On June 11, the Most Reverend Terrence T. Prendergast, SJ, Archbishop of Ottawa, ordained Jesuits Christopher Ryan and Kevin Spinale at the Fordham University Church. They were among the 20 Jesuits ordained priests in the U.S. and Canada at ceremonies this month.
Hundreds of friends, family members, loved ones and fellow Jesuits gathered as these men took a major step in their lives of service to the Lord. Their call to priesthood in the Society of Jesus required them to undergo extensive training — from the moment they entered the Society as novices to when they’re ordained — a process that can take anywhere from eight to twelve years.
Fr. Ryan first met the Jesuits at St. Joseph's Preparatory School in Philadelphia. He began discerning his vocation while spending his sophomore spring semester studying in Prague and joined the Society after earning his bachelor’s degree in geography in 2004. During his formation he tutored students at Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine; taught at the Nativity School of Worcester in Massachusetts; led student retreats at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester; and helped with adult catechism, preaching at Masses, and baptisms at Immaculate Conception Parish in Everett, Mass. Following ordination, he will serve at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, for the summer.
During his time at the College of the Holy Cross, Fr. Spinale became friends with Fr. John Brooks, SJ, former college president, who would become a major influence on his decision to join the Society. After graduating in 2000, he joined the Peace Corps for two years. He then received a master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, while teaching at a public middle school in Brooklyn. After completing his degree in 2005, Spinale joined the Jesuits. During his formation he worked as an orderly at Calvary Hospital, a cancer hospice in the Bronx, and taught and coached rugby at his alma mater, BC High. He also served at parishes in South Boston as a deacon. After ordination, he will spend the summer working at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Manhattan and the fall semester working at Holy Cross while completing his master’s degree in English at Boston College.