Photo courtesy of Father Perry Petrich S.J.
A graduate of Bellarmine Preparatory High School in Tacoma, Washington, Father Perry Petrich S.J. is no stranger to Ignatian education — studying at four Jesuit universities, and gaining work experience at 10 Jesuit schools.
After being ordained as a priest in July, Fr. Petrich is now in his first year working at Jesuit High School Sacramento where he serves as a priest, Theology teacher, and Coordinator of Liturgy.
When searching for a place to work, Fr. Petrich felt Jesuit would be a perfect fit.
“I was working with my superiors to find a good place for [my] first assignment as a priest,” Fr. Petrich said. “There was an opening in campus ministry and theology here —both of those line up with my skill sets and the students and faculty here have a good record [of] helping the newly ordained learn how to be priests.”
It also helped that he was already familiar with Jesuit President Father John McGarry S.J. The pair crossed paths when Fr. Petrich was in his first year of graduate studies at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. While working there as the Rector and Director of Formation, Fr. McGarry mentored Fr. Petrich.
Fr. McGarry is grateful for the addition of Fr. Petrich to the Jesuit faculty and the campus ministry staff.
“Fr. Petrich has many wonderful qualities,” Fr. McGarry said. “First, he is a man of prayer and discernment. He is very smart, articulate, caring, compassionate, dedicated. He has a great sense of humor and is very personable. As a recently ordained priest, he brings enthusiasm to his priestly ministry, especially to his presiding and preaching.”
Ms. Kelly Barnes, who’s involved with the Campus Ministry Team, and now works alongside Fr. Petrich is also thankful to have the newly ordained priest on board.
“Fr. Petrich is full of energy, enthusiasm, and creative ideas,” Ms. Barnes said. “From the first day I met him, Fr. Petrich jumped right in as a terrific member of our Campus Ministry team. Fr. Petrich brings together a sharp intelligence, background in the arts (especially drama), tender spirituality, and a true love for students that will be such a blessing to our whole community! I’m excited for our school community to know him, and especially for the first opportunity for Fr. Petrich to preside at a schoolwide Liturgy.”
Fr. Petrich returns the same level of appreciation to his coworkers.
“I’m grateful to land among amazing colleagues — sharing an office with Mrs. Barnes and Mr. [Paul] LeBeouf who’ve helped me through the transition as well as Ms. [Sara] Brabec, my mentor; Mr. [Andrew] Shahamiri, my partner teacher; and Mrs. [Annie] Crew-Renzo, my department chair,” Fr. Petrich said. “As any student who knows them can attest, that is a group of people who both care for you and will push you to get better at your craft — in my case Zoom teaching and liturgy.”
He also values his students, who’ve impressed him thus far.
“Honest to God it amazes me how students — who’ve hardly been on this campus — come ready to learn and share their energy which is important because that excitement can be tough to come by right now for everyone on faculty and staff working from campus or home,” Fr. Petrich said. “I’m especially impressed by the resilience of the students who persevere through technical difficulties from devices or connectivity issues.”
While Fr. Petrich has enjoyed his time at Jesuit so far, the pandemic has slowed down his ability to get acclimated to his new home, Sacramento.
“I’m sure [this] is true for everyone: this has been the hardest and weirdest year of my career,” Fr. Petrich said. “Moving from the [Oakland] to here during a pandemic has left me a little bit adrift and confused, looking for a port of call. I want to find a way to take ownership of the 916 beyond the pain of trying to become a Kings fan, which was truly miserable during the bubble.”
It’s not surprising that Fr. Petrich has been attempting to join the Kings fanbase, he’s an avid sports fan. According to Fr. McGarry, Fr. Petrich can be heard cheering during Seattle Seahawks games in the TV room of the Jesuit Community.
Whether it’s his passion for Ignatian education, his sense of humor, or his love for sports, it’s clear that Fr. Petrich is a great new addition to the Jesuit community.