By John O’Brien, SJ
May 29, 2020 – Juan Ruiz, SJ, of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province, and Matthew Cortese, SJ, of the Jesuits USA East Province were ordained to the diaconate on May 29, 2021, at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Toronto. Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Heart-Moosonee, Ontario, presided.
This was the second year that the Regis Jesuit Community in Toronto celebrated ordinations in a reduced and modest manner due to local restrictions on the numbers who can gather for religious services. The ceremony was livestreamed to Jesuits, family and friends across Canada and the United States.
A recording of the ordination can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/XbIwMSiHGzE.
In his remarks to the ordinandi, Archbishop Prendergast referred to the conversion of St. Ignatius of Loyola after his collapse on the walls of Pamplona 500 years ago, which the Society of Jesus is remembering in this Ignatian Year. He recounted Ignatius’s discovery of spiritual consolation and desolation, of his desire to be a poor pilgrim, and of the central place of Mary in the hearts of the first companions.
“May Mary’s obedience to the guidance of the Spirit in her life serve as a model for your journey of faith,” Archbishop Prendergast said, “and may Mary’s Magnificat, which deacons and priests pray at vespers every evening, be your prayer all the days of your Jesuit ministry.”
Like the first Jesuits who Ignatius instructed to serve the sick while they participated in Church councils, the archbishop exhorted the deacons to “strive always to reconcile people to God, living that out by repairing the damaged relationships of this murky world in which we live.”
A Jesuit uncle inspired Juan Ruiz to consider the Society of Jesus. As a novice he accompanied migrants, youth and the dying in Louisiana and New Jersey. During Regency Juan taught Spanish at Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School of Houston. This summer, he will serve in pastoral ministry in New Orleans and the Dominican Republic.
Matthew Cortese’s vocation had “diaconal roots,” planted in the field of service. As a Jesuit Volunteer, he worked with people suffering from severe illnesses, inspiring him to join the Jesuits. During formation, he worked in a hospice in St. Louis, with gang members in Belize, and as a Regent, on service trips from Le Moyne College.
“By your life and your character, you will give witness to your brothers and sisters in faith that God must be loved above all else, and that it is He whom you serve in others,” concluded Archbishop Prendergast.
Respecting the rules on public gatherings, an outdoor, physically distanced reception followed at the Regis Jesuit Community.