On June 12, 2021, the USA East Province ordained four Jesuits to the priesthood at the Fordham University Church–Fathers Daniel Gustafson, SJ, Michael Lamanna, SJ, Zachariah Presutti, SJ, and William Woody, SJ. From different experiences and backgrounds, these Jesuits entered the Society of Jesus in 2011 and have completed a 10-year formation process that began as a discernment and a call of the Holy Spirit. They will now embark on their vocations as Jesuit priests, serving the Catholic Church and the people of God.
Fr. Daniel N. Gustafson, S.J., was born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. With the intention of pursuing a career in politics, he attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. After internships in the U.S. House of Representatives and a political consulting firm, he concluded God was calling him in a different direction. Thanks to involvement in campus ministry and getting to know many of the Jesuits on campus, Danny applied to the Society of Jesus during his senior year of college and entered the novitiate after graduating with a degree in government and theology in 2011. During the novitiate, Danny served as a grade school tutor and hospital chaplain in Syracuse, New York, an orphanage volunteer in Bolivia, a nurse’s aid in the Bronx, New York, and a religion teacher and campus minister in Philadelphia. He completed his philosophy studies at Loyola University Chicago. While in Chicago he prepared immigrants for the U.S. Citizenship Exam and taught at Arrupe College, a two-year community college at Loyola. His two glorious years of regency were at Fordham Prep in the Bronx. Danny taught religion, assisted with retreats, coached tennis and accompanied students on immersion trips to Rome and Rwanda. During the summers he worked with REACH, a middle school program that empowers high-achieving young men from underserved communities. Theology studies brought him to the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, where he has completed his Master of Divinity degree and the coursework for a License in Sacred Theology (STL), with a focus on church history. As a deacon, Danny served at Gate of Heaven and St. Brigid Parishes in South Boston. He will complete his thesis for the STL this fall, while ministering at St. Ignatius Parish in New York City.
Fr. Michael Lamanna, S.J., was born in Albany, New York, and claims all of Upstate New York as home. He attended Syracuse University and did two years of volunteer work before entering the Society in 2011. He cherishes memories of working with great women religious in Syracuse, New York, and Buffalo, New York, right before and right after joining the Society.
As a novice, Michael did his long experiment at Nativity Miguel Middle School in Buffalo with Fr. Ed Durkin, S.J. Working with Ed was extremely formative, and it solidified Michael’s conviction that Jesuits bring something special to the world. After vows in 2013, Michael was missioned to Loyola University Chicago for philosophy studies. He went to Yap, Micronesia, in 2016 for his regency, where he taught math, history and religion, along with running some extracurriculars like volleyball, gardening and choir at Yap Catholic High School.
Working with migrants and refugees has been a formative part of Michael’s life. He worked in Refugee Resettlement in Syracuse before he entered the Society, and he has had a couple of opportunities to live and work near the Southwestern border as a Jesuit, including a summer working with the Kino Border Initiative. He most recently served as a deacon at St. Ignatius Parish in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, a welcome pastoral outlet in a time when interpersonal ministry is quite scarce. He completed a Master of Divinity and Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. Michael will do a pastoral year at Sacred Heart Parish in Richmond, Virginia.
Fr. Zachariah F. Presutti, S.J., was born and raised in Belmont, a small town in western New York outside Buffalo by two generous parents alongside his younger brother, Jacob. He met the Jesuits while studying for diocesan priesthood at Canisius College in Buffalo. After four years of serving as the pastoral associate at St. Paul’s Church in Kenmore, New York, he joined the Jesuits’ St. Andrew’s Hall Novitiate in Syracuse, New York, where he did apostolic work in the local jail and supported victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse in an emergency shelter. Other apostolic work in the novitiate included Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago and language studies at El Instituto de Idiomas in Cochabamba, Bolivia. During first studies he obtained a master’s degree in clinical social work at Saint Louis University while interning at the local state correctional facility offering individual and group therapeutic interventions to men detained in administrative segregation (solitary confinement). After graduating, Zach founded Thrive for Life Prison Project in New York City. In collaboration and partnership with Jesuit parish communities and alumni of Jesuit high schools and universities, Thrive for Life forms spiritual mentors to offer reflective and meditative resources for an examined life, rooted in the Ignatian spiritual tradition through monthly retreats in more than six correctional facilities in the New York metropolitan area. Two years later, Zach opened Ignacio House of Studies in the Bronx, a transitional supportive living community for formerly incarcerated students as they continue their academic formation post-incarceration. Zach next earned a Master of Divinity degree at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California. Prior to the pandemic he was offering weekly individual and group pastoral counseling at San Quentin State Prison and monthly retreats in other California state correctional facilities. He served as a deacon at St. Theresa’s Church in Oakland, California. Zach will be missioned to a pastoral year, offering sacramental ministry at the Church of St. Francis Xavier in New York City and behind the prison walls throughout the New York metropolitan area.
Fr. William C. Woody, S.J., was born and raised in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, to a loving and devout family. Along with his siblings, he attended Rosemont School of the Holy Child and was an altar server at St. John Vianney Parish. After attending St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia, Bill graduated summa cum laude from the University of Scranton with a Bachelor of Arts in theology, philosophy and French and a concentration in Catholic Studies. It was at St. Joe’s and at Scranton where Bill came to know the Jesuits well and was inspired by their ministries and vocations.
As a novice, Bill ministered as a hospice orderly at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, New York; as a teacher in Syracuse, New York; and at St. Anne’s Parish in Kingston, Jamaica. He returned to New York to study at Fordham University, where he also served as a chaplain at St. Barnabas Hospital. Bill taught philosophy at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey, before teaching philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. One of the highlights of Bill’s scholastic ministry was teaching in the Montserrat Program at Holy Cross and directing adaptations of the Spiritual Exercises. Bill has presented and published on contemporary philosophy of religion and serves as an editor for the International Network of Philosophy of Religion. Following his regency Bill moved to Boston College, where he completed a Master of Divinity degree and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology. He is grateful to the many students, friends, and Jesuits along the way — and especially to the parishioners and staff at St. Ignatius, Chestnut Hill, where he served as a deacon. He is most grateful to his family for nurturing his vocation — and to God, through whom this blessed life is possible. Bill will serve for a year at Holy Trinity Parish in Washington, D.C.