Through their generosity, I have come to realize that my priesthood is not my own; it belongs to the People of God.
Father Lukas M. Laniauskas, SJ, 31, was born to a Lithuanian-American family in Cleveland, Ohio, where he attended Catholic schools that helped develop his vocation. He and his three siblings were raised by Egle (Giedraitis) and Marius Laniauskas. He graduated from Lake Catholic High School in Mentor, Ohio, and studied at Loyola University Chicago and Loyola Chicago’s Rome Center. During college, Fr. Laniauskas visited several religious orders and discerned the priesthood, but while in Italy, he met the provincial of the Jesuits’ Lithuanian Province, whose question — “Where do you think God’s calling you?” — ultimately led Fr. Laniauskas to join the Society of Jesus in Lithuania. He returned to the United States after completing the novitiate and earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Loyola University Chicago, before serving as chair of the theology department and teaching junior high and high school students at St. John’s Jesuit High School and Academy in Toledo, Ohio.
As a Jesuit, Fr. Laniauskas obtained a Master of Divinity degree through the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, Calif., while also serving as chaplain to the Berkeley Fire Department. He was a deacon at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Oakland, Calif., and has served on the board of trustees for a Lithuanian youth camp and remained an active member of other Lithuanian communities throughout the United States. He will serve as chaplain at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago and pursue a doctorate in ministry.
As I look back at my life as a Jesuit, it has been about Eucharist, meaning thanksgiving, and liturgy, meaning the work of the people.
I am very thankful for the formation I have received from the Society of Jesus, by way of my superiors, brother Jesuits around the world, and all those with whom I have worked in our apostolates. I am also eternally grateful for my family; they have supported me, loved me, and nurtured my vocation since I was a little boy. I am likewise indebted to my friends, colleagues, and all those with whom I’ve had the privilege of working in ministry.
As I stand here today, I look back and recognize the immense generosity and goodness of so many people. Through their generosity, I have come to realize that my priesthood is not my own; it belongs to the People of God. And so it is that I hope to live my life as a priest in the spirit of thanksgiving, always recognizing in the work of the people the presence of Jesus Christ. Eucharist! Liturgy!