Become a Jesuit
Meet Our Novices

The first stage of Jesuit formation, the novitiate is a two-year experience of prayer, community living, and apostolic service as men start their journey in the Society of Jesus. 

 Pray for the novices on the long retreat.

 

First Year Novices

Lawrence Dacanay

Lawrence Dacanay
La Puente, CA

Lawrence, 43 graduated from California State Polytech University in Pomona with a bachelor's degree in Psychology. He worked as a parish Youth Minister, then worked in Campus Ministry at Don Bosco Tech. Afterwards, Lawrence worked as a Theology and Psychology teacher at Bishop Amat Memorial High School which he enjoyed! Lawrence enjoys traveling, eating out, martial arts, coffee, wine, reading, and hanging out with family and friends.

Brett Helbling

Brett Helbling
Coeur D' Alene, Idaho

Brett, 28, met the Jesuits at Gonzaga Prep in Spokane, Washington and attended the University of Portland earning a BBA in accounting. Hoping there was more to life than financial statements and unqualified audit reports, Brett became a professional volunteer in the Peace Corps and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps where he respectively served in Costa Rica and at Dolores Mission Parish in Boyle Height, Los Angeles. Brett enjoys eating (always), running (sometimes) and sharks (never).

 

Brian Hunter

Brian Hunter
Bonney Lake, Washington

Brian, 40, graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with bachelor's degrees in history and political science, and earned a Juris Doctor degree from Northern Illinois University. Brian worked as a prosecutor for several years and has also worked as a Union electrician. Brian enjoys history, listening to a variety of music, and watching sports, particularly the Saint Louis Cardinals.

Travis Newman

Travis Newman
Buckley, Washington

Travis, 37, earned a bachelor's in history/social studies from Western Washington University, and most recently worked as a licensed practical nurse in Buckley, Washington. His first contact with the Jesuits was through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Boston back in 2004-2005. When not singing while passing meds to his patients, Travis volunteers in various roles at his parish, practices piano and explores day hikes near Mount Rainier.

 

Alexander Phan

Alexander Phan
Alhambra, California

Alex, 32, earned a bachelor's in biomedical engineering from the University of California, Irvine and a master's in physician assistant (PA) practice from the University of Southern California. He completed additional training at the Norwalk Hospital/Yale University PA Surgical Residency. Afterward, he practiced as a cardiothoracic surgery PA. He was active in the Vietnamese Christian Life Community, serving in the young adult ministry and training leaders for youth retreats. Alex enjoys cooking, hiking, and camping.

Colin Price

Colin Price
Pasco, Washington

Colin, 25, grew up in Pasco, WA where he attended Tri-Cities Prep Catholic high school. He received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Gonzaga University in 2015 and worked in Spokane as a civil engineer for two years. His desire to become a Jesuit was sparked by a SEEL retreat through St. Aloysius parish, and he is attracted to the Jesuits' commitment to stand with people on the margins. He has traveled to Zambia and Kenya assisting with community development projects and has played in a rock band for five years. He enjoys traveling, cooking, nature, craft beer, and watching Gonzaga basketball.

 

Nicholas Russell

Nicholas Russell
Long Beach, California

Nick, 36, graduated with a bachelor's degree from Arizona State University and a master's degree from CSU, Long Beach. He has spent the last 14 years of his life teaching and coaching competitive speech and debate, first as a graduate assistant and then as a program director. A convert to Catholicism, Nick discovered the Jesuits through a Spiritual Exercises program at a local parish. His passions include reading, running, and learning to play the guitar.


Second Year Novices

Dominic Heesang Chai

Dominic Heesang Chai
Fullerton, California

Dominic, 39, was born in Seoul, and grew up in Southern California. He received his BA from UC Berkeley and PhD from the London School of Economics. He taught International Business Ethics and Strategy at the Universities of Manchester, Seoul National, and London. He also worked as a corporate executive advisor. Recently, Dominic walked the Camino de Santiago, made pilgrimages to Yamaguchi and Loyola, and volunteered at CAFOD. He is a novice chess and tennis player, and oboist.

Frederico G.B. Gianelli

Frederico G.B. Gianelli
San Francisco, California

Frederico, 41, is a Brazilian-Uruguayan. Before entering the Novitiate, he worked at Stanford Medical Center as a Board Certified Chaplain specializing in Palliative Medicine Chaplaincy. He earned an equivalent of a master of divinity from the Facultad de Teologia Monsenor Mariano Soler in Uruguay. As a minor seminarian, he was inspirited by the Jesuits working on social justices ministries. Frederico enjoys being connected with people, long drives on PCH, and fixing church tower clocks.

 

Myles Kelley

Myles Kelley
Dallas, Texas

Myles, 27, attended Jesuit College Preparatory in Dallas, and graduated from Boston College with a bachelor's in Management. While at BC, he was confirmed at Saint Ignatius Church. After graduation, Myles returned to Jesuit Dallas to serve in the Alumni Service Corps. For the last two years, he has pursued a master's in Counseling at Loyola Marymount University, where he also worked in Campus Ministry. Myles enjoys traveling, learning languages, and spending time outdoors.

Chris Chinh Nguyen

Chris Chinh Nguyen
San Jose, California

Chris, 42, earned his BS in biochemistry at UC San Diego and his MSIS at Santa Clara University. He's worked in IT at many startups in the Silicon Valley as well as a Sales System Engineer. He has volunteered as a catechist in the San Jose Vietnamese Community since 1998, working with youths and young adults. He enjoys backpacking, cooking, reading, gardening, and traveling to exotic destinations. He also enjoys the company of new and old friends over a cold pint of beer.

 

Danilo Mendoza Rugama

Danilo Mendoza Rugama
Oakland, California

Danilo, 32, moved to the United States from Nicaragua in the year 2000. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelor's in Psychology. For the last several years, he worked as a librarian at the UC Berkeley and ministered to the Hispanic Young Adults ministry at his parish. Danilo discovered the Ignatian spirituality when he attended the Instituto Hispano of the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara. He enjoys spending time outdoors and reading.

Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas
South Ogden, Utah

Michael, 41, earned a bachelor's in political science at Santa Clara University and a Juris Doctor degree from Boston College Law School. He represented the State of Utah in the prosecution of felonies and misdemeanors as a Deputy District Attorney. He also practiced as a civil litigator with an emphasis in product liability and medical malpractice. Michael enjoys running, praying the rosary, watching sports, and has a devotion to Our Lady.

 

Vincent Truong

Vincent Truong
Los Angeles, California

Vincent, 24, graduated from Washington University in Saint Louis in 2016. There he sang in an a cappella group, directed films and a play and lead retreats. He majored in Psychology. After graduation, he worked as an intern at the Newman Center at Washington University. His hobbies include singing, playing piano, movies, and playing all kinds of games and sports. He also enjoys witty puns and jokes.


Publications

Mission Magazine - Fall 2018

Mission Magazine - Spring 2018

Mission Magazine - Fall 2017


Companions
Summer, 2018

Companions
Fall, 2017

Update
Summer, 2017



Meet the Jesuits in Formation Novices First Studies Regency Theology Special Studies Special Assignment
Want to Become a Jesuit? Contact a Vocation Director


Jesuit Retreat Center of the Sierra
The Jesuit Retreat Center of the Sierra is an adult, youth, and family retreat center in Applegate, Placer County, California, for nonprofit groups of 20-130 (105 guests overnight; +25 additional beds in summer only).