Province: USA West
Birthday: December 28, 1984
Hometown: Tacoma, Washington
Education: Bachelor’s degree, theatre and theology, Fordham College at Lincoln Center; Master’s degree, social philosophy, Loyola University Chicago; Master of Divinity, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University; Master’s degree, Catholic educational leadership, University of San Francisco
Highlights of Jesuit Formation:
1. Coaching the Sacred Heart Nativity School track team to their first gold medals.
2. Serving on the founding team of Cristo Rey De La Salle High School in Oakland, California.
3. Making music with fellow ordinand James Ferus, S.J., throughout theology studies.
Post-Ordination: Will wrap up his master's thesis on lay leadership in Jesuit schools while sheltering in place in Berkeley, California, before moving to Sacramento to serve as a campus minister at Jesuit High School.
Fr. Perry Petrich, S.J., was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. Perry attended Bellarmine Preparatory School in his hometown before graduating from Fordham College at Lincoln Center in New York with a degree in theatre and theology. Highlights of his time at Fordham include stage managing both the New York premiere of “Dead Man Walking” and Duran Duran at the Statue of Liberty. From New York, he moved to Cazadero, California, where he worked for the Caritas Creek program, leading outdoor education trips for Bay Area Catholic grade schools. Perry entered the Society of Jesus in 2008. He has taught theatre both to students at Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon, and to migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. As a Jesuit, he has also worked in schools in Chicago, Phoenix, San Jose and Oakland. He will continue to work in secondary education serving as a theology teacher and campus minister at Jesuit High School in Sacramento. He holds master’s degrees in Catholic educational leadership from the University of San Francisco and in social philosophy from Loyola University Chicago as well as a Master of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California. In addition, he has written for The Jesuit Post and America Magazine, taught sailing at summer camps in the Archdiocese of Seattle and played guitar with the Grammy-award winner Tim Kubart. (USA West Province)
Perry (far right) working at Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.
What is your favorite book, movie, music, or TV show you’ve encountered since entering the Society and why do you love it?
Otis Redding’s "Try a Little Tenderness" has followed me like an angel, goading me on when times are hard and sharing my hope and joy when times were better. The earnestness of Otis’ pleas to just be a little better to each other gives us all faith that a little bit of kindness can transform us. The chromatic guitar shows your gut that this tenderness can make the world a better place. And the freak out at the end of the song demonstrates — as well as anything else I’ve ever seen or heard outside of Scripture — the animating power that comes when you have faith that your lover will never leave you. Also, it is a bring-down-the-house karaoke jam.
What is one hobby you’ve cultivated as a Jesuit and why is it important to you?
Playing music with others continues to sustain me. The attentiveness to shared rhythms and subtleties of each individual musician forces a kind of deep listening that connects people and makes you forget yourself. And there is little more satisfying than spontaneously creating something new and beautiful in collaboration with others.
Perry at his family Christmas party in Kent, Washington, in 2014.
What was one particularly meaningful experience you had during your formation, and why was it meaningful to you?
Eight days after the 2016 election, I was at a parent meeting of the middle school I was just sent to by my provincial. All of the parents at the school were either immigrants or children of immigrants from Latin America. We invited an immigration advocacy group to give a “know your rights” presentation. The president of the school and I sensed that something in the room wasn’t right — there was too much fear and hurt to process any kind of learning. We made eye contact, and I interrupted the presentation. I thanked the presenters for coming and then turned to the parents and just asked how everyone was feeling. It turned into a conversation among the parents where fears were shared and support was offered. It ended up being, at that particular moment, exactly what our community needed.
After the meeting ended, the president mentioned how it was God’s Providence that I was sent to the school for that year. From that night, I came to more deeply believe that God sends us where we are needed and then provides the grace for us to respond to that need. I learned a little bit more what it means that God will provide.
Tell your vocation story. One catch: You must use only six words.
God never stops calling you, gently.