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Father Dan Sullivan celebrates 50 years in Society of Jesus

Photo by Colin Prenger '11 - Father Dan Sullivan gives the homily during the Jesuit Heritage Mass Oct. 15.

By Colin M. Prenger ’11

If someone were to mention the name Father Sullivan, would you be able to put this name with a face?

Even though he has been at St. Francis Xavier church and part of the Brophy Jesuit community since 2003, his work with Brophy has been largely out of student’s eyes.

In 1960, Fr. Daniel Sullivan graduated from St. Ignatius College Prep in California (one year ahead of Fr. Eddie Reese, S.J.) and entered the Society of Jesus that same year.

Throughout his college years and family life, there was always a Jesuit presence that was an attraction to Sullivan for becoming a priest – although this is not how he was called into the order.

During Fr. Sullivan’s senior year retreat while attending St. Ignatius Prep, he was alone in the chapel one day and he was talking to God and contemplating priesthood.

He also conveyed this story during his homily at the Jesuit Heritage Mass. Fr. Sullivan described that he felt “in harmony” and “at peace.”

This was no one-time occurrence – this feeling of “contentment lingered for a week.”

When asked what other profession Fr. Sullivan would have done, he said that he would have been a teacher. He said he definitively did not want to be a doctor (because of the blood) or involved with law.

Before being ordained in 1972, Fr. Sullivan taught at Brophy from 1967 to 1969. Ten years after he left Brophy, Fr. Sullivan traveled to many different Jesuit institutions, including one in Hawaii and many throughout California.

Fr. Sullivan returned to the Brophy and St. Francis community in 2003, and is the pastor of the church and the superintendent of St. Francis School, which means the principal reports to him.

“All you have to do is look over there at the new building (at St. Francis school),” said Fr. Reese when asked about Sullivan’s contributions since his return in 2003.

It is true, the large building at St. Francis shows how dedicated and generous Sullivan is to the school.

“But he has also done a lot in terms of solidifying the parish over there, really make it into a community,” Fr. Reese said.

Fr. Sullivan presides over many Masses at the church, and also does many weddings as well.

Throughout the years, Fr. Sullivan has made many contacts in Phoenix and still brings them to the community today.

So what does a priest like to do in his spare time? Fr. Sullivan likes to cook, and is a good cook at that.

“He seems to take relatively simple stuff and make it taste like a million bucks,” Fr. Reese said in admiration of Fr. Sullivan’s culinary expertise.

This past October marked his 50th year of being a Jesuit priest – half a century of, as Fr. Reese said, devoting his life to God and bringing the community together through his generosity.

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