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Jesuit leader has soft spot for city

| Saturday, May 11, 2013, 7:34 p.m.
Submitted
The Rev. Timothy Kesicki, 50, of Erie has been named president of the Jesuit Conference of the United States, which oversees the activities of some 2,800 Jesuit priests and religious brothers in the United States.

Life as a priest in the Jesuit order gave the Rev. Timothy Kesicki the chance to experience “the larger world” outside his hometown of Erie.

But the new president of the Jesuit Conference of the United States says he still is deeply connected to Western Pennsylvania.

“My parents live in Shadyside and I love coming home to visit,” said Kesicki, 50, who said he is traveling there Sunday to celebrate Mother's Day with his parents, Robert and Carmella Kesicki. “I still get a thrill when I come through the Fort Pitt Tunnels, especially at night, and seeing that glittering skyline. Pittsburgh is so much a part of me.”

As president of the Jesuit Conference, which is headquartered in Washington, Kesicki will be responsible for coordinating the activities of about 2,800 members of the Society of Jesus.

Kesicki said his latest assignment “comes at a very exciting time for the church and the Society of Jesus here in the U.S. and around the world.”

“Clearly, the election of Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope in history, has highlighted the Jesuit vocation,” Kesicki said. “My hope is that since the pope is one of us, he will give us a challenging mission and that I will be able to play a role in helping to carry it out with renewed zeal and commitment to serving in Christ's name here and around the world.”

Kesicki is scheduled to lead a spiritual retreat for priests in June at St. Paul Seminary in Crafton.

Since being ordained in 1994, Kesicki has served with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Adjumani, Uganda, and worked in U.S. cities including Detroit, Cleveland, New York and Chicago, where he serves as the provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus.

Founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius Loyola, the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, is the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church.

Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or tlarussa@tribweb.com.

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