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Jesuits Gather at Fordham to Ordain New Priests and Honor 50-Year Members


Members of the Society of Jesus gathered at Fordham from around the Northeast recently to welcome three Jesuits to the priesthood and honor 24 others who have each given the society a half-century of service.

Samuel Sawyer, S.J., Mario Powell, S.J., and Thomas Simisky, S.J.
Contributed Photo

On June 13, in a Mass celebrated at the Fordham University Church, the society’s New York, New England and Maryland provinces gave recognition to 24 Jesuit Jubilarians who have each served for 50 years. The three provinces hold this celebration annually.

The next day, also at the Fordham University Church, three Jesuit were ordained to the priesthood. Sixteen other Jesuits from around the country are also being ordained Catholic priests this summer.

“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,” said the Very Rev. Thomas H. Smolich, S.J., president of the Jesuit Conference of the United States, in a prepared statement. “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.”

Mario Powell, S.J., Samuel Sawyer, S.J., and Thomas Simisky, S.J., were ordained by the Most Rev. Matthew H. Clark, bishop emeritus of the diocese of Rochester.

Jesuits spend eight to twelve years preparing for ordination—earning degrees at Jesuit universities, serving at Jesuit colleges and high schools, and traveling abroad.

Father Powell, a convert to Catholicism, attended Loyola High School of Los Angeles and  Boston College. After his summer assignment at the Church of St. Charles Borromeo in Harlem, N.Y., he will continue his studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.

During his Jesuit formation period, Father Sawyer worked on retreats, traveled to Spain and Brazil to accompany pilgrims at World Youth Day gatherings, and co-founded The Jesuit Post, a website focusing on the relationship between faith and culture. Father Sawyer—who grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania—will also study at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry before serving in a Washington, D.C., Jesuit parish.

Father Simisky is a former captain in the U.S. Marine Corps who served four years as an artillery officer. During his 11 years as a Jesuit he has worked with young people and the homeless in Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Jamaica, among many other diverse and inspiring experiences. A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Father Simisky will serve on the staff of Fairfield College Preparatory School in Fairfield, Connecticut.

The New York Province celebrates its ordinations at Fordham every year. The Jesuit Jubilarians honored at the June 13 Mass include:

Kenneth J. Boller
Joseph F. Burke
Darrell J. Burns
Ralph Cilia
Brian E. Daley
James M. Desjardins
James L. Dugan
Thomas H. Feely
Benjamin Fiore
Francis P. Gillespie
David Hollenbach
Dennis M. Leder
J. Allan Loftus
Dennis E. McNally
Edward T. O’Donnell
Michael Proterra
Nicholas S. Rashford
Brendan T. Scott
James M. Shea
John J. Shea
John P. Spencer
James J. Spillane
Richard J. Zanoni


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