Sixteen Jesuit Priests Ordained This Month

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Society of Jesus celebrates first ordinations since Election of Jesuit Pope.

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.

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.

The 16 Jesuit priests being ordained this year are:

Father Glen Butterworth, 42, was born in Germany and grew up around the world. Before entering the Society of Jesus, he served in the Clinton Administration and later worked in telecommunications and the arts. Following ordination, Father Butterworth will serve at St. Joseph Parish in Seattle.

Father James T. Donovan, 48, is a native of Malverne, N.Y. Before becoming a Jesuit, Father Donovan taught science at three New York high schools: St. Francis Prep in Fresh Meadows, Christ the King Regional High School in Middle Village and Garden City High School.

Father Peter M. Folan, 34, is a native of Massapequa Park on Long Island, N.Y. Prior to entering the Society of Jesus, Father Folan served in education and public policy for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and taught at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, Md.

Father Philip A. Ganir, 36, hails from Hawaii. An accomplished vocalist, Father Ganir studied at the Manhattan School of Music and taught music, English and theology at Jesuit High School in Sacramento, Calif. Following ordination, he will serve as associate pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola Church in Sacramento.

Father Patrick L. Gilger, 32, hails from Salem, Ore. After entering the Society of Jesus, Father Gilger taught English for three years at the Red Cloud Indian School, founded by the Jesuits in 1888 to serve the families on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. In 2012, Father Gilger helped found The Jesuit Post, a website that explores contemporary culture and spirituality.

Father Matthew J. Kunkel, 33, is a native of Bremerton, Wash. Part of his formation experience included an assignment teaching religion at St. Andrew Nativity School in Portland, Ore., and a five-week journey along the migration corridor, the Central American route typically traveled by those fleeing poverty and seeking opportunity in the United States.

Father Michael C. Magree, 35, was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. Prior to entering the Society of Jesus, Father Magree earned a bachelor’s degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and a master’s degree from The Ohio State University. This summer, he will travel to Brazil for MAGIS 2013, the Jesuit pastoral program that precedes World Youth Day.

Father Raul A. Navarro, 53, was born in Mexico City but grew up in New Orleans. Father Navarro earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and an MBA from Loyola University New Orleans and served in administrative positions with the university. Following ordination, he will serve at Immaculate Conception Church in New Orleans.

Father William A. Noe, 43, is a native of Racine, Wis. Father Noe served as a biomedical researcher and as a patent examiner prior to entering the Society of Jesus. Fluent in Spanish and with a background in electrical engineering, Fr. Noe taught electronics at a technical college in Bolivia during his time in formation.

Father E. Joseph O’Keefe, 48, hails from Boston. Prior to entering the Society of Jesus, Father O’Keefe served for more than twenty years in Massachusetts state government. Following ordination, he will serve in an administrative capacity at Loyola High School of Los Angeles.

Father Michael J. Rogers, 32, is a native of Hartford, Conn. Part of his formation experience included teaching at Fairfield College Preparatory School in Connecticut and at Boston College High School. This summer, Father Rogers is serving as the national coordinator for MAGIS 2013 in Brazil.

Father Jayme C. Stayer, 44, is from Canton, Ohio. A lifelong musician and vocalist, Fr. Stayer has performed with the choruses of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Boston Pops and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Following ordination, Father Stayer has been missioned to the English department of John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio.

Father Robert W. Stephan, 40, is a native of Cincinnati. Father Stephan earned a master’s degree in history from UCLA and a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, prior to entering the Society of Jesus. Part of his formation experience included teaching positions at Loyola Marymount University and Verbum Dei High School in Los Angeles.

Father Bret J. Stockdale, 37, was born and raised in Worcester, Mass. Prior to entering the Society of Jesus, Father Stockdale worked in the mutual fund industry before accepting a position with the Diocese of Worcester and later serving as a youth minister at St. Luke the Evangelist in Westborough, Mass.

Father Stephen L. Surovick, 39, grew up in Voorhees, N.J. Prior to becoming a Jesuit, Father Surovick had a long public service career, holding a variety of positions with nonprofit organizations and in New Jersey state government. Following ordination, he will return to the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry to complete a Licentiate in Sacred Theology.

Father Jeremy K. Zipple, 35, is a native of Hattiesburg, Miss. Before entering the Society of Jesus, Father Zipple taught middle school math and music. Part of his formation experience included a three-year assignment as a writer, producer and director for National Geographic Television, where he explored a wide range of topics – from a lost Mayan civilization to the quest for King Solomon’s mines.

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About the Society of Jesus

Founded in 1540 by Saint Ignatius Loyola, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) is the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church. Jesuit priests and brothers are involved in educational, pastoral and spiritual ministries on six continents and in 127 nations around the world, practicing a faith that promotes justice. For nearly 500 years, Jesuit education has made its mark on the world. In the United States, there are 28 Jesuit colleges and universities, 59 Jesuit high schools and 16 middle schools with a shared goal of developing competent, compassionate and committed leaders in the service of the Church and society. Jesuits minister in parishes and at retreat houses and serve as chaplains at prisons, hospitals, nursing homes and in the military. For more information on the Society of Jesus, visit http://www.jesuit.org.

Note: Photos available upon request.

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