With great joy and gratitude to God, the Society of Jesus will celebrate the ordinations to the priesthood of Jesuits Mario M. Powell, Samuel J. Sawyer, and Thomas M. Simisky, on Saturday, June 14, 2014 at the Fordham University Church. They will be ordained by the Most Reverend Matthew H. Clark, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Rochester, N.Y. The event will be streamed live online at www.fordham.edu/media beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Those called to Catholic priesthood in the Society of Jesus undergo extensive training – from the moment novices enter the Society until they are ordained – a process that usually takes eight to twelve years. During the formation process, the ordinands earned degrees from Jesuit universities and served at Jesuit high schools and colleges across the country. They also traveled abroad for a variety of international experiences.
Mario M. Powell, SJ, 32, a convert to Catholicism, met the Jesuits as a student at Loyola High School of Los Angeles and, later, as an undergraduate at Boston College. Following his assignment this summer at the Church of St. Charles Borromeo in Harlem, N.Y., Powell will continue his studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (BCSTM).
Samuel J. Sawyer, SJ, 35, grew up in Scranton, Penn. During his years of Jesuit formation, he worked on retreats, accompanied pilgrims at World Youth Day gatherings in Spain and Brazil and co-founded The Jesuit Post, a popular website examining the intersection of faith and culture. Sawyer will also continue graduate studies at BCSTM before serving in Washington, D.C. at a Jesuit parish.
Thomas M. Simisky, SJ, 43, a native of Worcester, Mass., served for four years with the Marine Corps as an artillery officer, attaining the rank of captain. His 11 years as a Jesuit have included a host of diverse and inspiring experiences, including working with young people and the homeless in Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Jamaica. Simisky will serve on the staff of Fairfield College Preparatory Schoool in Conn.
In total, 19 men are being ordained nationally as Jesuit priests this summer. The Very Rev. Thomas H. Smolich, SJ, president of the Jesuit Conference, said, “This is a wonderful time for the Society of Jesus, for the family and friends of those being ordained and, most of all, for the Church. These 19 men have chosen to devote their lives to service, and to witness that commitment in the ordination ceremony is humbling. As they begin their priestly ministry, we will continue to keep them in our prayers.”