Press Release
Jesuits Celebrate Ordination of 22 New Priests

For Immediate Release

Editor’s Note: Video interviews and photos available at jesuits.org/ordinations

(Washington, D.C., June 7, 2019) — This summer, the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits — the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church — is welcoming 22 new priests in the U.S., Canada and Haiti (historically a member of the Jesuits’ former French Canada Province). Each Jesuit goes through a formation process lasting from 10 to 12 years before ordination. During that time, ordinands earn multiple degrees, work at Jesuit high schools and colleges, and minister to the poor and marginalized. They study, teach and serve across the U.S., Canada and Haiti, and around the globe.

Following are the 22 new Jesuit priests:

Fr. Ricardo Ávila Natividad, S.J., (El Paso, Texas) completed a bachelor’s degree in political science and Latin American studies at the University of Chicago. After graduating from Yale Law School, Ricardo moved to New York City to practice transactional corporate law and later joined a litigation practice. Ricardo interned at the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and served the Diocese of Oakland at the Cathedral of Christ the Light. (USA Northeast Province)

Fr. Matthew Baugh, S.J., (Casa, Arkansas) studied international development as an undergraduate at Duke University. Named a Rhodes Scholar in 2001, he went to Oxford University, studied international relations and first met the Jesuits. He was sent to Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, serving as assistant professor of political science and law and assisting with the spiritual formation of students, staff and faculty. (USA Central and Southern Province)

Fr. Peter Gadalla, S.J., (Destin, Florida) is a Coptic Catholic. After graduating from St. George College in Cairo, he began studying mechanical engineering in Mobile, Alabama, then designed propulsion plants for the U.S. Navy. He taught philosophy and theology at both Belen Jesuit High School in Miami and the Bethlehem University in Palestine. (USA Central and Southern Province)

Fr. Christopher E. Grodecki, S.J., (Winnetka, Illinois) attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he earned a bachelor’s in English and in German literature as well as a master’s in German. He worked as a writer and researcher at a non-profit public-interest law firm in D.C. As a Jesuit, he served as co-teacher and Ignatian Identity assistant at Washington Jesuit Academy. (USA Maryland Province)

Fr. Jonathan M. Harmon, S.J., (Tyler, Texas) studied graphic design at Tyler Junior College and worked at St. Mary Magdalene parish in Flint, Texas. While studying philosophy at Saint Louis University, Jonathan was involved with campus ministry and led a CLC group. He taught in the fine arts and theology departments at Dallas Jesuit College Prep and helped with campus ministry. (USA Central and Southern Province)

Fr. Stefanus Hendrianto, S.J., (Bangka Island, Indonesia) earned both a Master of Divinity degree and Master of Theology degree at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. While in Boston, he led a spiritual direction program for women in the Maternity Home for Pregnant and Homeless Women in need of shelter and support. He also served at the Massachusetts Correction Institution at Concord. After his ordination as a deacon, Hendrianto served at St. Michael Parish in Bedford. (USA West Province)

Fr. Adam Hincks, S.J., (Toronto, Ontario) holds a Hon. BSc. in astronomy and physics from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University. His graduate work was focused on helping to deploy the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) in northern Chile. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia from 2013 to 2015, during which time he continued research with ACT and also worked on a new radio telescope near Penticton, British Columbia. During his theology studies, he has continued some scientific research on the side and is an associate scholar of the Vatican Observatory. (Canada Province)

Fr. Stephen Kramer, S.J., (St. Louis, Missouri) first met the Society of Jesus at Saint Louis University High School and was intrigued by the lively, intelligent and loving Jesuits that he found there. His affection for the Society deepened even further after his older brother Mark Kramer joined the Society. Throughout his formation, Stephen fell in love with teaching in various places including at a prison in Belize; Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colorado; De Smet Jesuit High School in St. Louis; and Jesuit High School of New Orleans. After his June ordination, Stephen is looking forward to serving as a parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church in New Orleans. (USA Central and Southern Province)

Fr. Andrew Laguna, S.J., (Chino Hills, California) taught sophomore Scripture and worked as a campus minister for three years at St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, where he also coached cross-country and track. He next earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley while serving as a spiritual director and teaching confirmation classes at St. Patrick's in West Oakland. As a deacon, he served at St. Patrick's and St. Ambrose in Berkeley. (USA West Province)

Fr. Alex Anthony Llanera, S.J., (Sacramento, California) graduated in 2008 from Loyola Marymount University with a bachelor’s degree in theological studies and political science with a minor in ethics. In the fall of that same year, he entered the Jesuit novitiate in Culver City, California. He taught at St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, where he coached junior varsity golf, taught U.S. government and Scripture and led student retreats. In 2015, he moved to Los Angeles and worked in the legal department at Homeboy Industries. (USA West Province)

Fr. Vinny Marchionni, S.J., (Lower Merion, Pennsylvania) attended Saint Aloysius Academy in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. It was there he received instruction in the faith from the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and their collaborators. He then attended Philadelphia’s St. Joseph’s Preparatory School and Saint Joseph’s University. His regency stage of formation was at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Baltimore, Maryland, where he taught American and world history for three years as well as served as assistant boys’ lacrosse coach. (USA Maryland Province)

Fr. Johnny Masséba, S.J., (Léogâne, Haiti) entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus in July 2007. He also taught Spanish at the Collège Saint-Ignace located in the municipality of Croix-des-Bouquets. In the summer of 2015, he headed to Québec, Canada, for theology studies. Johnny was ordained a deacon on May 28, 2018, and he served as a deacon at the parish of Sainte-Marie-de-l’Incarnation in Quebec City to prepare for his priestly ordination. (Canada Province)

