By Jerry Duggan
June 26, 2020 – With gratitude to God, the Society of Jesus announces the ordination of 15 new priests in Canada, the United States and Haiti this calendar year.
Two Jesuits of the USA Central and Southern Province, David Lugo and Matthew Stewart, will be ordained Aug. 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at St. Francis Xavier College Church in St. Louis. The ordination will be livestreamed at bit.ly.UCSOrdinations2020.
David Lugo, SJ, was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to the United States at a young age with his parents and two younger brothers, eventually settling in Houston. Although he was raised in a Catholic family and considered some form of religious vocation from a young age, Lugo chose to follow his parent’s advice, enrolling at Texas A&M University to complete a degree in physics.
While at A&M, Lugo encountered the Jesuits and began to discern a vocation as a Jesuit. Following the completion of his undergraduate degree, he entered the novitiate in Fall 2009.
During his time at the novitiate, Lugo spent time in mission at a parish in rural Guatemala. It was here that Lugo began to apply his ministry in a hands-on way and see the joy and opportunities that would be available to him as a Jesuit.
After two years in the novitiate, Lugo professed first vows and then completed a master’s degree in philosophy at Saint Louis University.
His regency assignment was at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, where he taught theology and mathematics. Lugo’s fondest memory from these three years comes not in the classroom but on the road. On Easter weekend of 2017, the school’s soccer team played in the state tournament. Lugo traveled with the team and led them in prayer services each day of the Triduum. To top it off, the team won the state tournament.
After spending three years as an educator in Dallas, Lugo earned two degrees from the Jesuit Theologate at Regis College in Toronto, Canada: a Master of Divinity and a Bachelor of Sacred Theology.
He is currently studying Ignatian Spirituality and theology at Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid, Spain. After his ordination, he will return there to finish his Licentiate in Sacred Theology and serve as a priest at a Jesuit parish.
Matthew Stewart, SJ, was born and raised in the St. Louis area and attended St. Louis University High School (SLUH), where he became familiar with the Society. He attended Saint Louis University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music. He spent the next year as part of the Alum Service Corps (ASC) program, serving Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Mo., as a theology and music teacher.
Upon completion of the one-year volunteer program, Stewart was hired at his alma mater, SLUH. Over the course of the next six years, he became an integral member of the SLUH community, serving as a theology teacher and director of campus ministry and also as an assistant racquetball coach and assistant music director. At the same time, Stewart completed his master’s degree in theology at Saint Louis University but still felt like something was missing from his life.
After years of pushing the call to the religious life aside, Stewart took what he admits was an “initial risk” and entered the novitiate in Grand Coteau, La. Always looking to further his knowledge in the real world as well as the classroom. he did apostolic work in New Orleans while at the novitiate.
Following his profession of first vows, Stewart moved to Bronx, N.Y., where he completed a master’s degree in philosophy from Fordham University while teaching English as a second language to refugees at St. Rita’s Center.
Stewart was next assigned to the University of Denver, where he completed a master’s degree in choral conducting while also a regent at Regis University, where he taught theology, led the school’s Peer Ministry program and coordinated liturgy.
He completed his Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. During this time, he also served as a deacon at St. Brigid and Gate of Heaven parishes in South Boston.
Following his ordination, Stewart will serve as parochial vicar at St. Francis Xavier College Church and assist at Loyola Academy, a Nativity model middle school.
Please keep them in your prayers:
Like his Savior and brother, Jesus Christ,
St. Ignatius of Loyola gathered companions
for his ministry of faith, hope and love.
We are thankful that so many thousands of others
have answered the call to the Society of Jesus through the ages.
Bless these 15 men who will continue to serve
the Society, the Church and the world as ordained priests.
Never cease to enkindle their love for you and your people.
And strengthen all of us to serve with them as fellow disciples.
We pray this through Christ, Our Lord,
Banner photo: Ordinands at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, Calif.
Do you want to learn more about vocations to the Society of Jesus? Visit beajesuit.org for more information.