By Doris Sump
Banner photo from left: Fr. Kevin J. Embach, SJ; Germain Clerveau, SJ; Fr. John T. Tanner, SJ; Fr. Nathaniel V. Romano, SJ; Fr. David C. Paternostro, SJ; Fr. Fernando Luis Barreto Mercado, SJ; Fr. Brian G. Konzman, SJ; Fr. Keith A. Maczkiewicz, SJ; Fr. O. Alejandro Báez, SJ; and Fr. Kyle K. F. Shinseki, SJ, at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California.
June 4, 2018 — The Society of Jesus is proud to announce the ordination of 27 new priests in the United States, Canada and Haiti. We invite you to meet each ordinand by clicking on their photos in the right column.
Thus far, ordination Masses have been held in El Salvador at the Catedral Metropolitana de San Salvador and in Toronto at St. Paul’s Basilica, where Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, was in attendance.
Additional ordinations will take place this summer at the Church of the Gesu in Milwaukee; Fordham University Church in the Bronx, New York; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in San Ysidro, California; St. Francis Xavier (College) Church in St. Louis; St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Parma, Ohio; Parroquia San Ignacio de Loyola in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the Chapelle des Frères de l’Instruction Chrétienne in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Each Jesuit goes through a formation process lasting around 10 to 12 years before he is ordained a priest. During that time, ordinands earn multiple degrees, work at Jesuit high schools and colleges, and minister to the poor and marginalized. They study, teach and serve across the U.S., Canada and Haiti, and around the globe. Their learning experiences in formation have thoroughly prepared them for their new assignments in the priesthood.
“The more I grew in prayer, the more I started looking at the world differently — economic matters, social justice issues,” explained Fr. Fernando Luis Barreto Mercado, SJ.
Many of the ordinands met the Jesuits early in their lives. Twelve of the 27 being ordained attended a Jesuit school, where they met Jesuit priests and brothers who influenced their discernment.
“I think I first thought about the Jesuits when I was pretty young,” said Fr. Patrick Nolan, SJ. “Little by little I found myself thinking more and more about the Jesuits.”
For most Jesuits — including Fr. Nolan, who loves sports and worked in sports marketing before joining the Society — discernment was gradual. Many had careers before joining the Society, where they utilized the full range of their talents and skills — which they will continue to draw on as priests in the Society.
Fr. Jason LaLonde, SJ, who worked in arts administration for the Santa Fe Opera and Sarasota Opera, said, “One of the Ignatian insights is that God works with our nature and with all of our natural abilities, all the gifts that we have.”
Fr. Alejandro Báez, SJ, gifted as a vocalist and self-taught organist and pianist, studied at New York University and The Juilliard School and served as music director and director of religious education at St. Peter’s Italian Church in Los Angeles.
“Whenever I do music — conducting or singing — I think that helps me to keep a balanced life,” said Fr. Báez. “It really is a place of vulnerability in which you are able to connect with the people you’re singing with and conducting, and we are working together to make music beautiful, to communicate to God, to talk to God, to pray together.”
Now that preparation for the priesthood is over, each new priest is eager to serve the Catholic Church. They have been assigned to a variety of ministries: working at parishes and retreat centers, promoting vocations to the Society, continuing their studies toward advanced degrees and teaching at Jesuit schools.
From left: Fr. Kevin J. Embach, SJ; Fr. Eric M. Studt, SJ; Fr. Patrick C. Nolan, SJ; Fr. Tho Vu, SJ; Fr. Henry J. Shea, SJ; Fr. Elías Puentes, SJ; and Fr. Jason C. LaLonde, SJ, at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.
“Being with the Jesuits allows me to ‘do the more,’” said Fr. Tho Vu, SJ, referring to the Ignatian concept of magis, or doing more to transform society for the greater glory of God. “Whenever I think about that, I always get passionate about ‘What can I do for the Society? What can I offer the Society?’ One way or another, it’s being able to help others.”
The priests look forward to helping their communities connect with and find God.
“I want to be a joyful priest,” said Fr. J.T. Tanner, SJ. “I want to be a priest that’s interested in people and that can help people see how God is already working in their life.”
“I hope that my priesthood would in some way help unite people with each other and with God,” said Fr. Kevin Embach, SJ. “As a Jesuit, I want to help people find God because I think that’s where the answers are.”
As Fr. Sosa advised the ordinands during his visit to Canada: “If we are not in love with Jesus Christ, we cannot be Jesuits or Christians.”
From left: Fr. Tho Vu, SJ; Fr. Kyle Shinseki, SJ; Bishop David Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin; Fr. Brian Paulson, SJ, provincial of the USA Midwest Province; Fr. Nathaniel Romano, SJ; and Fr. Kevin Embach, SJ.
From left: Fr. Ronald Mercier, SJ, provincial of the USA Central and Southern Province; Fr. W. Penn Dawson, SJ; Fr. Jason LaLonde, SJ; Fr. Fernando Luis Barreto Mercado, SJ; Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, of Ottawa; Fr. Jean Bertin St. Louis, SJ; Fr. David Paternostro, SJ; Fr. Michael Harter, SJ, formation assistant; and Fr. Michael Wegenka, SJ
From left: Fr. John Cecero, SJ, provincial of the USA Northeast Province; Fr. Patrick Nolan, SJ; Fr. Keith Maczkiewicz, SJ; Fr. Brian Konzman, SJ; Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York; Fr. Timothy O’Brien, SJ; Fr. Henry Shea, SJ; Fr. Eric Studt, SJ; and Fr. Robert Hussey, provincial of the Maryland Province.
Do you want to learn more about vocations to the Society of Jesus? Visit www.jesuitvocations.org for more information.