Five men of the USA Central and Southern Province have been ordained to the priesthood. The Most Reverend Robert Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, presided at the sacred liturgy of ordination on June 11 at St. Francis Xavier College Church in St. Louis.


Five UCS Jesuits Become Priests

"We testify that these men are worthy." 

With these words, Fr. Provincial Ronald Mercier presented five Jesuits for ordination on Saturday, June 11. The Most Reverend Robert Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, presided at the sacred liturgy of ordination at St. Francis Xavier College Church in St. Louis.

Jesuit Fathers Jason Brauninger, Roy Joseph, Juan Carlos Rivera Castro, Andrés Vall-Serra and Samuel Wilson have studied at Jesuit schools and served in Jesuit apostolates. Now, after years of study and practicing what they’ve learned, and with the approval of their superiors, the Roman Catholic Church and their brothers in the Society of Jesus, they are Jesuit priests. 

Annointing of hands

Archbishop Robert Carlson annoints the hands of Jesuit
Jason Brauninger during the liturgy of ordination on June 11.

Beautiful in its simplicity, ordination is a rite of the Roman Catholic Church and occurs within a Mass. Following the Gospel, each man was called by name and presented by Provincial Superior Ronald Mercier to Archbishop Carlson. Archbishop Carlson questioned each as to his readiness to accept the responsibilities of ordination; when he announced his approval, the congregation of about 1,000 responded with enthusiastic applause.  

During the rite, the five candidates laid prostrate on the floor in a gesture of humility while the congregation prayed the litany of the saints. The consecration included a laying on of hands, first by the archbishop, then by other priests present. Each man received a stole and chasuble, or vestment, and his hands were anointed. Then the five new priests joined the Archbishop in consecrating the gifts of bread and wine for the very first time.

The five are among 20 new Jesuit priests ordained in the United States and Canada this year. Profiles and videos are available on another page of this site. They will serve in pastoral ministry for the year following ordination. 

A gallery of photos is available online.

Do you want to learn more about vocations to the Society of Jesus? Visit www.jesuitvocations.org for more information.



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Jason Brauninger, SJ
Jason Brauninger, SJ

Jason E. Brauninger, SJ, 34, grew up in St. Rose, La., where he attended St. Charles Borromeo grade school, served as an altar boy and considered becoming a priest. He earned a bachelor’s degree in fire science engineering at Eastern Kentucky University and in 2005, entered the Jesuits. At Saint Louis University, he completed an accelerated one-year bachelor’s degree in nursing while also taking the philosophy courses required for Jesuit formation. He worked for three years in Denver at St. Anthony Hospital’s cardiac telemetry unit and emergency department while teaching clinical nursing and completing medical mission trips to Nepal and Haiti. He studied at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree and a master’s degree in theology while working part time for Tufts Medical Center’s emergency department. Fr. Brauninger will serve as parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church in New Orleans.  



Roy Joseph, SJ
Roy Joseph, SJ

Roy M. Joseph, SJ,40, is the son of immigrants from India, members of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. A native of Atlanta, he graduated from Emory University, then earned a medical degree at the University of Szeged in Hungary, where he met the Jesuits. He entered the Society of Jesus in 2005. He has worked as a prison and hospital chaplain, worked with the poor in Tijuana, Mexico, and lived in a L’Arche community. He earned a master’s degree in applied philosophy and bioethics from Loyola University Chicago, then taught science for three years at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in Houston. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and served as deacon at St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. He will be a bi-ritual priest in the Latin and Syro-Malabar traditions. His first assignment is at St. Ignatius Loyola Parish in Denver.



Juan Carlos Rivera, SJ
Juan Carlos Rivera Castro, SJ

Juan Carlos Rivera Castro, SJ, 31, was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He began actively discerning his vocation after high school, but put his discernment on hold so he could study art at Escuela de Artes Plásticas in San Juan. He entered the novitiate in the Dominican Republic, and served at Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola in San Juan. He went to the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca in Spain to study philosophy and earned a licentiate degree. He then taught religion and philosophy for two years at the Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola. He earned a Master of Divinity degree and a master’s degree in theology from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. Ordained a deacon in October 2015, he served at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish in Newton, Mass. He has been missioned to St. Francis Xavier College Church in St. Louis.



Andrés Vall-Serra, SJ
Andrés Vall-Serra, SJ

Andrés Maria Vall-Serra, SJ, 38, was born in Bogotá, Colombia, but moved with his family to Houston at the age of 4, and later relocated to Wichita, Kan. He served as a mechanic in the U.S. Navy for three years in the Persian Gulf, Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean, later discerning his vocation while studying at Wichita State University and working part time. He entered the Jesuits in 2004 and earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Saint Louis University, while serving at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and ministering to prisoners. He taught for two and a half years at Instituto Loyola, a Jesuit school in Managua, Nicaragua, and as a consultant on Ignatian spirituality at Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Denver. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He will serve in Punta Gorda, Belize.



Sam Wilson, SJ
Sam Wilson, SJ

Samuel M. Wilson, SJ, 44, was born in Orange County, Calif., and moved with his military family every few years. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and a master’s degree in English from the University of South Alabama. He taught English at the University of South Alabama for three years before entering the Society of Jesus in 2005. He served on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, then studied philosophy at Saint Louis University. He taught English and theology at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, Calif., and served as a deacon at St. Patrick Catholic Church. He studied Spanish in Guatemala and lived with the L’Arche community in the Dominican Republic. He will be missioned to San Juan, Puerto Rico.


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