Father Andrij Hlabse, SJ was ordained a priest on July 15 after nearly a decade of formation in the Society of Jesus, also called the Jesuits.
He is a Ukrainian Greek Catholic and the ordination was conducted according to the Byzantine Rite at St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Parma.
“Thanks, in the first place, are owed to God – who made me, called me, and, above all, sustained me with his faithful love through the various stages of our lengthy formation,” Father Hlabse said. “God has been utterly faithful to the trust I have placed in him walking this path on which he called me.”
He grew up in Brecksville and his family attended St. Josaphat and St. Basil the Great in Brecksville. He is a graduate of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, where he first began to discern a vocation to the priesthood. Father Hlabse later attended the University of Notre Dame and earned a bachelor’s degree in music performance as a jazz saxophonist and in romance languages and literature. He performed regularly as a professional musician during college and was involved in liturgical ministries at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on campus. He also assisted with liturgical music at Notre Dame’s Log Chapel.
In 2006, Father Hlabse returned to St. Ignatius as part of the Alumni Discernment and Volunteer Program, working in Christian service, campus ministry and the jazz and liturgical music programs. The next year, he entered the Jesuits as a novice.
“My heartfelt thanks go to my family, my first teachers in the faith, and to my Jesuit formators who helped me to learn the Jesuit way of life,” Father Hlabse said. “I also give thanks to our benefactors who made possible the various studies and experiences that will enable me to live my priesthood in a truly Jesuit way.”
He spent two years in the novitiate in Berkeley, Michigan; earned a master’s degree in philosophical resources from Fordham University in New York; spent three years teaching Spanish and religion at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago; and earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. While in Rome, Father Hlabse served as director of the choir of the International College of the Gesù at the Church of the Gesù.
“Among the chief blessings of the Jesuit vocation is that I will spend my life helping others to recognize and live God’s call through sacramental ministry, intellectual research, and spiritual direction,” he said. “Thanks be to God that I am blessed not only to live this call myself but to help others do the same.”
Father Hlabse is returning to Rome to begin a licentiate in patristic theology at the Pontifical Oriental Institute. He was one of five Midwest Jesuits who were ordained this year and one of 27 from the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.