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Congratulations to our Jesuits West jubilarians who celebrated special anniversaries in 2023. We offer prayers of thanksgiving for their service, which has spanned not only across the western U.S., but across the country and the world.

The Jesuits are a missionary order, and even those jubilarians who reside at the province’s health care/retirement community in Los Gatos, California, have one final mission: to pray. They pray for the Church, for the Society of Jesus, for our suffering brothers and sisters, and for our benefactors. Here, some of this year’s jubilarians reflect on the greatest grace of their Jesuit vocation.

Fr. James Torrens, SJ
75 Years in the Society

Here am I, back to Los Gatos, California, 75 years after August 14, 1948, when the novice master, Francis Seeliger, SJ, received some 40 of us, either fresh from high school, including me, or back from war.

After the grape harvest, our long retreat began, with several times of preaching a day for 30 days by Fr. Seeliger and prayer times for us. Bit by bit, the Spiritual Exercises became the grace of my life.

This workout of the spirit is in four stages, or weeks. The First Week is anchored in basics: What history of choices do we have before God? The Second Week is full. We hear the Call of the King to a role in shaping God’s world. The Incarnation, a contemplative moment, awakens us to our Lord’s humanity. The Two Standards exposes the tactics of our headlong enemy and invites a response.

Weeks Three and Four help us enter the Passion and death of Jesus; first, his human abasement and then with Jesus arising to console his holy mother and then arouse the apostles.

A finale, the Contemplation for Obtaining Love, sweeps up the whole of creation and draws us forcefully into the
dynamics of the love of God.

So how could any workout, any time spent running the trails, have had a deeper role in my 75 Jesuit years?

Fr. Torrens prays for the Church and the Society at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California.

Fr. Raymond Allender, SJ
60 Years in the Society

The Society of Jesus has shaped who I am today and who I have been. As I look at my life as a Jesuit, there are two graces that really stand out.

One is that I have had a wonderful opportunity to get close to God through the Gospels, the Spiritual Exercises, community life, my Jesuit brothers and my instructors. They have shaped me and given me access to get closer to who God is.

The other grace, and it’s just as equal, is that I have been able to serve the people of God. Thirty-two years in Jesuit secondary education and 14 years in Jesuit parish life have been tremendous blessings. I have been able to get to know people and enter into their lives, and it has been a priceless gift that God has given me.

So, my Jesuit life has meant being able to get close to God and close to others, and I thank God for that.

Fr. Allender prays for the Church and the Society at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California.

Fr. Dick Case, SJ
60 Years in the Society

As I entered the Society of Jesus some 60 years ago, I kept thinking about what it would mean to me to become a Jesuit. After so many years of ministry in the Society, I keep thinking that the grace that I experienced was the many people that I have been privileged to know and work with and work for. God has been good to me over the years.

Fr. Case is assistant superior at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, where he prays for the Church and the Society of Jesus.

Fr. Kevin Clarke, SJ
60 Years in the Society
50 Years in the Priesthood

Gratitude has always been my mantra. I am grateful for and abundantly blessed by my vocation, my family, my work and the people along the way who have enriched my life. With God as my companion, I have all I need.

When I entered the Jesuit novitiate in Sheridan, Oregon, after three years at Gonzaga, I wasn’t sure I would stay. However, after the long retreat, I knew the Jesuits was where God wanted me. I have always been confirmed in this vocation even though there have been struggles and difficult times; I have grown from them and know this is where I belong.

I have been a biology teacher, a pastor and a hospital chaplain. In all these situations I found listening to another person to be life-giving. It is not a passive activity but one that requires active involvement. Questions lead to deeper understanding and the ability to help and really make a difference.

People who have entered my life are still with me even though I don’t have contact with them. I pray for them and thank them for all they have given me—support, love and friendship. My life is full. I am grateful for my 60 years as a Jesuit.

Fr. Clarke is a pastoral minister at Providence Portland Medical Center.

Fr. Allan Deck, SJ
60 Years in the Society

The image that comes to mind when I consider the graces I’ve received as a Jesuit over these past 60 years is a firehose endlessly spewing out graces.

