Fr. Angelo J. (A.J.) Rizzo, S.J., 36, was born and raised in Philadelphia, where his parents instilled the importance of the Catholic faith in him and his five siblings, two biological and three adopted from Ethiopia. He attended Catholic schools: first his parish’s grade school, St. Albert the Great, and then St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, where he met the Jesuits. He received a bachelor’s degree in biology and philosophy from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania in 2003. After college, Fr. Rizzo returned to St. Joseph’s Prep for a year as a volunteer teacher in their Alumni Service Corps. He then moved to Baltimore and worked at Loyola Blakefield as the assistant to the chaplain and the director of Christian Service for three years, while also earning a master’s degree in pastoral counseling from Loyola University Maryland. At Blakefield, Fr. Rizzo worked with the first Jesuit he ever met when he was a student at St. Joseph’s Prep, Fr. Joe Michini, S.J., who helped him imagine the meaningful relationships he could have as a Jesuit (and who will vest Fr. Rizzo at ordination). He entered the novitiate in 2007 and, as a novice, worked in campus ministry at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He then attended Fordham University in the Bronx, New York, receiving a master’s degree in humanities in 2011. Next Fr. Rizzo spent three years teaching English, religion and Latin and helping coach the mock trial team at Scranton Preparatory School in Pennsylvania, where he lived on the university campus he attended as an undergrad—this time as a Jesuit. In 2014, Fr. Rizzo was missioned to the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree, while also completing coursework for a doctorate in Catholic educational leadership at the University of San Francisco and serving as a deacon at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Oakland. Fr. Rizzo serves on the boards of St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco and St. Elizabeth High School in Oakland. After ordination, he will do dissertation research at Loyola Blakefield and work at St. Ignatius Church in Baltimore. Fr. Rizzo will celebrate his first Mass as a priest at his home parish, St. Albert the Great. (Maryland Province)
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