"We testify that these men are worthy."
With these words, Fr. Provincial Ronald Mercier presented four Jesuits for ordination on Saturday, June 10. The Most Reverend Gregory Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans, presided at the sacred liturgy of ordination at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, on the campus of Loyola University New Orleans.
Jesuit Fathers Marcus Fryer, Stephen Pitts, Sean Salai and Sylvester Tan come from different backgrounds and entered the Society of Jesus with different gifts. But each has undergone extensive formation, training that integrates one’s spiritual, personal and professional development. And each has been found worthy.
The four are among 31 new Jesuit priests ordained in the United States and Canada this year.
"They have been chosen," Archbishop Aymond said in his homily. "They have been called by God and confirmed by the Church."
"Your choice to take the 'road less travelled' made a radical difference in your own life," Archbishop said. "Because from now on, whenevery you say 'I' it is not only you, but also Christ. And that makes a radical difference in all the lives you touch."
Ordination is a sacrament of the Roman Catholic Church and occurs within a Mass. Following the Gospel, each man was called by name and presented by Fr. Mercier to Archbishop Aymond. Archbishop Aymond asked each about his readiness to accept the responsibilities of ordination, then pronounced his approval.
During the rite, the four men – called “ordinands” – laid prostrate on the floor in a gesture of humility while the congregation prayed the litany of the saints. The archbishop ordained each man by a laying on of hands; in a sign of solidarity, this gesture was repeated by the nearly 100 other priests in attendance.
Each ordinand was vested in a stole and chasuble, and his hands were anointed. Then the five new priests joined the Archbishop in consecrating the gifts of bread and wine.
The Jesuit formation process prior to the priesthood is rigorous, taking anywhere from eight to 12 years. It follows the guidelines first laid out by St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. All the new priests have earned graduate degrees in theology, and all have worked in Jesuit schools and served in parishes, hospitals or prisons.