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5/17/2014 11:02:00 AM
Two Jesuits to be ordained for Oregon Province
Isidro Lépez
Isidro Lépez

Matthew Pyrc
Matthew Pyrc

Two men will be ordained next month for the Oregon Province of Jesuits. Ordination for Isidro Lépez and Matthew Perc is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, June 7, at St. Aloysius Church in Spokane, Wash.    

Lépez, 54, grew up in central Mexico, the oldest of eight children in a devoutly Catholic family. At 15, he and his father moved to Oregon, hoping to create a better life for their family. Young Isidro went to work immediately, harvesting fruit as a migrant worker and sending money back to Mexico so the family could be reunited in the United States.

Within three years, all 10 members of the family were together in Sunnyside, Wash., and Isidro was still working in the field during the day while taking English classes at night. When he was 20, he married, and he and his wife became the proud parents of four sons. The years flew by as Lépez earned a high school equivalency degree and started taking community college classes at night while working in school maintenance during the day. His job at the school led to a position working with high-risk young people, and he also worked for two years as an AmeriCorps volunteer.

After 13 years, his marriage was annulled. Lépez became active in his parish, teaching CCD classes and directing a program for the Spiritual Exercises, and he began to discern a calling that he had first heard as a young man in Mexico: his dual desire to serve God while working for social justice.

In 2004, he entered the Jesuit novitiate in Oregon and spent the next several years studying at Jesuit universities in the U.S. and working at St. Andrew Nativity School in Northeast Portland. In 2010, he was sent to the Pontifica Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, where he is earning a Licentiate in Sacred Theology and serving as a deacon at St. Alberto Hurtado Parish. Following ordination, Lépez hopes to engage in pastoral work with the Latino community.  

Pyrc, 50, grew up in Flint, Mich., one of eight siblings. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio in 1986 and entered the Franciscan order directly after graduation. For five years, Pyrc went through formation with the Franciscans, studying philosophy and earning a Master of Divinity degree from Regis College at the University of Toronto. In 1991, he left the Franciscans, although his desire to be engaged in spiritually-fulfilling work was as strong as ever. He returned to Michigan, where he took a job as a family services worker for four years with Boysville, a Catholic-run group home for troubled youth.

Pyrc then moved to Washington State,where he worked for the next 10 years with the Spokane Public School System on a dropout prevention program. He joined St. Aloysius Parish in Spokane, where he came to know the Jesuits and became involved in social justice ministry and Ignatian spirituality.

During a trip to Africa in 2004, Pyrc realized that even though he was doing rewarding work with at-risk youth, he wanted to do something more with his life. Realizing that he was being called to the Society of Jesus, he entered the Jesuits in 2006. After two years at the novitiate in Portland he was sent to the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, Calif., where he earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology while also studying culture and Spanish for a year in Colombia at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. Sent next to Seattle University for regency, Pyrc has worked in campus ministry for three years while serving as a deacon at the Seattle University chapel.

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