Fr. Francis Nguyen, S.J., (Seattle, Washington) graduated from the University of Washington with concurrent degrees in architecture and construction management, while working as an intern at a design-build company in Bellevue, Washington. In 2011, Francis completed first studies at Loyola University Chicago and was missioned to Seattle Preparatory School to teach mathematics and theology. He collaboratively designed the Chapel of Our Lady of Monserrat at Seattle Prep. (USA West Province)

Fr. Richard Nichols, S.J., (Baltimore, Maryland) grew up singing in the choir at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore. He met the Jesuits at Loyola Blakefield in Towson, Maryland, and at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. Upon graduation, Fr. Nichols was commissioned as an officer in the Navy and volunteered for submarine service. When the Navy sent him to do intelligence work in the D.C. area, he met priests from the Archdiocese of Washington, which eventually led him to life in the priesthood. He taught math and served as athletics chaplain at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. After ordination, Fr. Nichols will continue to serve as a chaplain at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. (USA Maryland Province)

Fr. Bryan Y. Norton, S.J., (Cleveland, Ohio) met the Society of Jesus at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland. During an influential junior year abroad at Oxford University, he reconnected with the Jesuits and began a journey of discernment that led him to the novitiate in 2008. He taught classical languages and literature at Xavier University in Cincinnati. This summer after ordination, he will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at his home parish, St. Basil the Great, in Brecksville, Ohio. (USA Midwest Province)

Fr. Gregory J. Ostdiek, S.J., (Beavercreek, Ohio) attended the University of Dayton, running on their cross-country team for four years and graduating in 1993 with degrees in mechanical engineering and English. After college, he joined the U.S. Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer with a nuclear propulsion subspecialty. After serving for 13 years in a variety of positions — culminating as executive officer of USS Dextrous (MCM 13) — he resigned his commission to enter the Society of Jesus. (USA Midwest Province)

Fr. Ted Penton, S.J., (Ottawa, Ontario) was devout as a young child, but an atheist by 15. While travelling in Thailand after graduation, he attended a retreat at a Buddhist monastery, where he had a profound spiritual awakening. He studied law at Harvard and then returned to Canada where he clerked at the Supreme Court and worked for two years in the Human Rights Law Section of the Department of Justice. A persistent call to religious life eventually came to the fore, and he entered the Society in 2009. After completing theology studies in Toronto, in 2018 Ted moved to Washington, DC, where he currently serves the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States as Secretary of the Office of Justice and Ecology. (Canada Province)

Fr. Adam Rosinski, S.J., (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was fascinated by the Jesuits and their mission as an undergraduate at the University of Scranton, which inspired him to begin to discern his own Jesuit vocation. After graduating, he worked as a high school teacher before entering the novitiate in 2009. He served as a teacher and campus minister at St. Joseph’s Prep. There, he also had the privilege of coordinating the “2Philly4Francis” pilgrimage, which brought together 43 Jesuit high schools to celebrate Pope Francis’ visit to the city in 2015. Adam is excited to celebrate his first Mass of Thanksgiving at his home parish, St. Cecilia. (USA Maryland Province)

Fr. Travis D. Russell, S.J., (Sutherlin, Oregon) earned a bachelor’s degree in global security studies from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, where he went through RCIA and became Catholic. In 2008 he entered the novitiate. As a novice, he volunteered at the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative (JRJI), was an assistant at L’Arche Seattle and taught at Verbum Dei High School, Los Angeles. He was later missioned back to Verbum Dei High School, where for two years he taught religion and helped in campus ministry. (USA West Province)

Fr. James R. Sand, S.J., (Cincinnati, Ohio) met the Jesuits during his studies at St. Xavier High School. He attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he graduated with bachelor’s degrees in history, education and classics. James then volunteered at St. Cecilia’s grade school in St. Louis, Missouri, with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. He entered the Society of Jesus at the novitiate in Berkley, Michigan. After two years he took first vows at the University of Detroit High School and Academy chapel in Detroit, Michigan. He was then sent to teach Latin and history at the University of Detroit High School and Academy. While in Detroit he also served as a support person for the local Jesuit Volunteer community. (USA Midwest Province)

Fr. Matthew C. Spotts, S.J., (Cincinnati, Ohio) served as a teacher at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis, Indiana, and coached boys’ and girls’ sprinters for the track team and various styles of debate. In 2016, Matt moved to theology studies at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California. Outside of his studies, Matt loved his work at his ministry placement at San Quentin State Prison, where he worked with both the “mainline” and death row populations. During his year as a deacon, he also was able to serve at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Oakland. (USA Midwest Province)

Fr. Robert Van Alstyne, S.J., (San Carlos, California) completed a Master of Divinity at Regis College in Toronto and, since his ordination to the diaconate in May of 2018, has been serving as a deacon at the Newman Centre Catholic Chaplaincy and Parish at the University of Toronto. After ordination, Robert will return to Toronto to complete his current studies for his Master of Theology and Licentiate in Sacred Theology degrees. (USA West Province)

An Ordination Mass was held May 8 in Toronto at St. Paul’s Basilica. Ordination Masses will take place June 8 at Our Lady of Lavang in Portland, Oregon; Fordham University Church in the Bronx, New York; Holy Name of Jesus Parish in New Orleans; and the Church of the Gesu in Milwaukee. The final ordination Mass will be celebrated Aug. 3 at the Chapelle des Frères de l’Instruction Chrétienne in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

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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 jesuits.org.


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