Sometimes I have to work against feeling guilty about the lasting and intense joy that being a Jesuit has meant for me all these years in a world where there is plenty of suffering, meaninglessness and toxicity. God gave me a loving family (for the most part gone ahead of me now), devoted and talented Jesuit brothers, and a culturally diverse group of loving friends, as well as purposeful and stimulating work assignments.

A special blessing for me has been my family’s Spanish/English bilingualism and biculturality. This prepared me for countless life-giving opportunities in ministry to plumb the depths of my humanity and that of others. I learned so much, especially from the Mexican working-class people. I am amazed by their deep faith, respect and love for me as a fellow human being and Jesuit priest. For me this is a never-ending source of gratitude.

Fr. Deck is a distinguished scholar of pastoral theology at Loyola Marymount University and provincial assistant for spiritual ministries for the Jesuits West Province.

Fr. James Harbaugh, SJ
60 Years in the Society

In my years as a Jesuit, I have lived and worked in different provinces, different states and different ministries. But what in the end was central to all of it was that for two-thirds of those years, I was an active member of 12-step programs.

Fr. Harbaugh is a writer and a pastoral minister in the Diocese of Oakland, California.

Fr. John Morton, SJ
60 Years in the Society

Divine providence has opened door after door for me my whole life, right up to this present moment.

The biggest grace of my years in the Society has been the privilege of living among the Native peoples of Alaska, Canada and the Northwest. They have consistently welcomed and mentored and challenged me.

I have been helped and inspired over the years by “older brother” Jesuits in this same calling, notably: Dominic Doyle, Jake Spills, Barney McMeel, Frank Fallert, Tom Connolly, Barney Mayhew and Pat Twohy.

Fr. Morton is pastor of several parishes on the Colville Reservation in north central Washington.

Fr. Thomas Provinsal , SJ
60 Years in the Society

The greatest grace of my Jesuit sojourn is to be a priest granted by Christ. Within that is the gift of discernment from Ignatius.

I have lived my life as a priest among the Yup’ik people by the Bering Sea 500 miles due west of Anchorage and 350 miles from the Kamchatka Peninsula of far east Russia.

They physically bordered no other culture west and the Athabascan people to the east. Their Aleut cousins were to the south and their Inupiaq brothers and sisters to the north. They are a rare and precious family hidden as treasure for many thousands of years.

I have spent my life as a priest expecting to be moved out as not being up to snuff; it has been a privilege not granted to many to be placed here.

I have learned the value of a name, which has helped me value the name of Jesus.

Fr. Provinsal is a pastoral minister in Tununak, Nightmute and Toksook Bay in Alaska.

Fr. Joseph Spieler, SJ
60 Years in the Society

What could capture the grace and tremendous joy of my 60 years in this company called the Jesuits?

I so gratefully include the treasured friendships of fellow Jesuits in ministry at every stage. I also must mention the joy of pastoral service with lay men and women in our common call to labor in the service of faith and the promotion of justice. And now I am thankful for the chance to accompany migrant families at the Mexican border at the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Arizona/Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.

But the greatest grace has been the presence of God in my heart all along the way. With gratitude and awe, I humbly identify with the words of Pedro Arrupe:

More than ever I find myself in the hands of God.
This is what I have wanted all my life from my youth.
But now there is a difference.
The initiative is entirely with God.
It is indeed a profound spiritual experience
to know and feel myself so totally in God’s hands.

Fr. Spieler is a pastoral minister at the Kino Border Initiative.

Fr. Salvatore Tassone, SJ
60 Years in the Priesthood

I’m not sure what the greatest grace is that I have received in my Jesuit life. But a long period of God’s grace has been with me in various ways during my 47 years of teaching the New Testament here at Santa Clara University and in the years of my preparation for that. I am very grateful for my teachers in the Society in the various periods of my training and studies.

I am also grateful for my brother Jesuits in those years, for my family, for colleagues and friends here at SCU, and also for those graces received with my students in my years of teaching.

Fr. Tassone is professor emeritus of religious studies at Santa Clara University.

Bishop Michael Barber, SJ
50 Years in the Society
10 Years as Bishop of Oakland

I am deeply grateful to God for the honor and privilege to serve as a member of the same order as St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier, an order founded “for the defense and spread of the Catholic faith.”

