With great joy and gratitude in God’s grace, Jesuit Gregory Kennedy was ordained to the priesthood on May 23, and his fellow Jesuits, Matthew Charlesworth, Jean-Robert Déry, Paul Robson, and Emmanuel Saint-Hilaire, to the diaconate, at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Toronto. The Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, Archbishop of Ottawa presided at the ordination liturgy for his fellow Jesuits.
Fr. Gregory Kennedy, SJ is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in theology at the Pontifical University Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. His thesis will explore how the peace process between the Colombian government and the guerrilla army, the FARC, can shed light on the necessary task of reconciliation with creation.
“What better day to be ordained than on May 23, the date of the beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero, hero of the Latin American people. I pray to share his faith and courage in our common work for peace and justice.”
Matthew Charlesworth, SJ was born in Cambridge, England in 1979 and completed his schooling at St. Stithians College in South Africa and graduated from Rhodes University (Grahamstown, South Africa) with a Bachelor of Business Science (BBusSc), and a Masters degree in Information Systems (MCom). While at Rhodes, Matthew was elected SRC President and was also National President of the Association of Catholic Tertiary Students. He entered the Society of Jesus in 2005 and after his novitiate in Birmingham, he completed the usual Jesuit formation: with studies in Philosophy at Heythrop College (London, England); a school regency at Canisius Secondary School (Chikuni Mission Station, Zambia), where he taught high school mathematics and computer science; and theological studies at Hekima College (Nairobi, Kenya) and Regis College, which brought him to Toronto where he is currently completing his licentiate and Master's degree in Theology.
"My formation thus far has given me a deep appreciation of the universal and missionary aspect of my vocation as a Jesuit. It has been a privilege to get to know the Canadian Province, which with the generous support of its donors, offers truly world-class formation and is helping to train future priests for the Church around the world. I look forward to returning to South Africa next year better prepared for my mission because of the excellent formation offered here - for which I am very grateful."
Jean Robert Déry, SJ, joined the Society of Jesus in 2004. After First Vows, he was sent to Colombia to study philosophy. After getting his philosophy licence, he spent two years working with migrants on the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He started the Master of Divinity program at Regis College, Toronto, in the summer of 2012, which he has just completed. He will begin his Master of Theology program in September 2015. Also, he has several diplomas in languages. He accompanies the Haitian Catholic community in Scarborough at Saint Louis de France Parish.
“I am always fascinated by the following passage from Genesis: ‘Human beings are created in the image and likeness of God’ (1:27). My leitmotiv has been to integrate within me what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God and also to try to help others to see themselves as fully created in God’s image and likeness.”
Paul H. Robson, SJ, is originally from Winnipeg, where he met the Jesuits at St. Ignatius Parish. He entered the Catholic Church in 2003, and joined the Society of Jesus in 2006. Among his adventures as a Jesuit, he spent a year in Nepal. He is completing his Master of Divinity at Regis College in Toronto, and will continue theology studies at St. Paul University in Ottawa this coming year.
"I feel blessed to continue my Christian and Jesuit journey by becoming a deacon and then a priest. As a deacon this year, I pray that I might be a companion of Jesus, servant of all."
Emmanuel R. Saint-Hilaire, SJ, was born in Gros-Morne, Haiti. He joined the Society of Jesus in 2004. After two years of Novitiate, he studied philosophy and the humanities in Bogota, Colombia. During his regency in Haiti, he taught and worked as director for communication on an education project with “Fe y Alegria”. In 2012, he came to Canada to study Theology at Regis College, University of Toronto. He has completed his Master of Divinity and is currently in his second cycle in Theology. He combines his passion for creative writing with an equal commitment to defend the dignity of the human person, especially the poor.
“As a child of God and a Jesuit, I feel blessed by God for all that He has done and continues to do in my life. For this reason, I proclaim everyday and everywhere my philosophy of life: ‘When we love, we commit. When we commit, we love.’
Photos courtesy: Moussa Faddoul, Fotoreflection