Fr. Juan Carlos Rivera Castro, SJ
Fr. Juan Carlos Rivera Castro, SJ

Jesuit Father Juan Carlos Rivera Castro, 31, was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His mother and grandmother remember Rivera saying he wanted to be a priest when he was barely more than a toddler. That thought, however, was far from his mind for most of his 12 years of Catholic education at the Colegio María Auxiliadora in Carolina, Puerto Rico. When he was a senior in high school, though, Fr. Rivera began actively discerning his vocation, attending Mass daily, meeting with a diocesan spiritual director and contacting religious orders. Although he was attracted to the Jesuits and their unique spirituality, he decided to put his discernment on hold after his 2002 high school graduation so he could study art at Escuela de Artes Plásticas in San Juan. When he wasn’t studying, Fr. Rivera was active in his parish and loved serving on the altar because it brought him closer to Jesus. With the help of his pastor, Fr. Rivera came to the decision that had long been in his heart: God was calling him to be a Jesuit. He entered the novitiate in the Dominican Republic, and his time as a novice included working at Puerto Rico’s Jesuit high school, Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola. Fr. Rivera was next missioned to Spain to study philosophy, and from 2006 to 2010, he attended the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, where he earned a licentiate degree. Missioned back to Puerto Rico, Fr. Rivera taught religion and philosophy for two years at the Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola and also served as the moderator of the school’s philosophy club. In 2012, Fr. Rivera was missioned to the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry where he earned a Master of Divinity degree and a master’s degree in theology. Ordained a deacon in October 2015, he served at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish in Newton, Massachusetts. His first Mass as a Jesuit priest was celebrated with his fellow Jesuits at St. Francis Xavier College Church on the campus of Saint Louis University, where he serves as associate pastor after ordination. He also celebrated Masses of Thanksgiving in his home parish of Santo Cristo de los Milagros and at the Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola. (Central and Southern Province)

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Ignatian Spirituality Center
The Ignatian Spirituality Center of Kansas City gives, fosters, and witnesses to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola by giving the Spiritual Exercises in various forms, offering ongoing formation in Ignatian spirituality and discernment, and training prayer guides to give the Spiritual Exercises.