God has loved me through so many people I’ve met along the way. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of the priesthood, exercised in the Society of Jesus. With St. Paul I can say: “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.”

Bishop Barber serves as the bishop of the Diocese of Oakland, California.

Fr. Patrick Conroy, SJ
50 Years in the Society

As a young boy I wanted to become a lawyer, like my dad. An interest in politics emerged in high school. Soon my goal was to be a U.S. senator. After college that interest led me to Gonzaga for law school.

There I met Jesuits who liberated my religious imagination. They were happy in their work, full of joy, and impressive in personality and abilities. If they could, so I could live a happy life as a Jesuit. I was particularly inspired by those working in campus ministry and Native ministry.

In 50 years, God, through the Jesuits, has remembered my bucket list. I have been a lawyer representing an Indian tribe and Salvadoran refugees in immigration courts. For five years I served on the Colville and Spokane Indian Reservations. I have been in Congress as chaplain of the House. I was a campus minister for 15 years at Georgetown, Seattle University and Gonzaga.

My Jesuit life has placed me in the lives of many people from multiple walks of life, cultures and religions. I’m amazed by the beauty of our world and the drama of the human condition. Great graces, indeed.

Fr. Conroy is the minister at the Della Strada Jesuit Community in Spokane, Washington.

Fr. Tim Godfrey, SJ
50 Years in the Society

After 50 years, it is difficult to identify the one outstanding grace of my vocation; there have been so many. The wonderful Jesuits I have come to know and love over the years, the opportunities for education and ministry that I have been given, the people I have worked with and those I have been privileged to serve—all these have been wonderful gifts that have brought me so many different blessings. However, I would say that the one sustaining grace that underlies all the others, and continues to deepen as I grow older, is the awareness of how faithful and loving God has been to me through the years.

On this anniversary, then, I am most grateful to God for his ongoing invitation to draw closer to him and for the opportunity to serve as a companion of Jesus by ministering with—and to—so many wonderful people as a priest and nurse.

Fr. Godfrey is an associate professor of nursing at the University of San Francisco’s extension in Orange County, California.

Fr. Lawrence Herrera , SJ
50 Years in the Society

Without question, the most important experience I have had has been the encounter with the whole legacy of St. Ignatius of Loyola, spiritually, historically and psychologically. An especially helpful experience was that of spending nine months or so in Spain with a chance to profit from the patrimony we have from a long history of our Spanish brothers’ study and research. Assisting others with the Spiritual Exercises has been a great grace for me as well.

Fr. Herrera is a teacher and spiritual director for the program for priestly formation at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, California.

Fr. Charles Tilley, SJ
50 Years in the Society

The greatest gift I’ve received is to be a Companion of Jesus. I am forever blessed by that day when Fr. Anton “Sam” Renna, SJ, knew of my dilemma of whether I should enter the Jesuits now or wait until after college. After thinking about it for three days, he told me, “Apply. If it is the will of the Holy Spirit, you will be accepted. If not, you will be deferred until after you’ve completed college.” I entered the novitiate that fall. Trusting the Holy Spirit continues to be my North Star.

The Spirit has led me to a variety of ministries these past 50 years. I have gained far more from the people I’ve worked with than I ever could have imagined. They embody God’s daily presence in our world. I am humbled by their faith, their trust and their love.

One of my greatest joys is to witness God’s presence through the sacraments. Encountering the Lord through the inspirational times and the stressful times of life has indeed been a privilege. Our sacraments truly are the doors to the sacred love of God. How blessed we all are to be loved so generously by God!

Fr. Tilley is associate pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Phoenix.

Br. Jeffrey Allen, SJ
25 Years in the Society

What has been my greatest grace to date in my vocation? This is a tough question to answer. As a Jesuit brother for 25 years, there have been many graces. Some of my greatest graces have been the Jesuit brothers I have known.

Another great grace would be the people I have had the honor to work with, such as the faculty, staff and students of Verbum Dei Jesuit High School in Los Angeles. I could go on listing the many people I have worked with through the years, but the list would be too long. Verbum Dei stands out because it is a Cristo Rey school, and I think this is one of the greatest missions the Jesuits have started in the U.S. in recent years, as they provide students with limited resources a work-focused college prep education. I now have another opportunity to work in that mission again at the new Cristo Rey school in Seattle.

