Posts Tagged ‘novitiate’

Novice Director Guides New Jesuits on Their Journey

Jesuit Father Tom Lamanna This month, 40 men entered the Society of Jesus in the United States as novices. Their path to priesthood — called formation — can take upwards of ten years and begins at one of four Jesuit novitiates across the country.

Oregon Province Jesuit Father Tom Lamanna has been the director of novices at Ignatius House, a novitiate in Culver City, Calif., for the past decade.

He says that one of the graces that comes with his job is “being able to walk very closely with people in their relationship with Jesus. That’s very holy ground.”

According to Fr. Lamanna, the community dynamic at the novitiate is unique because it’s the first stage of formation and the novices are asked to pull back from their previous lives.

“We give them an experience of Jesuit community and a study of the life of Ignatius and the founding documents of the Jesuits,” says Fr. Lamanna. “Then the novices and the Society can decide if it’s the right fit,” he explains.

For Fr. Lamanna, the most life-giving aspect of his job is guiding men through the Spiritual Exercises. “To watch the spirit and Jesus at work with them at a very deep level is a real privilege,” he says.

To learn more about Fr. Lamanna’s job as director of novices, view the Ignatian News Network video below.

Meet Our New Jesuit Novices!

32 men entering the novitiates of the Society of Jesus last month, beginning the two-year period of prayer, work and study. The largest classes hailed from the New Orleans and Missouri Provinces, which each have 7 men entering their provinces. Of the 32 men, Jesuit alumni represent 40 percent of the novices. The largest alumni groups represented overall include Saint Louis University (4), Texas A&M University (3) and Texas Tech (3).

The novitiate is the first stage of Jesuit formation and novices begin to learn through experience about the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as lived in a community setting.  He learns the traditions, rules and expectations of the Society of Jesus.  During this time he makes the Spiritual Exercises in a 30-day retreat and engages in a variety of “experiments,” such as serving the poor, the elderly, and teaching children. At the end of the two years, he pronounces perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience either as a brother or as a scholastic who will prepare for priestly ordination.

Marcos Gonzales
Northridge, California
Marcos, 26, attended Loyola Marymount University, earning his BA in theology and, while working at an all-girls school, his MA in secondary education. He has traveled to more than 20 states and over 22 countries, including a JVI teaching assignment in Chuuk, Micronesia. He loves being in a band and enjoys singing and playing guitar, piano and drums. (California Province)
Jonathon Polce
Mint Hill, North Carolina
Jonathon, 24, is a 2009 graduate of the University of Dallas with a BA in history. In college he was a member of the student senate and a residence hall assistant. Since 2009 he has been working in Rome, Italy, as assistant to the director of the University of Dallas Rome Program. He loves history, politics and sports, including college basketball. (New Orleans Province)
Brian Strassburger
Denver, Colorado
Brian, 26, is a graduate of Regis Jesuit High School and of Saint Louis University, with a BA in math and business administration. He has worked as a Kairos retreat leader and in campus ministry. After college he served for two years in the Augustinian Volunteers, and most recently worked in their development office in Philadelphia. He loves sports and music. (Missouri Province)
Paul Yanzer
Holmen, Wisconsin
Paul, 26, earned a BS from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. He went on to attend Mundelein Seminary, through which he volunteered as chaplain at a jail, hospital and Boy Scout camp. In college, he worked as an undergrad researcher and a building manager. Paul’s other interests include soccer, outdoor activities, fitness and nutrition. (Wisconsin Province)

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