Sean M. Salai, S.J., 37, is from the northwest Indiana town of Cedar Lake. He attended Wabash College, a small liberal arts school in Crawfordsville, Indiana, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 2003 and served as the editor of the student news magazine. Although baptized Lutheran, Salai became interested in the Catholic faith during college and started attending events at the Newman
Center on campus. He was welcomed into the faith during his junior year of college. After graduation, Salai worked as a reporter at the diocesan newspaper in Lafayette, Indiana, and then moved to Washington, D.C., to take a job with the Washington Times. He began discerning a vocation to the priesthood and discovered the Jesuits, immediately drawn to Ignatian spirituality. As he continued to discern, Salai moved to Florida for a job with the Boca Raton News before entering the Society of Jesus in 2005. As a novice, he
worked in university ministry at Loyola University New Orleans and at a L’Arche community for people with intellectual disabilities in Mobile, Alabama. Missioned to Loyola University Chicago, he earned a master’s degree in applied philosophy while teaching confirmation students at St. Procopius Catholic Church, a Latino parish in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. For the next four years, Salai taught theology, coached debate and helped with the band at Jesuit High School in Tampa, Florida. Missioned next to the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California, he earned a Master of Divinity degree while working as a chaplain at San Quentin State Prison and as a deacon at St. Isidore Catholic Church in Danville, California. Highlights of his formation include serving as a contributor to the Jesuits’ America magazine; studying Spanish at the Jesuit university in El Salvador; and leading a group of students at World Youth Day in Brazil. The author of two books, including “All the Pope’s Saints: The Jesuits Who Shaped Pope Francis,” Salai will be assigned as parochial vicar to Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, after ordination. His first Mass as a priest will take place at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in New Orleans followed by a Byzantine Divine Liturgy at St. Athanasius the Great Byzantine Catholic Church in Indianapolis. (Central and Southern Province)
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