Br. Allen is director of information technology at Cristo Rey Jesuit Seattle High School.

Fr. Fernando Álvarez Lara, SJ
25 Years in the Society

Among the many graces received thus far, I can say that a crucial one is that of gratitude for this call to follow Christ in the Society, la Mínima Compañía. Without our way of proceeding, that has given me the opportunity to undergo the 30-day Spiritual Exercises twice, a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus to live out my faith in today’s world would not have been possible.

As I continue to strive to be a man of the Exercises, I am grateful for all the accompaniment that I have received and been invited into in the form of diverse classroom settings, peoples and communities all over the world. Even though 25 years ago I entered a province, I find myself being missioned to form communitas ad dispersionem (a community in dispersion), still faithful to the One who initiated in me this desire to amar y servir en todas las cosas (to love and serve in all things).

Fr. Álvarez Lara is a professor of theology and religious studies at Regis University in Denver.

Fr. Frank Buckley, SJ
25 Years in the Society

My greatest grace in my Jesuit vocation has been being given the opportunity to work as a Jesuit priest and clinical psychologist with people on the periphery. As a result of the apostolic planning meeting at Loyola Marymount University, I took the opportunity to re-read Ignatian Humanism and was struck by how Ignatius saw his ministry as talking to people about God. This has been my great privilege: to stand on the shoulders of giants and get to do the same thing in a plethora of ways.

When I wrote my doctoral dissertation years ago, I titled it “Flourishing on a Jesuit Campus.” At the time, I could not have imagined the Jesuit campus I would land on would be Homeboy Industries on Bruno Street. This work has given me a life more beautiful than anything I could have imagined.

Fr. Buckley is a clinical psychologist at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles.

Fr. Trung Pham, SJ
25 Years in the Society

God is active and full of surprises. I found my Jesuit vocation because of the immigrant experience. I became a Jesuit artist because of the Spiritual Exercises and the support of the formation director. My art teaching profession came during the height of Jesuit-lay leadership and collaboration. My passion for Ignatian spirituality has led me to become a national assistant chaplain of the Eucharistic Youth Movement. I discovered my love of marathon running from a Jesuit’s inspiration and recommendation.

These are some snapshots of my amazing Jesuit life so far, and I would not have become who I am and unlocked my potential, gifts and talents without the Jesuit formation and God’s abundant graces. Twenty-five years in the Society are characterized by Jesuit care and God’s patience. I am indebtedly grateful for everything God has given me, including chances to respond to his love  with my whole heart.

Fr. Pham is an associate professor of visual arts at Seattle University.

Fr. George Griener, SJ
50 Years in the Priesthood

I entered the Society of Jesus in the summer of 1960, just as preparations were underway for the opening of the Second Vatican Council.

This epochal event in the life of the Church reframed our understanding of ourselves as the people of God; opened the door to full collaboration of lay, clerical and religious Christians in the call of the Gospel; asked religious communities to return to the sources to discern their contemporary mission and to renew their spirituality; reshaped training of ministers in the Church; renewed awareness of the centrality of sacred Scripture; and allowed for the appreciation of the diversity of the world’s cultures and languages.

It was serendipitous that my life as a Jesuit was shaped from the very beginning by the unfolding of this Council.

Fr. Griener is professor emeritus of historical and systematic theology at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University.

Fr. Stephen Barber, SJ
25 Years in the Priesthood

“Believe what you read. Teach what you believe. Practice what you teach.” This episcopal instruction is given to men in the Rite of Ordination to the Order of Deacon, charging them with a particular responsibility. It is an invitation that reveals the essential reciprocity between Jesus and the deacon.

My priesthood reflects my desire to accept this invitation. Gratitude to God, in his son Jesus alone remains. Lifers at San Quentin State Prison guided my first steps. Some of those men remain there. Walking with six men to their execution haunts me to this day. Calvary. Indelible memories. Final prayerful conversations becoming eulogies. Sharing supper with the families of their murder victims.

“Believe the prayers of the liturgy. Proclaim the holy Gospel with clarity and compassion. Listen and walk.” I spoke these words in a homily on the anniversary of my ordination. In our priesthood, we are invited to pray publicly on behalf of the faithful, and the essential connection between the priest and the faithful must be acknowledged and felt when the prayers of the liturgy are heard. Folks deserve to know you actually believe in the prayers they hear.

