Dean probably doesn't know this, but in 1995 he wrote a letter supporting my Fulbright application to El Salvador. With no questions asked, Dean offered up the university's resources and faculty.Fr Dean Brackley SJ has returned to San Salvador, after being diagnosed with cancer that has already reached an advanced stage. Dean, a Jesuit of the New York Province, was one of those who in 1990 volunteered to go to San Salvador to take the place of the six Jesuits assassinated by the army in a night time raid on the Jesuit University (UCA) in 1989 at the height of El Salvador's civil war.
Dean taught theology at the UCA in the Monseñor Romero Centre. But he identified a special role for himself in educating US and European Church people about the realities of poverty and oppression in Central America and the role played by the United States in maintaining that situation...
The Chairman of the Archbishop Romero Trust, Julian Filochowski, writes: 'Five months ago Dean was diagnosed with cancer that had already reached an advanced stage. He has now returned to San Salvador. Networks of prayer linking his friends and acquaintances of many years in the US, Central America and Europe, have kept Dean constantly in their hearts and minds.'
Dean himself sent the following message from San Salvador: 'I continue to have ups and downs, but the great gift and big change is that I feel at peace. God has given me this grace to each day put myself in God's hands. I am deeply grateful for your prayers.'
I have had the privilege to meet him several times since then, most recently when he came to Scranton to receive the Pedro Arrupe award for distinguished contributions to Ignation mission and ministries.
Dean's a remarkable person. My prayers go out to Dean, his family and friends.