Father Paddy Gilger, SJ, is joyfully surprised to be a Jesuit priest.
“At one time, I thought I would be a doctor. That is, if professional baseball player didn’t work out,” he laughs. “But God provided me with a series of ‘graced coincidences’ that led to this amazing life.”
Father Gilger’s grace-filled journey included earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Creighton University.
“I take it as a gift that my mom convinced me to go to Creighton,” he says. “I found a setting that nurtures rigorous thinking, a deep relationship with God, and a faith that inspires action.”
This combination of spiritual and intellectual pursuits, along with a passion for social justice, led Fr. Gilger to join the Jesuits in 2002. During his formation, he taught at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, lived and worked at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, studied philosophy at Loyola University Chicago, and earned a Master of Divinity degree at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in California.
While at Loyola, he and two other young Jesuits spent a lot of time discussing the ways their vocations help them “understand events in a world with so many voices.
“But we heard from many of our lay peers that, while they desired to live more closely with God and make the Church part of their lives, they weren’t finding a lot of resources speaking ‘their language,’” he recalls. “So we set out to create an online space where thinking, spirituality, action, and fun are combined in a way that could help people apply some of the gifts Jesuit formation provides to better understand their lives and contemporary society through a faith-filled lens.”
"...the goal of being a priest is to help people connect with the living God..."
The result was The Jesuit Post (thejesuitpost.org). “It is a website about Jesus, politics, and pop culture,” says Fr. Gilger. “Our goal is to help readers think about God and the Church a little differently, a little more deeply, a little more often.”
|| Fr. Eric Sundrup, SJ, and Fr. Paddy Gilger, SJ, working together at The Jesuit Post
his ordination in 2013, Fr. Gilger served as a sociology instructor and
associate pastor of St. John’s Parish at Creighton University, while
continuing as The Jesuit Post’s editor-in-chief through January
2014. He has since returned to graduate school, studying sociology at
The New School in New York City, and serving as a spiritual director and
His current studies — at the intersection of Church, culture, and media — tie into his vocation.
live in a world of many voices, and the goal of being a priest is to
help people connect with the living God — the one they already know and
who is always more — who will change and sustain them, and nurture their
communities of faith and practice,” he explains. “I’m exploring how
people create and use the tools that give them access to God in our
secular age, and the contexts that support belief in contemporary
Ultimately, Fr. Gilger hopes his pursuits in this
field and as a Jesuit help others see and positively respond to their
own graced coincidences. “God is active in the world in so many ways,”
he says. “We only need to be open to the many opportunities we encounter
to answer the call of grace.”
Men like Fr. Patrick "Paddy" Gilger, SJ,
dedicate their lives to the works of the Church. Only with your prayers and support can they bring God’s love to the world. Please consider giving today.
"For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them." — Matthew 18:20
Saint Ignatius and a small group of his companions founded the Society of Jesus — the Jesuits — in 1540 to serve ad maiorem Dei gloriam
, “for the greater glory of God.”
From the beginning, this “company of Jesus” has worked together with lay women and men. The root of the word company
refers to people who shared bread — an ancient symbol of life and essential part of the Eucharist.
Company encompasses ministry, mission, and community. The Jesuit company includes students and alumni, parishioners and retreatants, and people like you.
With your prayerful support, our Circle of Companions
in Christ finds God in all things and serves where the need is greatest.
Saint Ignatius was inspired
when he began teaching his students exercises to help them grow closer to God. His example was the beginning of the Jesuits.
Whether educating students,
serving the poor, or sharing the depth of God’s love, the Society of Jesus works tirelessly in Christ’s name.
The Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin Provinces
are approaching a much-anticipated unification, creating a Midwest Province
Jesuits know that experiencing Christ’s love
is a gift to be shared. The new province will allow them to better serve those in need in our communities.
You can help the Jesuits through this transition with a gift of your own.