June 3, 2014 — Starting the first weekend of June, the Society of Jesus, the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church, will ordain 19 new Jesuit priests. Ordination Masses began at St. Aloysius Church in Spokane, Washington, and Church of the Gesu in Milwaukee on June 7, and continue at Fordham University Church in the Bronx, New York, and St. Francis Xavier College Church in St. Louis on June 14. Ordinations for this year will conclude with Mass and celebration at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in San Antonio on July 19.
The 19 ordinands have diverse backgrounds and hail from around the country, including Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio and Texas. In addition, several of the men immigrated to the U.S. — from France, Mexico and Vietnam.
Before entering the Society of Jesus, these men worked in a variety of fields, including journalism, physical therapy, social services, education, the military and computer science, to name a few.
Their call to priesthood in the Society of Jesus required them to undergo extensive training — from the moment they entered the Society as novices to when they’re ordained — a process that can take anywhere from eight to 12 years.
From left to right: Christopher Schroeder, Derek Vo, Nathan O’Halloran, John Shea, Eric Sundrup and Joseph Dao at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, Berkeley, California.
During the formation process, the ordinands earned degrees from Jesuit universities and served at Jesuit high schools and colleges across the U.S. They have also traveled abroad for a variety of experiences, from learning Spanish in El Salvador to serving with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Paris to working at an orphanage in Russia.
The Very Rev. Thomas H. Smolich, SJ, president of the Jesuit Conference, said, “This is a wonderful time for the Society of Jesus, for the family and friends of those being ordained and, most of all, for the Church. These 19 men have chosen to devote their lives to service, and to witness that commitment in the ordination ceremony is humbling. As they begin their priestly ministry, we will continue to keep them in our prayers.”
From left to right: (standing) Samuel Sawyer, Mario Powell, Robert Murphy, Nathan Wendt, Michael Rozier, (seated) Christopher Johnson, Quentin Dupont, Paul Shelton and Thomas Simisky at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Boston.
As they begin their first assignments as Jesuit priests, the ordinands will embark on a number of ministries, including doing pastoral work in Vietnam and South Dakota; teaching at Jesuit universities and high schools; continuing their studies; and working at parishes in Chicago, Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Click on the photos in the right column to read a biography of each new priest.
Do you want to learn more about vocations to the Society of Jesus? Visit www.jesuitvocations.org for more information.