Eleven men joined the ranks of novices of the California and Oregon provinces when they entered The Jesuit Novitiate of the Three Companions in Culver City, Calif., on August 21. Each of the men recently completed his two-week “first probation” which culminated with the Mass of Investiture.
First-year novices focus on prayer, community, and service. They attend daily Mass and prayer times, both communal and personal. They also have classes on Jesuit life, spirituality, and the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus. Each novice makes the 30-day silent retreat of the Spiritual Exercises.
Community service is also a large component of the life of the first-year novices, who perform community service as volunteers in Los Angeles area ministries. Novices are also assigned simple jobs at the Novitiate, and they have opportunities to meet and to visit other Jesuit communities in the area. In the spring, they make a pilgrimage to learn about solidarity with the poor. In the summer, they go to Denver for the study of Jesuit history or to Tijuana for the study of Spanish (alternating years).
The new novices are:
Bachmeier, 25, attended Jesuit High School in Carmichael, Calif., and graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles with a bachelor’s degree in theology. For the past two years, he worked as support staff at a residential facility for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Davis, Calif. Bachmeier’s vocation is grounded in his spiritual formation at Jesuit High and at LMU, and nurtured by the love and support of his family, friends, and the Jesuits. He enjoys playing and watching sports, and reading.
Baker, 33, earned a bachelor’s degree from Carroll College and a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame through the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program. He was first introduced to Catholicism at Carroll during team Masses as a member of the football team, and joined the Catholic Church during his senior year. He has worked as an elementary school teacher, coach, and educational consultant, and returned to Carroll in 2013 as the College’s chief of staffs. He loves the state of Montana, family, friends, and neighbors who have so deeply impacted his life.
Cortese, 31, received a bachelor’s degree in international relations from California State University Chico, and a master’s degree in the same field at Sacramento State University. Throughout his university studies, he worked in campus ministry. For the past three years he has served the youth and young adults of Saint Ignatius Parish and School in Sacramento. These experiences in ministry stirred a deeper desire to serve and love God’s people as a Jesuit. Cortese enjoys traveling the world, cheering on the San Francisco Giants, playing ultimate Frisbee, and eating exotic foods.
Santa Clara, California
Mascarenhas, 29, moved to the United States from Goa, India to attend the University of Minnesota where he received a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. Later, he worked as a design engineer for a semi-conductor equipment company in the Silicon Valley. Mascarenhas was actively involved with the Young Adult Ministry at Saint Martin of Tours Parish in the San Jose diocese. He had attended Jesuit school in India and rediscovered Ignatian spirituality through the Caritas Retreat organized by Christus Ministries in the United States. He enjoys biking and backpacking, and finds God in nature.
San Mateo, California
Marzan, 38, studied history at the University of San Francisco and earned a master’s degree in political sociology at the London School of Economics. He worked in non-profit organizations for more than 10 years, most recently for Mission Hiring Hall, an organization helping people find jobs in San Francisco. An Eastern Orthodox Catholic, Marzan first encountered the Jesuits growing up in the Philippines and discovered Ignatian spirituality at USF.
Saldivar, 40, studied Latin American history and economics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He received his JD from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles in 2005 and has been a member of the State Bar of California since that time. Saldivar has spent the last decade practicing law in Southern California as a civil litigator with an emphasis in commercial real estate and construction law. He credits his Georgetown experience for firing the Jesuit spark within him and inspiring him to ultimately join the Society.
Henry William Perez
Long Beach, California
Perez, 49, grew up in Saint Bernard’s Parish in the Long Beach area. Upon graduation from Saint John Bosco High School, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve while attending Long Beach State, majoring in business management. After working in the printing and advertising industry for most of his career, he decided to pursue his passion for cooking and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu as valedictorian in 2011. Perez has traveled from Japan to Europe and has exercised his culinary skills while living in the West Indies, spreading his love for tacos. Being involved with the Catholic community in Los Angeles, Perez enjoys teaching catechism and singing in the choir. He enjoys family gatherings, nature, art, cooking, snowboarding, and scuba diving.
Yorba Linda, California
Valencia, 30, holds a bachelor’s degree in international business administration with emphases in Spain and Latin America, and has completed graduate coursework for a master’s degree in Spanish literature and linguistics. He has studied abroad in Mexico, Germany, and Switzerland. He has been involved with a Spanish-speaking community in Southern California in the last five years. Valencia is committed to promote vocations via World Youth Day through the diocese of Orange. He is attracted to the Society of Jesus’ mission to the marginalized, particularly ministering to the people in hard-to-reach places of the heart.
An Nguyen Vu
Vu, 34, moved with his family to the United States at the age of 9 from Vietnam. He graduated from Portland State University with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He completed further studies in pre-dentistry and evolution before discerning religious life. He taught Vietnamese in the local parish school and participated in the local diocesan discernment group before applying to the Society of Jesus. His interests include sports, history, travel, and contemplative reflection.
An Hoang Vu
Vu, 23, graduated from the University of California of Irvine with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and educational sciences. He was born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam until his family moved to the United States in 2010. He spent the last five years teaching catechism at his local parish. He discovered Ignatian spirituality from a Catholic faith-sharing group at the university and it changed his life. He enjoys classical music, volleyball, reading, and Ignatian contemplative prayer.
Yanez, 26, graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He was a member of the United States men’s national under-17 soccer team, and played Division I soccer for UCLA. After college, he worked at Wabash College as an assistant soccer coach. Yanez was inspired by Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s conversion after suffering a career-ending injury. He enjoys praying the rosary, playing sports, and weight lifting.