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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. 

 

 

 “Come and join us if, for you, serving Christ is at the core of your life. Join us if you possess broad shoulders, a free spirit, an open and prudent mind, and a heart bigger than the world. Join us if you have a sense of humor and you know how to share a joke... and if, on certain occasions, you are also able to laugh at yourself.”  - Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., former Superior General of the Society of Jesus

 

 

First Year Novices

 

Andrew Carrell


Andrew Carrell
Redmond, Washington

Andrew, 27, holds a bachelor's in criminal justice from Gonzaga University. A Jesuit Volunteer from 2009 to 2010 in campus ministry at the University of Detroit Mercy, Andrew was most recently a program coordinator with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Santa Clara. A memorable pilgrimage for Andrew was traveling with his best friend and a Jesuit from GU to Montserrat, Spain to retrieve a replica of the Black Madonna Statue for the University Chapel at Gonzaga.

 

Joseph Dickan


Joseph Dickan
Long Beach, California

Joseph, 23, earned a bachelor's in neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles. For the past year, he has worked in advancement at St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs, California. During the summer of 2012, he participated in the "Six Weeks a Jesuit" program, tutoring at Washington Jesuit Academy in the nation's capital. Reading the Spiritual Exercises and participating in an ecumenical prayer group, both while in college, were instrumental in his faith development.

 

Martin Hicks


Martin Hicks
Los Angeles, California

Martin, 46, received a bachelor's in social work from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Master of Divinity degree from St. John's Seminary in Camarillo. His diverse work experience includes managing a shelter for runaway teens, serving as a human services representative for FEMA after Hurricane Katrina and, most recently, coordinating outreach and liturgical ministries for St. Eugene's Parish Community in Los Angeles. He volunteered for the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative.

 

Joseph Kraemer


Joseph Kraemer
Richmond, Indiana

Joe, 46, received his bachelor's in English from Hillsdale College in Michigan. He oversaw the Playwrights Program while working as literary manager for The Julliard School's drama division from 1993 to 2008. Later, Joe served as creative director for Estevez Sheen Productions at Warner Bros. and recently worked as an independent writing coach and teacher. His volunteer work includes teaching CCD, helping at a homeless shelter and serving as a big brother. He loves to travel and, at last count, has visited 32 countries.

 

Ryan Mak


Ryan Mak
San Francisco, California

Ryan, 22, graduated from St. Ignatius College Preparatory School in San Francisco and earned his bachelor's in biochemistry and cell biology from the University of California, San Diego. In college, he interned in a hospital's geriatric-psych unit and worked as a lab assistant and undergraduate researcher. He was active with the Newman Center Catholic Community, an experience he termed transformative, and coordinated a comedy show during his senior year.

 

Eric Nguyen


Eric Nguyen
Stockton, California

Eric, 38, was born in Hue City, Vietnam and immigrated with his brother to the U.S. in 1989. After studying biochemistry at the University of California, Davis, Eric worked as an IT specialist for various Silicon Valley firms for 10 years. While a catechist at Most Holy Trinity Parish in San Jose, Eric organized food drives for the homeless. He has participated in service trips to Dolores Mission Parish in East Los Angeles and the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Arizona.

 

Jason Odem


Jason Odem
Seattle, Washington

Jason, 39, earned a bachelor's in history from Seattle Pacific University, a master's in African-Asian history from the University of London, and a master's in Muslim-Christian relations from Georgetown University. For the past seven years, he has served as a teacher and cross-country coach at Bishop Blanchet High School in Seattle, where he helped develop retreat programs. He enjoys travel, music, film and literature.

 

Vicente Perez


Vicente Perez, Jr.
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Appie, 45, was born in Cebu, Philippines. He has a bachelor's in biology from the University of the Philippines, from which he also earned his medical degree. His graduate studies in the U.S. include fellowship training in endocrinology at the University of New Mexico. Before joining a medical practice in Albuquerque, Appie worked as a physician for a medically underserved population in rural New Mexico. He is passionate about classical piano and liturgical music.

 

Alfonso Pizano


Alfonso Pizano, Jr.
Bell Gardens, California

Alfonso, 34, has a bachelor's in English from Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles and a master's in elementary education from Loyola Marymount University. For the past two years, he has taught at a Catholic grade school in Monterey Park. He also volunteered to teach confirmation at Dolores Mission. His work experience includes a 14-year stint at Disneyland, where he piloted the monorail, sailed submarines, hawked souvenirs and danced in the Christmas Fantasy Parade.

 

Michael Tedone


Michael Tedone
Placentia, California

Mike, 26, earned a bachelor's in Catholic theology from Marquette University in Milwaukee and a master's in religious education from Boston College. He served with Jesuit Volunteers International from 2009 to 2011, working at Xavier High School in Chuuk, Micronesia. He credits his entrance into the Society to his time at Marquette and a lengthy discernment culminating with the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises this past year at St. Ignatius Parish in Greater Boston.

