Nearly three months after the historic election of the first Jesuit Pope, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church, will ordain 16 new priests this month in the United States. Ordination ceremonies are being held in New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Chicago. At Fordham University in the Bronx, N.Y., the Most Rev. Thomas Donato, Auxiliary Bishop of Newark, N.J., will preside. At Holy Name of Jesus Church in New Orleans, the Most Rev. Gregory M. Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans, will preside. At Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Los Angeles, the Most Reverend John C. Wester, Bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, will preside. At Madonna della Strada Chapel at Loyola University Chicago, the Most Rev. George V. Murry, S.J., Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, will preside. Before entering the Society of Jesus, the ordinands worked in nonprofit community service, higher education, state government, documentary film production and biomedical research, and several taught in high schools and colleges. A diverse group, the ordinands range in age from 32 to 53 and hail from Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.
The Most Rev. Thomas H. Smolich, S.J., president of the Jesuit Conference, said, “This is a joyful time for both the Society of Jesus and the Catholic Church as we welcome 16 new brothers being ordained this month. Their call to priestly ministry is as varied as their hometowns and former occupations, but they have one thing in common: a desire to dedicate themselves to the Jesuit mission of serving the Church where the need is greatest.”
Those called to Catholic priesthood in the Society of Jesus undergo extensive training – from the moment novices enter the Society until they’re ordained -- a process that can take anywhere from eight to 12 years. Following ordination, the new priests will serve in parishes and teach in Jesuit high schools and universities, among other assignments.