WASHINGTON — The priest who heads the Chicago-Detroit province of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki, has been appointed president of the Jesuit Conference of the United States. He will take the post Aug. 1, 2014.
Fr. Kesicki, 50, and a native of Erie, Pa., has been head of the combined Chicago-Detroit province since its creation in 2011. Before that, he was provincial of the Detroit Province beginning in 2008 and paired that with the post of Chicago provincial in 2009.
In a statement issued by the Jesuit Conference, Fr. Kesicki said the assignment comes at an exciting time for the church and the Jesuits.
"Clearly, the election of Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope in history, has highlighted the Jesuit vocation," he said. "I look forward to helping the society continue its mission with a renewed zeal, strategic use of our resources, and commitment to serving in Christ's name here and around the world."
His appointment by Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, superior general of the Jesuits worldwide, was announced May 10 by the Washington-based conference.
Fr. Kesicki first became acquainted with the Jesuits as an undergraduate at John Carroll University in Ohio, as he pursued a degree in political science. He studied for the Jesuits at Loyola University Chicago and the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University in California. He was ordained in 1994 and was assigned to work with Jesuit Refugee Service in Adjumani, Uganda.
Much of his work has been as an educator in Jesuit secondary schools in Detroit, as a theology teacher at Loyola High School, and in Cleveland, as president of St. Ignatius High School.
As president of the conference, Fr. Kesicki will succeed Fr. Thomas H. Smolich, who has held the post since 2006. He called his successor "a dynamic leader whose wide range of experience … will serve him well."
The Jesuit Conference in the U.S. includes 28 colleges and universities, 59 high schools and 16 middle schools run by the order. Jesuits also minister in parishes, retreat houses, prisons, hospitals, nursing homes and in the military.