Province: USA West
Birthday: May 7, 1982
Hometown: Fullerton, California
Education: Bachelor’s degree in history and master’s degree in education, University of Notre Dame; Master of Divinity, Regis College, University of Toronto
Highlights of Jesuit Formation:
1. Taught history and coached baseball and football at Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma, Washington.
2. Studied Spanish at the Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico, and volunteered at Ciudad de Los Niños.
3. Served the Spanish-speaking community of Parroquia San Juan Bautista as a deacon in Toronto, Canada.
Post-Ordination: Will be missioned to Seattle to work at Seattle Preparatory School and to assist in vocation promotion.
Fr. Gregory Celio, S.J., was born and raised in Fullerton, California, the youngest of three children. He grew up in St. Juliana Falconieri Parish and School and attended Servite High School in Anaheim, California. He studied history at the University of Notre Dame where he discovered a love for liturgical music and campus ministry. After graduating in 2004, Greg participated in Notre Dame's ACE (Alliance for Catholic Education) service-through-teaching program, bringing him to Nashville, Tennessee, where he taught for two years at St. Vincent de Paul School. He also earned a master’s degree in education. Afterward, he taught at Overbrook School, also in Nashville. While a teacher, he began discerning a religious vocation with the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), which he had heard about from family and friends, and whose spirituality attracted him. After entering the Society of Jesus in 2009, Greg worked as a novice at Santa Clara University and on the Ft. Belknap Reservation in Montana. After three years studying philosophy, theology and music at St. Louis University, he moved to Tacoma, Washington, to teach history at Bellarmine Preparatory School. He also coached baseball and football and led retreats. Greg spent his third year of Regency in Guadalajara, Mexico, learning Spanish and volunteering at Ciudad de Los Niños, a Jesuit work dedicated to lower-income children in Guadalajara. For the last three years, Greg studied theology at Regis College of the University of Toronto and served as a deacon at Parroquia San Juan Bautista. He received his Master of Divinity from the University of Toronto in May. (USA West Province)
What is your favorite book, movie, music, or TV show you’ve encountered since entering the Society and why do you love it?
I was introduced to the TV show “Arrested Development” while teaching in regency. I love its irreverent humor, which made me laugh harder than I can remember in recent years. I also love that it is set in Orange County, where I'm from, with references (for better or worse) to Southern California culture.
Who’s your favorite saint, and why?
St. Francis of Assisi is one of the reasons that I am in religious life today. I encountered his story in high school and was deeply moved by his life and dedication to God. I held onto that inspiration until I began discerning more actively with the Jesuits. I continue to be challenged by him to live the Gospel authentically and joyfully.
What is one hobby you’ve cultivated as a Jesuit and why is it important to you?
As a Jesuit, I have spent a lot of time singing and making music. Whether singing in a large choir or playing piano alone in the community chapel, music is an important way for me to relate to God. As a novice, I began composing music while on the Ft. Belknap Reservation and had the opportunity to study music more formally while at Saint Louis University in 2011. Since then I've had the opportunities to sing in choirs and lead music as liturgies, particularly during the past few years at Regis College in Toronto. It has been a gift to get together with Jesuit brothers to sing and play instruments in the community.
What do you love about the Society of Jesus?
For me, the Society of Jesus is the friendships that we have with each other and with God. I'm very grateful for the men that I have come to know in the Society, who know me, who love me and help me to grow in love with Jesus and his people.
What was one particularly meaningful experience you had during your formation, and why was it meaningful to you?
I spent a year in Guadalajara, Mexico, studying Spanish at the Universidad de Guadalajara and volunteering at Ciudad de Los Niños, a home and school for kids from low-income backgrounds. I loved the people I met and the amazing culture, while I also experienced the difficult and humbling stretches that come with learning another language. Most mornings I helped the kids in their English classes, and in the afternoons, attended my own Spanish classes. Mixed in with this daily routine were a couple of moving experiences away from Guadalajara, including a visit to a Jesuit mission in Chiapas and a walking pilgrimage to Talpa de Allende in Jalisco. Feeling moved and grateful for these experiences, I returned to Mexico last summer to serve in a Jesuit parish in Oaxaca as a deacon and served the Spanish speaking community in Toronto as a deacon this past year.
How might you explain the Jesuit motto "ad maiorem Dei gloriam" to someone who’s never heard it before?
In the motto AMDG (for the greater glory of God) the word "greater" is key. The motto is not about perfection, but about seeking to make progress in loving and serving God and others.