More than a teacher

More+than+a+teacher

Soren Peterson '20 | Plank

Fr. Matthew Pyrc, S.J. spends his time at Jesuit High School teaching Theology, giving Mass, facilitating retreats, and supporting students in their extracurricular activities, as well as leading immersion trips to Tijuana, Mexico.

Fr. Pyrc is able to do so much for Jesuit largely because he lives here.

“Living on campus has a lot of advantages,” Fr. Pyrc said. “Everything I need is within a short distance. I really enjoy the energy the students have and find it life giving. When I sit out on our backyard porch and hear the sounds coming from the ballpark and stadium, the sounds are a vibrant life, sounds of good things.”

Fr. Pyrc’s summer trip to Tijuana allows students to immerse themselves in impoverished communities with the task of building homes for the needy. He describes it as a humbling experience.

“The immersion trip is a very humbling and inspiring experience to see that the less fortunate have the same goals we do,” Fr. Pyrc said. “They want to provide for their families, support their country, and they want to be successful too.”

The idea of leading a holy life has always stayed present in his mind, even at a young age.

“I had thought about priesthood since high school,” Fr. Pyrc said. “I was going to join the Franciscans, but I realized it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t until an immersion trip to Africa where I felt a true calling for a holy life and for service to others.”

Before coming to Jesuit, Fr. Pyrc had prior experience working as a campus minister at Seattle University and working with high school dropouts in Spokane, Washington.

“Working with dropouts was a challenge because it was more than just teaching,” Fr. Pyrc said. “Some were homeless, some had transportation problems and some were involved in gangs. It was more than helping to educate them; we were trying to get them to make good life choices and get them on the right path.”

Since arriving at Jesuit in 2014, Father Pyrc has been able to take his experience and pass it on to the students, mainly through teaching Theology and saying Mass.

One of Fr. Pyrc’s favorite things about his job is being a part of the clergy at school masses.

“I love being a part of the school Masses,” Fr. Pyrc said. “When I’m asked to preach I look at the readings for the day and I pay attention to what speaks to me, where do I hear God in that particular set of readings. Then I ask myself what do our boys need to hear? What message does God have for them? From that I craft my homily. I enjoy looking out and seeing everyone’s’ faces.”

The contributions of people like Fr. Pyrc are what allows Jesuit students to experience a well-rounded and eclectic education. Fr. Pyrc is one of many that puts the “Jesuit” in Jesuit High School.