Richard J. Fichtinger, S.J., 35, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. He attended Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis and converted to Catholicism during his senior year while a parishioner at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church. In 2004, Fichtinger received a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. He first learned about the Jesuits during a college course on social justice, but the idea to join the Society would not manifest itself until later. Following college, Fichtinger worked for two years as a youth and family counselor with an organization that works to solve conflicts in young adults and families. In May 2005, he began to research vocations online and was drawn to the Jesuits because of their emphasis on education, parish ministry and working with people at the margins. Entering in 2006, Fichtinger was sent to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota as a novice and did youth parish ministry and elementary and middle school counseling. He was next missioned to study philosophy at Loyola University Chicago and then headed to the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, where he served as a school counselor, coached football and taught theology. Fichtinger traveled to MAGIS and World Youth Day in Brazil in the summer of 2013 and in 2014, enrolled at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California, earning both a Master of Divinity degree and a Master of Theology degree. Ordained a deacon in October 2016, he ministered at the Newman Hall-Holy Spirit Parish at the University of California, Berkeley, preaching and helping with Bible study, sacramental preparation and retreats. He currently serves on the board of Loyola High School in Detroit. After ordination, Fichtinger will be assigned to Saint Thomas More Catholic Community in St. Paul for one year. His first Masses as a priest will be celebrated at the Church of the Gesu in Milwaukee and Saint Thomas More. (Wisconsin Province)
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