Headline: Border ordinations: US West Jesuits take rite to a small church near Mexico. This is what was “out of the ordinary” for the West Province Jesuit’s ordination – San Ysidro, California. Although Jesuit ordinations are frequently rather grand, there is nothing majestic about Our Lady of Mount Carmel, site of the June 9, 2018 ordination. It’s a small diocesan Parish in San Ysidro, California within walking distance to the U.S.-Mexican border. Why did Jesuit Fr. Scott Santarosa, head of the newly combined Oregon and California provinces chose this location?
The West Province ordination class consisted of five ordinants; three immigrants and two who have worked with immigrants. As ordination day approached, Elias Puentes asked if the ordaining bishop might be someone who could speak to the immigrant experience. Roberto Carlos Duran faced complications renewing his Visa and was forced to return to El Salvador to be ordained. Duran’s complex immigration situation influenced Fr. Santarosa to hold the Ordination Mass in the border location. Commenting on his decision, Santarosa stated: “It’s not like he’s [Duran] struggling to come across the border. He’s in the country.” “But even so, he’s not at all in a necessarily secure place. So all the more reason for us to go to a place that symbolizes the precarity of immigrants in this country.”
Thus, on Saturday, June 9, 2018, as family and friends watched, the Ordination Mass for Elias Puentes, J.T. Tanner, Alejandro Báez and Thomas Flowers was celebrated at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a parish with a welcoming spirit, whose Parishioners come from both sides of the border.
To review the National Catholic Reporter article on the border ordination, please click here.