In 2011, the Society of Jesus in the United States ordained 11 men to the priesthood. Coming from all walks of life, the ordinandi class of 2011 includes an actor and a registered nurse. They will go on to serve around the country in various forms of ministry.
In the months leading up to the July ordinations of these Jesuits, National Jesuit News followed one man, Jesuit Radmar Jao, on his “Path to the Priesthood”. You can watch Jao’s ordination on our YouTube page here.
For more information about becoming a Jesuit, please contact one of our vocation directors.
|Fr. Johnathan L. Brown, S.J., 36, is originally from Eunice, La. Before entering the Society of Jesus in 2002, he studied visual communications at the Art Institute of Houston and worked as a graphics and web design artist. As a Jesuit novice, he worked at Hope House in the New Orleans St. Thomas housing project as well as a variety of communities in both Tampa, Fla. and Belize. While in philosophy studies at Saint Louis University, he was active in campus ministry and participated in service trips with students. These experiences prepared him for his next assignment at San José Parish in Villahermosa, Mexico, where he worked with youth groups at 52 satellite chapels. He returned to Tampa to teach at Jesuit High School and coached junior varsity football, served as linebacker trainer for the varsity team and was moderator of the hunting and fishing club. John completed both his Master of Divinity and Master of Theology at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. While in Boston, he also spent time working within St. Columbkille Parish in Brighton, Mass. This summer, John will work at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in San Antonio, Texas before joining the pastoral staff at Sacred Heart Church in El Paso this fall. (New Orleans Province)|
|Fr. Mark P. Fusco, S.J., 46, was born in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Upon graduation from Monsignor Paul Dwyer High School, he attended St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, earning an honors Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and English Literature in 1989. He proceeded to earn a Master’s degree in Philosophical Theology from Yale University in 1991. Mark then worked on international health issues at the Vatican and as Director of Programs at the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center in Rome. Later he received his Licentiate in Sacred Theology in Moral Theology from the Pontifical Lateran University and worked for a number of years in the private sector and in secondary education. In 2005, he entered the Society of Jesus at the Novitiate of St. Andrews in Syracuse, N.Y. He studied philosophy at Loyola University in Chicago before beginning doctoral work at the University of Toronto in systematic theology. Ordained to the deaconate in April 2010, Mark served as a deacon at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Toronto, Canada. After working at a parish for the summer, Mark will be returning to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. to finish his dissertation. (Maryland Province)
|Fr. J. Patrick Hough, S.J., 36, is originally from Lancashire, England, where he attended Stonyhurst College. An athlete and musician, he spent a year teaching math and geography, coaching tennis and working with the music program at St. Ignatius High School in Sydney, Australia. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Leeds University, followed by a second Bachelor’s degree in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and he spent an additional year studying theology at Pontifical Angelicum University, also in Rome. Upon entering the Jesuit novitiate in 2002, he worked at both Sacred Heart Church in El Paso and Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in Houston. He then went on to earn a Master’s degree in Medieval History from Fordham University in New York where he also served as music director of the Sunday evening student mass at St. Paul’s Church. He also studied orchestral conducting and singing at the Julliard School. During his regency, Patrick taught and served as coach of the rowing team at Jesuit College Preparatory in Dallas, after which he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University in Berkeley, Calif. While there, he was assistant coach of the freshman rowing team at the University of California in Berkeley. This summer, Patrick has been missioned to pastoral work in England and will serve as a chaplain at World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain. In the fall, he will begin priestly ministry at Immaculate Conception Parish in Albuquerque, N.M. (New Orleans Province)|
|Fr. Radmar A. Jao, S.J., 44, is originally from Valparaiso, Ind. and comes from a large family of nine children. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Indiana University and after moving to Los Angeles, enjoyed a successful and blossoming acting career, working in film, television and stage. He also volunteered for an after school arts intervention program working with at-risk youth in some of the roughest neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Radmar entered the California novitiate in Culver City in 2001, and has since earned a Master’s degree in Applied Philosophy from Loyola University of Chicago, where his apostolic interests in spiritual direction and young adult ministry began to grow. During his two-year regency assignment at the University of San Francisco, he taught acting and theatre appreciation, as well as worked with the University Ministry team leading Christian Life Community groups and coordinating retreats. Radmar completed a Master’s of Divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, Calif. where alongside his studies he also served as a campus minister at the Cal Berkeley Newman Center, as chaplain for the Children’s Hospital of Oakland and as deacon at St. Agnes Parish in San Francisco. In the summer of 2010, Radmar continued his formation as a spiritual director by completing the two-month training program at the Loyola House Retreat and Training Center in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Radmar’s first mission after ordination is to work as the Province Vocation Promoter for the California Province of the Society of Jesus based on Los Gatos. (California Province)|
