Province: USA Central and Southern
Birthday: February 2, 1985
Hometown: Tyler, Texas
Associate degree, general education, Tyler Junior College
Bachelor’s degree, philosophy, Saint Louis University
Master of Divinity, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
Highlights of Jesuit Formation:
Did pastoral work in Belize as a novice
Taught fine arts and theology at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas
Directed the RCIA program at Saint Mary Magdalen Church in Berkeley, California
Will serve as parochial vicar at St. Ignatius Loyola Parish in Denver
Jonathan M. Harmon, SJ, was born in Tyler, Texas. His family attended Immaculate Conception, the cathedral parish, for many years and then became one of the first families to help start a new parish in the small city of Whitehouse. Jonathan did not meet the Jesuits until after graduating from Whitehouse High School when he was studying graphic design at Tyler Junior College. During these years Jonathan worked at St. Mary Magdalene parish in Flint, Texas, teaching middle school catechism. In 2008, Jonathan entered the Society of Jesus, and as a Jesuit novice, served in many ministries and locations including pastoral work on the Texas/Mexico border, L’Arche Mobile, and in Belize, Central America. After professing first vows he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he was missioned to study philosophy. While at Saint Louis University, Jonathan was involved with campus ministry and led a CLC group. After first studies, Jonathan went to Dallas Jesuit College Prep for his regency assignment. There he taught in both the fine arts and theology departments and helped with campus ministry in his third year. Ordained a deacon in October of 2018, Jonathan has been finishing up his theology studies in Berkeley, California, where he has been working at a local parish, directing the RCIA program. (USA Central and Southern Province)
Jonathan (third from left) at the San Francisco March for Life with fellow Jesuits. Left to right: Fr. Javier Diaz, SJ; Justin Claravall, SJ; Jonathan; Joshua Peters, SJ; Fr. David Paternostro, SJ; and Fr. Kyle Shinseki, SJ.
What is one hobby you’ve cultivated as a Jesuit and why is it important
During regency I was able to re-cultivate my passion for art. Before entering the Jesuits I did not think that my background in graphic design and art would be of use. Since regency I have been able to use my art to enhance my own prayer, and I have painted many images of Jesus and Our Lady, as well as Pope Francis. One of the first paintings that I did as a Jesuit is currently hanging in the Jesuit Novitiate in Grand Coteau, Louisiana. This “hobby” has developed over the years into something that I hope to use in future ministry as a tool for evangelization.
How has your spirituality changed since entering the Society?
My spirituality has changed drastically since entering the Society of Jesus. Growing up and going to public school with the closest Jesuit community over 100 miles away meant that I didn’t have any contact with the Society or its spirituality. Before entering I had no idea that my imagination could be such a powerful tool in prayer, that I could place myself into a scene from the life of Jesus to truly get to know him more deeply. This spirituality has been one of the most meaningful elements of my Jesuit life, and it is something that I am constantly at work developing and coming to understand each time I pray.
Jonathan (left) at the Mayan Ruins in Belize with Fr. Ronny O’Dwyer, SJ, (center) and Louie Hotop, SJ.
What is your favorite book, movie, music, or TV show
you’ve encountered since entering the Society and why do you love it?
A controversial pick, but my favorite movie right now is “Batman v. Superman.” I think this movie does a phenomenal job depicting what true conversion looks like. The beginning of the movie has both main characters struggling with their own identity and how they fit into the larger cultural context. The movie ends when they both realized that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from because we are bonded together by something much deeper — they realized they are part of one family. I love this movie because it reminds me of our Jesuit and Christian vocation and how, as St. Paul says, we are many parts but one body.
What do you love about the Society of Jesus?
One thing that I truly love about the Society is the immense diversity that each individual brings. Many Jesuits are scholars or experts in their fields which extends, not only in theology or philosophy, but in the sciences and arts as well. Many of us are doctors and scientists and artists, writers and actors. I think the Society of Jesus recognizes that it is through all of these pathways that our evangelization can reach the largest population and culture.