The exemplary companionship of my brother Jesuit priests sustains like oxygen. Laus Deo, Semper! Our Lady, Queen of the Society of Jesus, pray for us!

Fr. Barber is the parochial vicar of the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, California.

Fr. Michael Bayard, SJ
25 Years in the Priesthood

At the end of any day, I am filled with much gratitude for the opportunity to accompany and share the love, mercy, compassion and kindness of our companion, Jesus, in a myriad of sacramental moments, especially with those whom I was missioned to serve over these last 25 years: Gesu Parish parishioners in Milwaukee; Seattle University students, alumni, faculty and staff; my own brothers in the Jesuits West Province; and most recently the many individuals and families at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Vancouver, Washington.

It is also gratitude that has buoyed my spirit during difficult and challenging days, as well as the realization that I do not do this work alone. I am sent on mission with many generous, kind and talented men. How fortunate we are to work together to build God’s kingdom! What a blessing!

Fr. Bayard is the parish priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Vancouver, Washington.

 Fr. Mark Torres, SJ
25 Years in the Priesthood

The greatest grace in my life as a Jesuit? I continue to be awed and surprised by this mysterious happening: my life as a Jesuit. And I join with so many other Jesuit brothers who have shared with me their feeling of joy and gratitude for it all.

So many wonderful adventures during these years, so many graced awakenings. From entrance day at the novitiate accompanied by my parents until now— ministering at Homeboy Industries and living at Casa Luis Espinal—with everything in between.

I heard an older Jesuit once say about life, “It’s all grace.” I’m older now too and I believe that.

The meditation on God’s love in the Fourth Week of the Exercises opens the heart to finding God in all things. God is always walking with us and laboring for us, the giving of God’s self intimately to each of us, to me.

Thank you, Ignatius, and thank you to all Jesuits past and present for this greatest gift.

Fr. Torres is a counselor at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles.

Fr. Christopher Weekly, SJ
25 Years in the Priesthood

For most of my ordained Jesuit life, I have been lucky to serve in several of our parishes. In each of these communities, it has been a privilege to walk alongside individuals and families in the unfurling seasons of their lives.

I remember so many sacramental moments: baptisms and first Communions, marriages celebrated, graduation days marked, poignant anointings, healing reconciliations, and the bittersweet embrace of funerals and burials. For all the years of laughter and tears shared over kitchen tables and in parish halls, I am grateful.

All along the way I have felt so lucky to have found a vocational path that has never left me doubting or wondering if God was fooling with me. During challenging times, Christ has felt near and has given me good companions. And on the good days, I feel (in the words of the old hymn) “lost in wonder, love and praise.”

Fr. Weekly is provincial assistant for pastoral ministries for the Jesuits West Province.

Other Jesuits Celebrating Jubilees this Year 

Fr. Augusto Berrio, SJ
Fr. Thomas G. Williams, SJ 

Fr. Gerard E. Chapdelaine, SJ
Br. Justin A. DeChance, SJ 
Bishop Carlos A. Sevilla, SJ

Fr. Thomas A. Colgan, SJ
Fr. Robert G. Dolan, SJ
Fr. Michael J. Fitzpatrick, SJ
Fr. Edwin B. Harris, SJ
Fr. Anastacio S. Rivera, SJ
Fr. William D. Vogel, SJ
Fr. George J. Max Oliva, SJ  

Fr. William M. Watson, SJ

Fr. Sean T. Dempsey, SJ
Fr. Thao N. Nguyen, SJ

Fr. Augusto Berrio, SJ
Fr. L. Paul Fitterer, SJ  

Fr. James H. Keene, SJ
Fr. John P. Mossi, SJ
Fr. Michael E. Moynahan, SJ
Fr. William H. Muller, SJ
Fr. Mario J. Prietto, SJ
Fr. Edward A. Reese, SJ
Fr. Patrick J. Reuse, SJ  

Fr. Michael T. Castori, SJ
Fr. Gregory D. Vance, SJ 

Fr. Patrick B. O’Leary, SJ
(75 Years in the Society)