Imposition of Hands

Introducing the Jesuits who were ordained priests in the United States this summer

At the heart of an ordination is silence. The silence is solemn, pregnant, heavy with mystery, tense with promise, hard-won. In this silence, the bishop places his hands on the head of the candidate to priesthood, holding them there in the ancient gesture of blessing and commitment, pressing, praying, silently invoking the Spirit, then letting go. He steps back, and other priests may move up to repeat his gesture; soft music begins; and life's sounds resume—breathing, whispering, shuffling in the pews. Soon, with a prayer invoking the Spirit, the official words begin again.

The ordination liturgy is full of sounds. Processional hymns, official prayers, scripture readings, homily, instructions to accompany ritual gestures and promises, applause of approval, a litany that calls upon the heroes of the tradition to be with the new priests in their future ministry—all lead up to the silence and the bishop's hands placed on the new priests' heads. Following it are a greeting of peace, petitions, and familiar words of eucharist and blessing spoken now with new voices.

The ordination celebration goes beyond the official liturgy and brings its own chorus of sounds. In many Jesuit provinces, the practice has grown up in recent decades of bringing everyone together for the ordination weekend from their distant cities and varied works to share in conversation, maybe a formal talk or two, discussion, prayer, time together, and words from the provincial superior.

The sounds of this weekend easily flow from months of phone calls and discussions to put all the arrangements in place, from years of classroom preparation in theology and philosophy, in spirituality and in prayer. They flow from a lifetime of birthday songs, encouragement, cheers at sixth-grade baseball games, teenage arguments, questions, hints, jokes—the life sounds that have brought these young men to this point of commitment. They flow from a tradition of sacred words that reaches back to Jesus and his disciples, to Moses and the prophets, to the Word spoken to get our story started at all. Ageless sounds have led up to this brief moment of silence.

After the ordination liturgy, a reception will follow, filled with congratulations and best wishes. Families and Jesuits mingle with other guests, meeting for the first time, renewing old friendships, sharing stories—bridging circles of relationships that are usually confined to separate realms of life. In some of the Jesuit provinces a large dinner may follow the ordination liturgy, complete with entertainment, acknowledgments, and more words from the provincial.

Then ministry begins, new ministry with new rhythms, new music, new words, words of Eucharist, words of forgiveness, words of healing and of blessing, words of challenge and of hope. But all these beautiful, powerful new sounds draw purpose and strength from the core of the ordination rite, the invocation of the Spirit in a brief moment of thundering silence.   #


