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Mr. Gonzales leaves Jesuit order after eights years of formation

Photo by Victor Beck ’20 | Mr. Gonzales talks with Mr. Rutt about future plans with Advocacy club in front of Brophy chapel

By Victor Beck ’20

THE ROUNDUP

Mr. