Press Release
Society of Jesus Welcomes 38 New Novices

Catholic Church’s Largest Order of Priests and Brothers Celebrates Newest Members

For Immediate Release

(Washington, D.C., September 27, 2017) — This fall, the Society of Jesus (also known as the Jesuits) welcomed 38 new novices in the U.S., Canada and Haiti. These men are the newest members of the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church.

In late August, Jesuit novices arrived at novitiates in Culver City, California; Grand Coteau, Louisiana; St. Paul, Minnesota; Syracuse, New York; Montreal, Quebec; and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. for a rite of passage known as Entrance Day. Ranging in age from 21 to 47, the men will live in community, learn the rhythm of daily prayer, and deepen their understanding of God’s call to the Society.

St. Ignatius Loyola, who co-founded the Society in 1540, detailed the process of becoming a Jesuit in the Jesuit Constitutions. The total journey toward Jesuit priesthood or brotherhood can take from eight to 12 years. For the first two years — the novitiate — the novices complete a series of “experiments,” designed to test the men’s vocations and help the men discern the specific ways each Jesuit is called to serve the Church. Examples of experiments include serving the poor and marginalized at various Jesuit ministries, teaching, learning a foreign language, working in a hospital and making a pilgrimage.

These activities allow novices to dive into the work of the Society, at the margins, as fellow Jesuit Pope Francis has urged. The pope, who entered the Jesuit novitiate in Cordoba, Argentina, in 1958, said, “The Jesuit always thinks, again and again, looking at the horizon toward which he must go, with Christ at the center. This is his real strength. And that pushes the Society to be searching, creative and generous.”

Read the biographies of the men who have answered God’s call to ministry by visiting and learn more about Jesuit formation at

Following are the 38 men entering the Society of Jesus in the U.S., Canada and Haiti:

Daniel Apadula (Media, Pennsylvania)
Matthew Bjorklund (St. Paul, Minnesota)Nicholas Blair (Maryland Heights, Missouri)
Matthew Briand (South Burlington, Vermont)
Carl Caceres (Teaneck, New Jersey)
Dominic Heesang Chai (Whittier, California)
Alexander Cipoletti (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Benjamin Clarke (Snohomish, Washington)
Eric Couto (Miami, Florida)
Hunter D'Armond (Greenwell Springs, Louisiana)
Blake Daly (Belmont, Ontario)
Brian Engelhart (Yorktown Heights, New York)
Daniel Finucane (St. Louis, Missouri)
Bryan Galligan (Little Compton, Rhode Island)
Frederico G.B. Gianelli (San Francisco, California)
John Guerra (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Christopher Holownia (Wellseley, Massachusetts)
Burke Ingraffia (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Justin Kelley (Clearwater, Florida)
Myles Kelley (Dallas, Texas)
Kevin Kuehl (Memphis, Tennessee)
Spencer Liechty (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Ketler Lysius (Saint-Louis du Sud, Haiti)
Sullivan McCormick (Lewisville, Texas)
Philip Nahlik (Chicago, Illinois)
Chi Nhan Nguyen (Garland, Texas)
Chris Chinh Nguyen (San Jose, California)
Griffin Oleynick (Lansdowne, Pennsylvania)
Michael Pederson (Martelle, Iowa)
Kevin Rosetti (Anaheim, California)
Danilo Mendoza Rugama (Oakland, California)
River Simpson (Denver, Colorado)
Conor Sullivan (Hingham, Massachusetts)
Michael Thomas (South Ogden, Utah)
Bryan Torres (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
Vincent Truong (Los Angeles, California)
Jonathon Wojtkowiak (Gaylord, Michigan)
Matthew Zurcher (Warren, Pennsylvania)


About the Society of Jesus in Canada and the United States

Co-founded in 1540 by Saint Ignatius Loyola, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) is the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church. The Society's mission is to put reconciliation into practice each day — with God, with human beings and with the environment. Jesuit priests and brothers are involved in educational, pastoral and spiritual ministries around the world, practicing a faith that promotes justice. In Canada and the United States, there are 30 Jesuit colleges and 80 pre-secondary and secondary schools with a shared goal of developing competent, compassionate and committed leaders in the service of the Church and society. Jesuits minister in parishes and at retreat houses and serve as chaplains at prisons, hospitals, nursing homes and in the military. The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, headquartered in Washington, D.C., represents all Jesuits in Canada and the U.S. For more information on the Society of Jesus, visit

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