Fr. James R. Shea, SJ
Fr. James R. Shea, SJ

Fr. James R. Shea, SJ, 42, was born and raised in Skokie, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. His mother, a cradle Catholic, and his father, a convert to Catholicism, had a strong influence on his faith growing up. After graduating from Skokie’s Niles North High School in 1990, he went to Loyola University Chicago. Despite being warned to stay away from courses taught by Jesuits because they gave too much work and were hard graders, Fr. Shea was intrigued and signed up for classes with two right away. The Jesuit professors and chaplains he met at Loyola planted the seed for his vocation. Fr. Shea graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1995 and did a year of volunteer service with the Passionists, working at a social service agency for people with HIV/AIDS in Detroit, his first experience of working for social justice while living in community. He went on to work for Misericordia in Chicago, a home for children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities, for five years. Fr. Shea began to think about the priesthood and got back in touch with the Jesuits and entered the Society of Jesus in 2004; as a novice, he enjoyed community life and getting to know his Jesuit classmates. After two years there, he went back to Loyola University Chicago and received a master’s degree in philosophy in 2009. Fr. Shea was then missioned to Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago for three years, teaching English and helping with Kairos retreats. He was missioned next to the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in 2012, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. While there, he also served as a deacon and taught confirmation classes at Blessed Mother Teresa Parish in Dorchester, Massachusetts. After ordination, Fr. Shea will celebrate his first Mass as a Jesuit priest at St. Peter’s Parish in Skokie and return to Boston College in the fall to continue theology studies. (Chicago-Detroit Province)

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The Ignatian Spirituality Center of Kansas City gives, fosters, and witnesses to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola by giving the Spiritual Exercises in various forms, offering ongoing formation in Ignatian spirituality and discernment, and training prayer guides to give the Spiritual Exercises.