Fordham Alum Set To Enter Priesthood in 2020



Perry Petrich, above, became a Deacon this past October, and is set to be ordained as a priest this June.


“When I got to Fordham in fall of 2003, I was not planning on becoming a Jesuit,” said Perry Petrich, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’07.

Sixteen years later, Petrich was ordained as a deacon on Oct. 19, 2019, and will be ordained as a priest on June 13, 2020. “I had a deepening call to ministry of reconciliation, to bring peace, joy and generosity to God’s people,” Petrich said. 

Catholic deacons provide familial support and teach faith. Deacons can be transitional (like Petrich, working towards priesthood) or full-time. Catholic priests perform sacraments⁠ — such as baptisms, funerals and marriages⁠ — in their parish, or local community.

Petrich entered the Society of Jesus in 2008 and spent six weeks at spiritual boot camp in Portland, Oregon. There, he worked on an American Indian reservation and in a L’Arche community. Only three years later, in 2010, Petrich took the three vows of the Society of Jesus—   poverty, obedience and chastity ⁠— which are taken when entering the religious order.

“The absolute core of Jesuit spirituality is gratitude,” Petrich said. “It’s wonderful to think back to Fordham and feel gratitude for creating friendships through small class sizes.” 

While at Fordham, Petrich studied theater production and theology. “He was always the person you could count on to have a smile on his face,” said Chad McArver, chair of the Theatre and Visual Arts Department. “I was surprised that he knew what he wanted to do so early. He was determined. His mind was made up,” McArver said.

Petrich has fond memories of late nights with the theatre department and 2 a.m. conversations in the McMahon elevators.

After graduating from Fordham, Petrich earned his master’s degree in philosophy at Loyola University Chicago in 2013 and is currently completing a three-year theology program at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University.

Petrich lives in a house with 12 other Jesuits, in a neighborhood of an additional 60, in Berkeley, California. “There’s a real experience of a community, a feeling of loving and being loved,” Petrich said.

The Chicago Jesuit Academy, Brophy College Preparatory and Kino Border Initiatives are just a few of the places that Petrich has taught in his career.

One of Petrich’s many passions is working with immigrant families. Petrich’s mother immigrated from the Philippines to the United States in 1966. “To have the privilege to work with immigrants like my mom has been wonderful; it brings out the best parts in me,” he said.

According to Petrich, Catholic schools like Fordham have a fantastic platform to work with immigrants.

“I was working at Our Lady of Grace Nativity School in San Jose during election night, which consists of mostly mixed-status families,” Petrich said. “It was a terrifying moment. We had perfect attendance the day after the election; families trusted us with their children.”

Developing relationships with immigrant families was very meaningful to Petrich, and an important component of his Jesuit values. “Jesus calls us to be reconcilers and to love everyone. It can never devolve to an us versus them situation; we always have to stand up for those being marginalized,” Petrich said.