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2024 Ordinands

Brendan W. Gottschall, SJ

Province: USA East

Hometown: Margate, New Jersey

Highlights of Jesuit Formation:

  1. Worked for almost a year as a researcher and work-study coordinator for international students studying in Beijing.
  2. Taught sixth-grade Latin and Greek at Loyola Blakefield in Towson, Maryland.
  3. Spent a summer working at the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University New Orleans where he helped produce reports on economic inequality in the Gulf South.

Post-Ordination:
Will serve as assistant director and promoter of vocations for the Jesuit USA East Province.

Brendan baptizes his niece Alora, held by his brother Patrick.

Education:
Bachelor’s degree, economics, Georgetown University; Master’s degree, philosophy, Fordham University; Master of Divinity and Licentiate of Sacred Theology, Boston College Clough School of Theology and Ministry

Brendan, serving as the deacon of the altar at his diaconate ordination, incenses the people as a holy offering to God.

Biography:
Brendan Gottschall, SJ, entered the Society of Jesus in 2014 at the Novitiate of Saint Andrew Hall in Syracuse, New York. Originally from South Jersey, Brendan grew up in a committed Catholic family and felt a call to be a priest from a young age. He attended Catholic schools for most of his life including St. Augustine Prep and Georgetown University. It was in Catholic schools that Brendan encountered vowed religious; first religious sisters, then Augustinians and Jesuits, all of whom have inspired his vocation. After graduating college with a bachelor’s degree in economics, with minors in government and Chinese, he worked for two years in economic consulting before entering the Jesuits. After two years of novitiate, including a five-month experiment at Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine, he took vows in 2016 and was missioned to study philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx, New York. Having studied Mandarin Chinese in undergrad, Brendan began his regency in Beijing, China, where he worked for almost a year. He then taught middle and high school classics, theology, and economics at Loyola Blakefield in Baltimore for two years. For the last three years, Brendan studied theology at the Boston College Clough School of Theology and Ministry, earning a Master of Divinity and a Licentiate of Sacred Theology. He had a graced experience of the church in the community of women and men who study, teach and work there. Brendan will serve as assistant director and promoter of vocations for the Jesuit USA East Province after ordination.

Brendan teaching 6th graders in the chapel at Loyola Blakefield
During the pandemic, while Brendan was in Baltimore, he volunteered to cook on Thanksgiving so he also cooked a duck as his family usually does.

What are three words a family member or fellow Jesuit would use to describe you? Do you agree with his or her selections?
My mother called me “generous, witty and intelligent.” I agree with these selections insofar as they are attributes I strive to cultivate. God has greatly blessed me with many gifts, especially family and friends. My hope is that I can reflect some of the goodness I have received into the lives of others.

Who’s your favorite saint, and why?
My favorite saint is St. Mary Zhu Wu, a Chinese martyr who I learned about in China (and even met her granddaughter). The Boxer rebels had surrounded a church full of believers, and as the priest was giving general absolution to all present, they broke in, but Mary stood in front of the priest so that he could finish the formula. She was shot. All of those in the church ended as martyrs, but Mary’s heroism is particularly notable.

Brendan holds a photo of Tom Elitz, SJ, to support him as he ran the Boston Marathon in 2023.

What do you love about the Society of Jesus?
I love the community and fraternity I have experienced in the Society of Jesus. Since the novitiate, I have been blessed to live among some of the holiest and most enjoyable people, both brother Jesuits and friends along the way. Living among people who are also committed to serving the Lord and have had similar experiences through formation has enabled me to have wonderful and fruitful friendships. Our vows also free us to have healthy intimate relationships with all sorts of people.

Tell your vocation story. One catch: You must use only six words.
God invited me to follow Jesus.