 

Simon Zachary


Simon Zachary
Glendale, Arizona

Simon, 29, graduated from Brophy College Prep in Phoenix and earned a bachelor's in business administration from Gonzaga University. Most recently, he worked for Microsoft's advertising division in operations and account management. He was inspired by the sense of humor and desire to succeed of East African refugees while teaching citizenship/ESL classes to them for a 5-year period. Simon said his entry into the Jesuits was a gentle tug spanning from Gonzaga through his corporate career.

 

 

Second Year Novices

 

James Antonio


James Antonio
Seattle, Washington 

James, 25, has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the College of the Holy Cross. Prior to joining the Jesuits, he spent two years in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, first assigned to the community in Nashville, Tennessee, and then in Portland, Oregon, working with Operation Nightwatch, a hospitality center for people on the street. He enjoys yoga, running, and reading poetry. 
 

Andrew Arteaga
 
Andrew Arteaga 
Panorama City, California

Andrew, 22, holds a BA in French and English literature from Seattle University. While at SU, he spent a spring in France honing his language skills and visiting the shrine at Lourdes. He has worked as a tutor, volunteered at a homeless shelter, and served as a collegium assistant for commuter and transfer students at SU. Andrew is a passionate poet in two languages and loves seventeenth-century British literature. 

 

Nick Ballor


Nicholas Ballor
Essexville, Michigan 

Nick, 30, has a BS in chemical engineering from Michigan Technological University and earned his PhD in biochemistry and molecular biophysics from the California Institute of Technology.  Most recently, he worked as a biology post-doctoral fellow on a project in applied microbial ecology at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  His interests include running, hiking, biking, nutrition, Greco-Roman architecture, and studying Hebrew and Koine Greek. 

 

Chris Boitano


Chris Boitano
Tacoma, Washington 

Chris, 23, is a graduate of Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma and a recent graduate of Creighton University, where he studied biology. He was involved in numerous service clubs and trips in college, traveling to the Dominican Republic, El Paso, Mobile, as well as leading a trip to West Virginia. He served as an RA and was instrumental in turning Creighton into a fair trade institution. He is an avid (but no longer competitive) runner.
 

Edward Chow


Edward Chow
San Jose, California 

Edward, 25, a graduate of Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, completed a BA in political economy from the University of California, Berkeley, and has worked as a budget analyst at NASA Ames Research Center.  In college, he studied Mandarin Chinese in Taipei and, since graduation, has facilitated the service, advocacy and justice ministry team for youth ministry with the San Jose Chinese Catholic Community
 

John DePalma


John DePalma
Gainesville, Georgia 

John, 43, originally from Seattle, has been working as a physical therapist since graduating from University of Washington. He has competed as a flatwater kayaker on an international level in Australia, Europe, and Asia. John also has been serving in his parish as a catechist and was a founding member of Paddlers for Christ. In January 2012 he went on the first candidates’ immersion trip to the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, AZ. 

 

Mike Manalastas


Mike Manalastas
Thousand Oaks, California

Mike, 33, has a BA in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and worked as a CPA until taking time off last year to travel extensively, including pilgrimages to the Holy Land and El Camino de Santiago. He was actively involved at St. Ignatius Parish in San Francisco and volunteered as a basketball coach and confirmation teacher at an inner-city school. 
 
 

Yoo Jim Nam


Yoo Jin Nam
Los Angeles, California 

Yoo Jin, 26, completed a BS in biology at the University of California, Irvine.  After working as an English teaching assistant and orientation coordinator for Fulbright Korea, he taught biology at a secondary charter school in Orange County through Teach for America.  Prior to entering, he traveled to Korea and also joined other faculty from his high school accompanying students on a tour of prestigious US universities.
 
 

Eddie Ngo


Eddie Ngo
Coppell, Texas 

Eddie, 37, born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, received his BS degree in biochemistry from the University of Dallas and completed graduate studies at the University of Texas Medical School, Houston.  A family physician since 2009, he has taken part in medical mission trips to Ethiopia and Peru.  Eddie, who has been active in the Christian Life Community, enjoys singing, playing the guitar and composing music. 
 

 

Lucas Sharma


Lucas Sharma
Olympia, Washington 

Lucas, 25, graduated from Gonzaga University with a BA in sociology and economics and more recently from Loyola University Chicago with an MA in sociology. In between his academic studies, Lucas served as a Jesuit Volunteer in Washington, DC. He has volunteered in homeless shelters in the US, as well as in Florence, Italy, while a student. Lucas plays the piano, enjoys hiking, and is passionate about good conversation. 

 

 

For information on other men from around the country who who joined the Society of Jesus this year, check out our national vocations page.

 

If you are interested in the Society of Jesus and would like more information about discerning a vocation, please contact Fr. Boom Martinez, S.J. at vocations@calprov.org. 

 

To make a gift to support the education and training of these novices and other future Jesuit priests and brothers, please click here.