New Jesuit Priests

|Mark Bandsuch, SJ Fr. Mark Bandsuch, 38, from Cleveland, with a bachelor's degree in accounting and a law degree from Cleveland-Marshall, taught business and law at John Carroll University. He served as a hospital chaplain in Cleveland and worked with the Jesuit Refugee Service in assessing immigrant situations in prisons in the Bay Area in California, where he also served as a prison chaplain. (Detroit Province) |Bernard Barry, SJFr. Bernard Barry, 38, from Kansas City, has a degree in accounting from Creighton University. He taught at St. John's College in Belize and is working in campus ministry at Saint Louis University, which four of his relatives currently attend. He will be ordained at St. Francis Xavier in Kansas City, where he was baptized; this fall he will continue in campus ministry. (Missouri Province)
|Thomas Benz, SJFr. Thomas Benz, 35, from Buffalo, has a bachelor's in foreign service from Georgetown and a master's in European history from Notre Dame. He taught and gave retreats at St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City and served as director at Jesuit Family Retreats in Blue Ridge Summit, Penn. He was deacon at a parish in Somerville, Mass. This fall he will teach religion at Fordham Prep in the Bronx. (New York Province) |John Butler, SJ Fr. John Butler, 37, from Atlanta, eceived BAs in religious studies and philosophy from St. Thomas University and an MA in religious studies from Providence College. He was a counselor at Loyola College in Baltimore, where he had a fellowship and was a teaching assistant He has done gang ministry in the Bronx and was an RCIA teacher at Immaculate Heart in Towson, Md. (New England Province)
|Sean Carroll, SJFr. Sean Carroll, 34, from Weymouth, Mass., has a BA in history from Stanford. He worked in campus ministry at a Jesuit school in Montevideo, Uruguay, taught history and coached swimming at Loyola High School in Los Angeles, and helped run an after- school tutoring program in East Los Angeles. He will be associate pastor at St. Patrick's Church in Oakland, Calif., this fall. (California Province) |Thomas Cwik, SJFr. Thomas Cwik, 37, from Evergreen Park, Ill., was business manager at St. Ignatius Loyola in Denver and helped found the Miguel Pro Jesuit community in Denver. He has a master's in economics from the University of Illinois in Springfield. After ordination and after attending some rodeos in Colorado this summer, he will become coordinator of the social apostolate for the Missouri Province. (Missouri Province)
|Rocco Danzi, SJFr. Rocco Danzi, 39, from Atlantic City, has a BA in history from St. Joseph's University and an MSEd in social studies from Iona College. He served at St. Ignatius Parish in Brooklyn where he initiated a summer program with the children of the neighborhood. He has also visited Haiti and studied Creole; he looks forward to returning to St. Ignatius parish as a priest. (New York Province) |Tri Minh Dinh, SJFr. Tri Minh Dinh, 35, from Saigon, received a BS in biochemistry from Rice University and taught chemistry at Jesuit High in Sacramento. He directed workshops and retreats for an organization that educates disadvantaged children in the Philippines and helped adapt and direct Kairos retreats for Vietnamese students in California. He hopes to serve in campus or retreat ministry. (California Province)
|Pat Fairbanks, SJFr. Patrick Fairbanks, 46, from Hamilton, Ohio, has a BS in English education from Miami University in Ohio. He worked in AIDS ministry in Chicago and has been serving a parish in Cambridge, Mass., as an RCIA team member, youth retreat director, and catechist. The seventh of fourteen children, he hopes to serve at a province high school after ordination and witness the solar eclipse in 2017. (Chicago Province) |Jerry Graham, SJFr. Jerry Graham, 48, from Toppenish, Wash., has a BA in philosophy from Gonzaga and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alaska. He directed retreats for parishioners at St. Francis Xavier in Missoula, Montana, and worked for two years at the Jesuit Spirituality Center in Portland. He enjoys writing poetry and would like to better integrate Ignatian spirituality with the arts. (Oregon Province)
|Thomas Griffin-SmolenskiFr. Thomas Griffin-Smolenski, 47, from Bristol, Calif., has a BA in English from Villanova University and an MA from the American Graduate School of International Management. He spent two years working at the Jesuit Media/Communications Center in Taiwan. He hopes to continue in AIDS ministry, which he has done in Los Angeles, New York, Berkeley, and Honolulu. (California Province) |Benjamin Hawley, SJFr. Benjamin Hawley, 53, from Brookline, Mass., has a BA in British literature from Tufts and an MA in regional planning from Cornell. He taught at the University of Detroit Mercy and worked with homeless teens in Chicago and Portland, Oregon. A singer, he has performed lead roles in some of Gilbert & Sullivan's operettas. In August he becomes president of Brebeuf Jesuit Prep in Indianapolis. (Chicago Province)
|J Timothy Hipskind, SJFr. J. Timothy Hipskind, 40, from Honolulu, with a BS in engineering from Notre Dame and an MS in mechanical engineering from Purdue, has taught and worked in campus ministry at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill., and was a dorm chaplain at University of Detroit Mercy. He credits the Jesuits with drawing out his talent for singing; he plans to do pastoral work and learn to play the guitar. (Chicago Province) |Robert Hussey, SJFr. Robert Hussey, 38, from Baton Rouge, La., has a bachelor's in economics from Louisiana State and a doctorate in economics from Duke. He taught economics at Loyola College in Maryland and at a Georgetown University–sponsored graduate program in Santiago, Chile. He has been serving at St. Ignatius Parish in Chestnut Hill, Mass., since he was ordained a deacon last spring. (Maryland Province)
|Robert Mattingly, SJFr. Robert Mattingly, 34, from Leonardtown, Md., graduated from Mount Saint Mary's College with a degree in psychology and was a counselor for a suicide hotline. He taught at Gonzaga College High, where he also moderated forensics, lacrosse, and crew and began a service program that linked Gonzaga with inner-city Jesuit parishes. He has worked as a chaplain at Pennsylvania hospitals. (Maryland Province) |Chi Van Ngo, SJFr. Chi Van Ngo, 35, from Saigon, the youngest of eleven, has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Cal Poly. He taught religion and served in campus ministry at San Francisco's St. Ignatius College Prep, where he also coached volleyball and basketball. He has worked with the Jesuit Refugee Service in the Philippines, at a leprosy center in India, and has spent summers directing Kairos retreats. (California Province)
|Scott Santarosa, SJFr. Scott Santarosa, 33, from South Lake Tahoe, Calif., taught religion and coached cross country at Bellarmine Prep after receiving a BS in civil engineering from Santa Clara University. He works in a Jesuit parish near Mexico City, helping children prepare for first communion and running a video club for youth. He hopes to continue doing work where he can speak Spanish and English. (California Province) |Jose Antonio VegaFr. Jose Antonio Vega, 40, from Orange Walk Town, Belize, has a BA in English from Loyola University New Orleans and an MA in education from Saint Louis University. Another of his academic interests is canon law. He taught Spanish, literature, and religion at St. John's College in Belize and did parish work in Honduras. This summer he will become headmaster at St. John's. (Missouri Province)
|Neil Wilkinson, SJFr. Neal Joseph Wilkinson, 45, from Oconomowoc, Wis., earned a bachelor's degree in history from Gonzaga University in Spokane. He taught at Marquette University High and worked as a chaplain at the Fox Lake Correctional Institution in Fox Lake, Wis., and at the Milwaukee County jail. After ordination he will work at St. Agnes and Sacred Heart churches in South Dakota. (Wisconsin Province) |Charles Wrightington, SJFr. Charles Wrightington, 34, has a degree in philosophy from Assumption College and taught the subject at Fordham. He has served as a chaplain at hospitals in Syracuse, Manhattan, and the Bronx, and he studied theology at Centre SŹvres in Paris. He participated in a year-long workshop on spiritual direction and directed retreats at Manrese spiritual center in Clamart, France. (New York Province)
|Mark Zangrando, SJFr. Mark Zangrando, 42, from Chicago, graduated with a BA in political science from Loyola Marymount. He was a theology teacher and a campus minister at Jesuit High in Sacramento and was a hospital chaplain in St. Louis. He served as chaplain in campus ministry at the University of the Philippines and has ministered to the Chinese Catholic community of the University of California. (California Province)  

Copyright(c) Company Magazine. Created: 9/12/00 Updated: 9/13/00