News Detail
Jesuit Father Matt Ruhl
“The overwhelming majority of Belizeans are peace lovers, and they just have to stand up and take control of their country. Belize is more beautiful than a lot of Belizeans know.” — Jesuit Father Matt Ruhl
Jesuit Helps Belize City Parish Stand Up to Surrounding Violence

October 16, 2013 — St. Martin de Porres, a Jesuit parish in Belize City, Belize, is a parish set apart by the violence surrounding its walls. In 2012, Belize achieved the unwelcome distinction of having the fourth-highest murder rate in the world, 10 times that of the United States, according to United Nations crime reports. Eighty percent of the country’s violent murders occur in Belize City, and the city’s south side, where St. Martin’s is located, is its most violent section.

Since Jesuit Father Matt Ruhl became pastor at St. Martin’s two years ago, he has worked to transform the campus into a clean and safe oasis amidst a rough neighborhood of unkempt homes and littered streets — one of the toughest in Belize.

Fr. Ruhl has buried men who have been murdered, and even the priests’ residence has been broken into. In response to the violence ravaging the city, Fr. Ruhl organized a 300-mile march along the length of the country to promote “a culture of peace” earlier this year. On Feb. 1, he led walkers from the Sarstoon River, the country’s northern border with Mexico, to the Toledo district bordering Guatemala. It took 13 days.

“My desire is that the walk inspires all the citizens of Belize, to say ‘Look, it is just a small minority of people who are causing the trouble,’” Fr. Ruhl said. “The overwhelming majority of Belizeans are peace lovers, and they just have to stand up and take control of their country. Belize is more beautiful than a lot of Belizeans know. I love my St. Martin de Porres students. They gladden my heart.”

Fr. Ruhl looks forward to celebrating the 50th anniversary of St. Martin’s founding in 1966. In the 1960s, population growth to an area developed from former mangrove swamps made a new school and parish necessary. Today, the St. Martin’s campus includes a church, three primary school classroom buildings, a preschool and a parish center. [Missouri Province]


Recent News

December 4, 2016 — Father Arturo Sosa, SJ, sat down for an interview with Father Matt Malone, SJ.

December 3, 2016 — Today is the feast day of St. Francis Xavier, SJ, one of the first Jesuits, who is considered by some to be the greatest missionary since the time of the Apostles.

December 2, 2016 — On Facebook, Georgetown student Febin Bellamy highlights the stories of unsung campus workers.

November 30, 2016 — Today, 27 Jesuit college and university presidents released a statement on undocumented students.

November 26, 2016 — Jesuit Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, 29th Superior General of the Society, died in Beirut today.

November 25, 2016 — Fr. Daniel Hendrickson, SJ, was in Spain for the installation of the first European chapter of the Jesuit honor society.

November 23, 2016 — For the past seven summers, Jesuit Father Rick Malloy has gone west to minister in Yellowstone and celebrate Mass with visitors.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 12/05/16

America 11/28/16

America 11/21/16



Campion Renewal Center
Campion Renewal Center, situated 20 miles west of Boston, is located in a peaceful setting that provides plenty of walking trails through the woods and fields.