|Fr. Jeffrey C. Johnson, S.J., 40, is originally from Signal Mountain, Tenn. Jeff attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville on scholarship where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in English before serving for five years as a naval officer. As a diocesan seminarian, he studied theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Chicago. He entered the Society of Jesus in 2001, after which he earned a Master’s degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Fordham University in New York. Before beginning his regency, Jeff co-produced the hour long documentary film “Xavier” which was narrated by actor Liam Neeson, televised nationally on PBS and distributed to Jesuit schools throughout the United States. He then went on to Jesuit High School in Tampa, Fla. as a teacher, chaplain of the baseball and soccer teams and moderator of the school newspaper. He also developed the school’s first advanced placement course in English literature. Jeff will soon complete his Licentiate in Sacred Theology at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and he will be associate pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in New Orleans this fall. (New Orleans Province)|
|Fr. Andrew R. Kirschman, S.J., 37, is from the north county suburbs of St. Louis, Mo. Drew graduated from St. John Vianney High School where his activities included cross-country, basketball, track, student council and theater, as well as work at St. Justin Martyr Parish. As a volunteer, he spent time on a Native American reservation in South Dakota, and in Harlem, N.Y., a children’s bible camp. As a seminarian at Cardinal Glennon Seminary in the St. Louis Archdiocese, Drew attended Saint Louis University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Letters. After graduating from the university and the seminary, he worked for three years at Chaminade Preparatory High School in St. Louis, teaching theology, coaching cross-country, basketball and track, and organizing a service program for the middle school. Upon entering the Jesuit novitiate in 2000 in St. Paul, Minn., he earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Saint Louis University. Drew completed his regency at the Universidad Centroamericana in San Salvador, El Salvador. During his first year there he worked in the law school and learned Spanish. For the next two years, he taught sociology and political science as he worked with the youth group at Las Palmas Parish. For the past three years, he has assisted with the formation of the Alum Service Corps, a volunteer program in Missouri Province high schools, as leader of its summer boot camp and as spiritual guide of alum retreats throughout the year. Drew completed theology studies at the the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, Calif. where his apostolic work included ministering to incarcerated juveniles and women in correctional facilities. Drew has been missioned to Arrupe Jesuit High School in Denver for the coming fall to teach, assist in the recruitment and admission of new students, and to participate in the ongoing Ignatian formation of students, faculty and staff. In addition, he will work with the Latino community in the Denver area and will continue his work with the Alum Service Corps. (Missouri Province)|
|Fr. Joseph W. Laramie, S.J., 33, is originally from Florissant, Mo. He first considered a religious vocation during his years at Saint Louis University High School. He went on to complete undergraduate studies in philosophy and letters at Saint Louis University as a seminarian in the St. Louis Archdiocese. After graduating from the university in 2000, he entered the Jesuit novitiate in St. Paul, Minn. The highlight of his novitiate experience was working at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City. Mo. where he assisted teachers, taught classes and helped with service projects and retreats. He then went on to study theology and Spanish at Loyola University of Chicago, during which he took improvisational acting classes with the Second City theater program. He also continued special studies at Saint Louis University to earn his Master’s degree in Communications. Joe completed his regency at Regis Jesuit High School in Denver where he taught public speaking, journalism and sophomore and senior spirituality classes. He was also moderator of the school’s improv club and newspaper. His interest in pro-life work has often taken him to Washington, D.C., to serve as a group leader for the March for Life every January. He has also served as master of ceremonies for the Ignatian Spirituality Conference in St. Louis, and he will do so again this summer. Joe earned his Master’s degree of Divinity this spring at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, and he will return to Boston in the fall to finish his licentiate in sacred theology. (Missouri Province)|
