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School News | Friday, June 07, 2024

Archbishop Thomas Wenski ordains Jesuit Father Michael Anthony Martínez

Over 700 people attend Mass held at campus of his alma mater, Belen

Archbishop Thomas Wenski and the congregation pray the Litany of the Saints as Deacon Michael Anthony Martínez, who is going to be ordained to the priesthood, lies prostrate in the sanctuary of Our Lady of Belen Chapel in Miami, June 1, 2024.



Archbishop Thomas Wenksi ordained Michael Anthony Martinez, S.J., to the priesthood on June 1, 2024, at the Our Lady of Belen Chapel.

Photographer: Teresa Martinez

Archbishop Thomas Wenski and the congregation pray the Litany of the Saints as Deacon Michael Anthony Martínez, who is going to be ordained to the priesthood, lies prostrate in the sanctuary of Our Lady of Belen Chapel in Miami, June 1, 2024. Archbishop Thomas Wenksi ordained Michael Anthony Martinez, S.J., to the priesthood on June 1, 2024, at the Our Lady of Belen Chapel.

MIAMI | Archbishop Thomas Wenski ordained Michael Anthony Martínez, a Belen Jesuit Preparatory School alumnus, to the priesthood June 1, 2024, at the Our Lady of Belen Chapel in Miami.

The ordination Mass was concelebrated by Jesuit Father Martin Lenk, provincial of the Caribbean Province, along with other Jesuits and priests from the Archdiocese of Miami.

Archbishop Wenski ordained Father Martínez through the laying of hands and the prayer of ordination. All priest concelebrants also offered their prayers, symbolically passing down their priestly ministry.

“This ordination, the first one to take place in Our Lady of Belen Chapel, brings — I dare say — even greater joy to the Jesuit community and to the Belen community,” said Archbishop Wenski during his homily.

Archbishop Wenski lays hands on Deacon Michael Anthony Martínez, invoking the Holy Spirit and ordaining him a priest for the Jesuit Order, June 1, 2024, at Our Lady of Belen Chapel in Miami.

Photographer: Teresa Martinez

Archbishop Wenski lays hands on Deacon Michael Anthony Martínez, invoking the Holy Spirit and ordaining him a priest for the Jesuit Order, June 1, 2024, at Our Lady of Belen Chapel in Miami.

Jesuit Father Guillermo “Willie” García-Tuñón, a former teacher and spiritual counselor to Father Martínez, played a significant role in the ceremony. He helped Father Martínez as he vested for the first time as a priest, removing the stole of the diaconate and replacing it with the stole and chasuble of Christ’s priesthood. The stole, a symbol of being sent out to evangelize, hangs over a priest's neck, worn beneath the larger vestment or chasuble, a symbol of the love of the Church, which embraces and covers his entire life.

“The rite of Holy Orders is a beautiful ceremony in our Church,” said Father García-Tuñón. “If you ask me, at a time when vocations to the priesthood and religious life are so hard to come by, it is the ordination of one of our alumni that presents the greatest body of evidence. I’m very proud of Father Mike and look forward to witnessing his priestly ministry.”

Father Martínez, 33, was born and raised in Miami and graduated from Belen Preparatory School in 2009. He graduated from Fordham University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Philosophy. Soon after, he entered the Society of Jesus and began his formation as a Jesuit in the novitiate in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.

In 2015, he professed first vows. Next, he continued his Jesuit formation by completing his first studies while attending Loyola University Chicago, graduating in 2018 with two master's: in Communications and Social Philosophy. After graduating, he began his regency at Belen Jesuit, where he taught theology and worked in the current Office of Mission and Formation for two years.

Newly-ordained Father Michael Anthony Martínez takes part in the celebration of Mass alongside Archbishop Thomas Wenski, June 1, 2024, at Our Lady of Belen Chapel in Miami.

Photographer: Teresa Martinez

Newly-ordained Father Michael Anthony Martínez takes part in the celebration of Mass alongside Archbishop Thomas Wenski, June 1, 2024, at Our Lady of Belen Chapel in Miami.

“I first heard of Belen from my Jesuit grand-uncle Father Gerardo Freire (ordained in Colegio de Belén, Havana, in 1954), who told my mother, I needed to attend Belen. My own journey in Jesuit education began in the sixth grade and continued through college at Fordham University in the Bronx,” said Father Martínez. “I also studied abroad at the Jesuit University of San Salvador, El Salvador, in 2012, where I felt confirmed in my desire to join the Jesuits in Latin America. At the age of 22, and after many years of challenging and fruitful discernment, I entered the Society of Jesus. My Jesuit education profoundly shaped the way I saw and experienced the world and my mission in it,” he added.

Having served as a deacon ministering to the people of Cuba, Father Martínez now takes on a new role. He returns to Havana as a priest, ready to continue his serve the people of God anywhere and everywhere he is sent.

The Society of Jesus is both a missionary and a teaching Roman Catholic religious order since Pope Paul III founded it at the request of Saint Ignatius of Loyola in 1540. The motto of the Society, "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam," indicates its goal to help all men and women live according to Christ's example of love and service. The Jesuits dedicated themselves to spreading the Gospel in mission lands and to the apostolate of education very early in their history.

The Jesuits founded Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in 1854 in Havana, Cuba. In 1961, when the new political regime confiscated Belen and all private schools, the school was re-established in Miami that same year and has grown over the last five decades. The enrollment is nearly 1,400 male students in grades 6 to 12 and over 7,500 alumni. 

Teresa Martínez is director of Communications at Belen Jesuit Prep in Miami.

After the Mass, newly ordained Jesuit Father Michael Anthony Martínez poses with Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Jesuits, and priests from the Archdiocese of Miami at the main entrance to Our Lady of Belen Chapel in Miami, June 1, 2024.

Photographer: Teresa Martinez

After the Mass, newly ordained Jesuit Father Michael Anthony Martínez poses with Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Jesuits, and priests from the Archdiocese of Miami at the main entrance to Our Lady of Belen Chapel in Miami, June 1, 2024.


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