Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
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Two Oregon Province Jesuits among those to be ordained June 7
the Inland Register
(From the May 15, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)
Bishop Blase Cupich will ordain members of the Society of Jesus to the priesthood on Saturday, June 7, at St. Aloysius Church in Spokane. Among them are two members of the Oregon Province of the Society, Jesuits Isidro Lépez and Matthew T. Pyrc.
Isidro Lépez (left), 54, grew up in central Mexico, the oldest of eight children in a devoutly Catholic family.
At the age of 15, Isidro and his father moved to Oregon, hoping to create a better life for their family. Isidro went to work immediately, harvesting fruit as a migrant worker and sending money back to Mexico so the family could be reunited in the United States. Within three years, all 10 members of the family were together in Sunnyside, Wash.; Isidro was still working in the field during the day while taking English classes at night.
When he was 20, Isidro married, and he and his wife became the proud parents of four sons. He earned a high school equivalency degree and started taking community college classes at night while working in school maintenance during the day. His job at the school led to a position working with high-risk young people, and he also worked for two years as an AmeriCorps volunteer.
After 13 years, the marriage of Isidro and his wife was annulled. He became active in his parish, teaching CCD classes and directing a program for the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, and he began to discern a calling that he had first heard as a young man in Mexico: his dual desire to serve God while working for social justice.
In 2004, he entered the Jesuit novitiate in Oregon and spent the next several years studying at Jesuit universities in the U.S. and working at St. Andrew Nativity School in Portland, Ore.
In 2010, he was missioned to the Pontifica Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, where he is earning a Licentiate in Sacred Theology and serving as a deacon at St. Alberto Hurtado Parish in Colombia.
Following ordination, he hopes to engage in pastoral work with the Latino community.
Matthew T. Pyrc (left), 50, grew up in Flint, Mich., one of eight siblings. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio in 1986 and entered the Franciscan order directly after graduation.
For five years, Matthew went through formation with the Franciscans, studying philosophy and earning a Master of Divinity degree from Regis College at the University of Toronto. In 1991, he left the Franciscans, although his desire to be engaged in spiritually-fulfilling work was as strong as ever. He returned to Michigan, where he took a job as a family services worker for four years with Boysville, a Catholic-run group home for troubled youth.
Seeking a change, Matthew then moved to Washington State, where he worked for the next 10 years with the Spokane Public School System on a dropout prevention program for under-served youth. During this time, he joined St. Aloysius Parish in Spokane, where he came to know the Jesuits and became involved in social justice ministry and Ignatian spirituality.
During a life-changing trip to Africa in 2004, Matthew realized that even though he was doing rewarding work with at-risk youth, he wanted to do something more with his life. After discerning that he was being called to the Society of Jesus, he entered the Jesuits in 2006.
He spent two years at the novitiate in Portland, Ore., and then was missioned to the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, Calif., where he earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology while also studying culture and Spanish for a year in Colombia at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.
Missioned next to Seattle University for regency, Matthew has worked in campus ministry for three years while serving as a deacon at the Seattle University chapel.
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