Province Celebrates Ordinations to the Priesthood

June 9, 2018 - Jesuits of the USA Central and Southern Province, along with family and friends, celebrated the ordination to the priesthood of four Jesuits on Saturday, June 9 at Saint Francis Xavier College Church in St. Louis. The celebrations will continue in July when a fifth member of the province is ordained in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

Fernando Luis Barreto Mercado, Deacon of the Word
Fernando Luis Barreto Mercado, SJ, served as deacon of the word at the ordination of four of his Jesuit brothers in St. Louis, June 9.
He will be ordained a priest July 28 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, SJ, Archbishop of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, presided at the sacred liturgy of ordination in St. Louis for Jesuits Penn Dawson, Jason LaLonde, David Paternostro and Michael Wegenka. The Most Reverend Roberto O. González Nieves, OFM, Archbishop of San Juan, will preside at Fernando Luis Barreto Mercado’s ordination at St. Ignatius Loyola Parish on July 28. 

During his sermon, Archbishop Prendergast noted that “The shepherd’s task is to be among the people: to lead the people and to be behind them.” 

He also encouraged the new priests to “Believe what you teach. Teach what you believe. And practice what you teach.” 

Archbishop Prendergast blesses Penn Dawson, SJ
Archbishop Terrence Prendergast blesses W. Penn Dawson, SJ, at his ordination June 9 in St. Louis. 

The liturgy of ordination is movingly beautiful. During the rite, Fr. Provincial Ronald Mercier, SJ,  called each man by name and presented him to Archbishop Prendergast. Later, the four men lay prostrate on the floor in a gesture of humility while the congregation prayed the litany of the saints. Each received a blessing, first by the archbishop, then by his Jesuit brothers, more than 100 priests in all. 

Once the ordinands were vested and their hands anointed, the four new priests joined the archbishop in the consecration and the distribution of communion. 

The five ordinands of this province are among 27 Jesuits to be ordained to the priesthood this year in the United States, Canada and Haiti. 

All five men will serve in pastoral ministry for at least the next year. 

More photos can be found here.

Five UCS Jesuits to Be Ordained

White House Jesuit Retreat Center
The White House Jesuit Retreat Center is located on a beautiful 80-acre campus on the bluffs of the Mississippi River in St. Louis.