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2022 Ordination

Manuel Chavira Jr., SJ, was born and raised in Fullerton, California. He is the eldest of the five children of Deacon Manuel and Carmen Chavira. Prior to entering the Society of Jesus, Manuel served in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked for nearly 20 years as an oil refinery operator in Southern California. Deciding on a career change, Manuel left the refinery and enrolled at UC Berkeley, where he majored in philosophy as preparation for attending law school. However, a “Come and See” event that he attended, held by the Jesuits at the nearby Jesuit School of Theology, changed his law career plans. Right after he received his philosophy degree from UC Berkeley, Manuel entered the Society of Jesus at their novitiate in Culver City, California. While in the novitiate, Manuel’s apostolic work with the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative, led by Fr. Mike Kennedy, SJ, helped him to begin a discernment in prison ministry. Manuel’s long experiment, in the second year of the novitiate, as the assistant Catholic chaplain at San Quentin State Prison confirmed this calling. After taking vows as a Jesuit, he began first studies at Regis College at the University of Toronto. Since he had just received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy, Manuel’s first studies were spent acquiring his theology degrees. He received a Master of Divinity, as well as a Bachelor of Sacred Theology and a Master of Sacred Theology. While in first studies, Manuel’s apostolic work consisted of working with the First Nations people at St. Ann’s Parish in Toronto as well as assisting at St. Peter’s Parish, also in Toronto. Upon completion of his theology studies, Manuel was hired by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and began his regency as the Catholic chaplain at San Quentin State Prison. His first Mass will be at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Fullerton, the church his parents were married in and where he was baptized. After ordination, Manuel will continue to serve as the Catholic Chaplain at San Quentin State Prison.

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