Father Joseph A. Koczera, SJ, 35, is a native of Rochester, Mass., and is one of three children of Helen (Davis) and Joseph Koczera. An early interest in politics led him to study government at Georgetown University, where he first began to consider a vocation with the Society of Jesus. He went on to obtain a law degree at the University of Notre Dame, while meeting with a Jesuit spiritual director and continuing to discern his vocation. Father Koczera entered the novitiate in 2004 and, in the two years that followed, worked in refugee resettlement in California and as a social studies teacher at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago.
During his Jesuit formation, Fr. Koczera received a master’s degree in philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx and a Master of Divinity degree at Regis College in Toronto. He also studied German in Austria and Spanish in Peru and Chile. Father Koczera taught philosophy at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and worked as a deacon at St. Elias the Prophet Ukrainian Catholic Church outside Toronto. He has a special interest in Eastern Christianity and has served Byzantine Catholic parishes during his time in New York and Philadelphia. He will earn a Licentiate in Sacred Theology at Regis College in Toronto.
I’m grateful for the gift of encountering Jesus Christ in the Spiritual Exercises and receiving the invitation to follow him as a Jesuit, for the gift of having known many great Jesuits whose good example will make me a better priest, and for the gift of serving and journeying with people from many walks of life, including the refugee families I’ve helped to welcome to North America, the students I taught as a regent at Saint Joseph’s University, and parishioners at the church where I serve in Toronto.
I am also grateful to the benefactors of the Society of Jesus, whose generous support has allowed me to live, study, and work as a Jesuit. They inspire me by their own example: knowing of the contributions that they have made from their own resources to support the formation of Jesuits gives me the desire to be more generous in offering the gift of my own time and abilities. I look forward to sharing those gifts with the people I have been called to serve as a priest.