|Fr. Joel G. Medina, S.J., 56, was born in McAllen, Texas and raised in Jackson, Miss. He graduated from Jackson High School. He worked on a mental health unit and chose to attend nursing school at Jackson Community College and later obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich. He worked in various hospital units and has been certified as an infusion registered nurse (CRNI). At the parish of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Detroit, Joel served as a lector and on the parish council. He was also a member of the Pastoral Council of the Archdiocese of Detroit. He entered the Loyola House novitiate in 2002 and was missioned to serve at St. Luke’s Clinic in Camden, N.J., and the Gesu Church in University Heights, Ohio. He completed philosophy studies at Loyola University Chicago. His regency was in university ministry at the University of Detroit Mercy where he focused on retreat ministry and led mission trips to El Salvador and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He has accompanied Loyola University medical students and physicians on a medical mission trip to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. He has participated in three internships on spiritual direction and the Spiritual Exercises. Joel attended the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and received his Master’s of Divinity this spring. He was ordained as a deacon last fall and served at Sacred Hearts Church in Malden, Mass. Joel has been missioned as a chaplain to Stroger Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, and also to serve part time at St. Procopius Jesuit Church, also in Chicago. (Chicago-Detroit Province)|
|Fr. J. Alejandro Olayo Méndez, S.J., 41, is from Mexico City, Mexico. His vocation story goes back to 1988 when he entered the diocesan seminary in Mexico City. After several years he left the seminary and attended the Universdad Iberoamericana (Jesuit University in Mexico City) where he obtained a Bachelor’s in Communications. He worked at a high school, a consulting company, and spent a year in Chiapas in southern Mexico working for a human rights center. It was during his time in Chiapas that Alejandro discerned to rejoin religious life. He entered the novitiate of the Oregon Province in Portland in the fall of 2002. After the novitiate he was missioned to first studies in Chicago where he earned a Master’s in Social Work. While in Chicago, he worked closely with migrant communities both in professional and pastoral settings. His next mission brought him back to the Pacific Northwest, to work at Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane, Wash., where he was a counselor, religion teacher and diversity director. He even coached football (not soccer, but American football, which he loves). Alejandro has a passion for working with and advocating for migrants’ rights; he has also worked closely with Jesuit Refugee Services. These past years, he has been at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry completing his training for ordination. After serving this coming summer at St. Ignatius Parish in Portland, he will return to Boston to complete his licentiate in sacred theology. (Oregon Province)|
|Fr. Aaron D. Pidel, S.J., 32, is a native of Augusta, Ga. He grew up within the Alleluia Community, a Christian charismatic group. He studied the humanities and Catholic culture at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. His interest in Jesuit missionaries prompted him to attend an eight-day Ignatian retreat, and he entered the Jesuit novitiate in the fall of 2000. As a Jesuit novice, Aaron worked with persons with intellectual disabilities at the L’Arche Community of Mobile, Ala., and with a youth group at a parish in El Salvador. He went on to earn a Master’s degree in Philosophy Resources from Fordham University in New York. During his regency, Aaron taught the classics, coached soccer and led the retreat program at Jesuit High School in New Orleans. He also substituted as a senior physics teacher for Jesuit High School students who relocated to Houston during the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Aaron will soon complete both his Master’s of Divinity and a licentiate in sacred theology, and this summer he will teach and offer spiritual direction to diocesan seminarians at the Institute of Priestly Formation at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. In August, he will serve as a chaplain at World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain and this fall he will begin work as parochial vicar at Gesu Parish in Miami, Fla. (New Orleans Province)|
|Fr. Paul H. Vu, S.J., 40, is originally from Saigon, Vietnam. When he was a young child, he and his family fled Vietnam and first settled in Costa Mesa, Calif. where he attended St. John the Baptist Catholic School. His family later relocated to Houston where he graduated from St. Thomas High School and was awarded a scholarship to the University of Texas. After earning his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, he received a full scholarship to the University of Missouri where he earned both Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Counseling Psychology. He entered the Jesuit novitiate in St. Paul, Minn., in August of 2000. As a novice he worked at the Jesuit infirmary in Los Gatos, Calif. and in the second year of his novitiate he worked as a counselor and campus minister at Rockhurst University in Kansas City. He completed philosophy studies in St. Louis, and for the regency period of his formation he was assigned to Regis University in Denver where he worked as a counselor on the campus, taught part-time and coordinated the university Christian Life Community program. Paul is currently completing theology studies at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University in Berkeley, Calif., and he is also a pastoral minister at San Francisco General Hospital. Ordained to the diaconate last fall, he preaches at St. Leo’s Church in Oakland, Calif. After serving this coming summer at St. Francis Xavier Church in Kansas City, he will return to Berkeley to complete his Licentiate in Sacred Theology and to continue his study of the relationship between psychology and religion. (Missouri Province)|