sprawled against the wall. An elderly man walking by on a zimmerframe saw him and said: "What's wrong mate?". I pray that we can all be as spontaneous as that elderly man," Fr Wilfrid concluded.

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