Fr. Sylvester G. Tan, S.J., 38, grew up near Atlanta. The child of a father who lost his first family in Vietnam and a French mother with a concern for social justice, Fr. Tan’s vocation was shaped by the many ways God has worked in his family’s life. After meeting in Paris on St. Sylvester’s Day, Fr. Tan’s parents married in the U.S. and settled in Georgia. As a teenager and young adult, Fr. Tan was active in scouting, earning his Eagle Scout and helping to inaugurate the Venturing program and becoming the first recipient of its Silver Award. He was selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee as a U.S. representative at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic Games youth camp. In 2000, Fr. Tan completed a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in environmental studies at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Awarded a prestigious Watson Fellowship after college, he spent a year studying the changing face of Catholicism in Africa and Asia, staying with Jesuits along the way. When the year was over, Fr. Tan did a two-year spiritual program at the Casa Balthasar and studied philosophy at the Gregorian University in Rome, earning a bachelor’s degree in 2005. Entering the Jesuits in 2006, he worked as a novice with poor children before being missioned to the University of Toronto, where he completed a bachelor’s equivalency in French literature before earning a master’s degree from the Centre for Medieval Studies. Missioned next to Loyola University New Orleans, Fr. Tan worked in campus ministry and taught in the University Honors Program, which named him 2014 Honors Professor of the Year. His formation then took him back to Regis College at the University of Toronto, where Fr. Tan earned a Master of Divinity degree and worked as a deacon with the immigrant community at Our Lady of Lourdes. A highlight of his formation has been bringing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius to people through retreats. After ordination, Fr. Tan will work for a year as associate pastor at St. Francis Xavier College Church in Saint Louis. His first Mass as a priest will be celebrated at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in New Orleans. (Central and Southern Province)
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