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Midwest Jesuits Welcome 12 New Novices

The 2018 class of new Midwest Jesuit novices

It is with tremendous joy that the Midwest Jesuits introduce the 12 men who entered the USA Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus at the Jesuit Novitiate of St. Alberto Hurtado in St. Paul, Minn., on Saturday, August 18, 2018: Emmanuel Arenas, Evan Armacost, Philip Cooley, Patrick Fisher, Benjamin Gehlhausen, Jeffrey Grdina, Alexander Hale, Kevin Frank Karam, Patrick Mulchrone, Michael Price, Justin Prom, and John Stein.

Emmanuel Arenas, 25, grew up in Park Ridge, Ill., the second of four children. He earned a bachelor's in finance from Marquette University where he was involved in campus ministry, participated in several service trips, and was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He came to know the Jesuits well during this time. After graduating, he worked in investments as a fixed income institutional sales assistant at R.W. Baird. Emmanuel enjoys social time with friends, theology, and golfing. 


Evan Armacost, 22, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in classical studies at Boston University within four years. He served as a lector, extraordinary Eucharistic minister, and altar server at the BU Catholic Center, also volunteering with the Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen. A union voice actor with SAG-AFTRA since 2002, for the past five years Evan has written and directed original musicals for young artists at The Musical Offering in his hometown of Evanston, Ill. When he is not reading or writing (in Ancient Greek, Latin, or English), Evan enjoys running or riding his bike. He follows in the footsteps of his maternal great-uncle, the late Fr. Robert Dietrich SJ, who was a Jesuit of the former Detroit Province for 44 years.

Philip Cooley, 24, earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Xavier University in Cincinnati. While at XU, Phil was involved in Catholic faith-sharing groups and the university’s Center for Faith and Justice. After graduation, Phil spent one year in the financial services industry before responding to the call to the Society of Jesus. Phil enjoys reading, exercising, volunteering, learning languages, and prayerful meditation.


Patrick Fisher, 23, grew up in Omaha where he first encountered the Jesuits while attending Creighton Preparatory High School. He graduated from the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minn. with a bachelor’s in philosophy, mathematics, and Catholic studies. After spending his last semester studying abroad in Rome, he spent a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps serving those facing homelessness in Baltimore. Patrick spends his free time enjoying the symphony, listening to art history podcasts, or playing Settlers of Catan. 

Benjamin Gehlhausen, 31, graduated from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., with degrees in professional flight technology and economics. During his work in public policy, he discovered Eucharistic theology and returned to the Catholic faith. Through living the 12 Step Program, he was amazed to learn about its relationship with Ignatian Spirituality. Identifying with St. Ignatius of Loyola’s self-challenge to become a saint, he left his job as an engine failure analysis technician in rural Indiana for Detroit to serve people facing homelessness at the Pope Francis Center. Ben is a certified commercial pilot, licensed basketball official, and professional musician. He enjoys music, bowling, cards, target-shooting, and hiking in the woods. 

Jeffrey Grdina, 22, is an alumnus of Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and he earned a degree in motion picture theory from Wright State University. During high school Jeff went on his first pilgrimage to Spain, visiting Loyola, Manresa, and other Ignatian sites. In July of 2017, Jeff hiked the Camino De Santiago, during which Jeff responded to God’s call to a Jesuit vocation. Jeff enjoys making films, writing, going to the theater, and spending time with family and friends. 

Alexander Hale, 23, was raised in the Detroit area where he graduated from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School in 2014. He is a graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati where he studied in the Philosophy, Politics, and The Public Honors Program, graduating in 2018, with a focus on the political philosophy of the French Revolution, and the relationship between Church and state. In Cincinnati, he worked in local government as an adviser to various elected officials where he advocated for just public policy for the poor and disadvantaged. Alex enjoys writing, having good conversations, and exploring nature. 

Kevin Karam, 30, was born and raised in Chicago. He graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in business administration/accounting. He earned his CPA and has worked in the financial services industry. While studying abroad in Rome, Kevin first learned about the Jesuits in discussion with Fr. Mark Bosco, SJ over a bowl of gazpacho. He enjoys engaging in conversations about philosophy and the nature of the universe, politics, and history. Kevin also likes listening to music, singing, exploring the world, and tasting new foods.  

Patrick Mulchrone, 25, the oldest of four siblings, grew up in the Chicago area where he attended St. Ignatius College Prep, and came to know the Jesuits. During his application year, he worked as a K-4 teacher at the Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Patrick also has interests in teaching and politics.


Michael Price, 34, graduated from Holy Cross in Notre Dame with a bachelor’s in theology and leadership management. He worked as a leader of a wholesale gift jewelry company and spent a year as donné* at Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. While at Walsh Jesuit, Mike built many relationships through his work in Campus Ministry; programs like Labre, service projects, Kairos retreats, and serving as chaplain to many athletic teams. Mike enjoys watching films, reading and writing, playing and watching sports, working out and traveling. 

Justin Prom, 23, graduated from Marquette University with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. He was active in leading retreats and organizing, maintaining, and prompting Eucharistic adoration on campus. He spent a summer serving as a biomedical engineering technician in Rwanda and he loves moving outside his comfort zone to meet new people and learn new things. He also enjoys camping, canoeing, and anything related to sports or the outdoors.  


John Stein, 24, attended St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio before earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and theology from the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas. He then spent a year and a half as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati at the Athenaeum of Ohio. John spent a semester learning more about the Jesuits while teaching theology at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School. John enjoys playing sports (especially ultimate frisbee), watching his hometown Cincinnati Bengals, reading books, singing, and spending time with friends. 


*Prior to entering the Society, some men are Jesuit donné and spend time living in a Jesuit community and working in a Jesuit ministry to get a sense of what Jesuit life entails.





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Founded in 2000, Charis Ministries reaches those in their 20s and 30s throughout the country, nurturing their faith through retreats based in Ignatian spirituality.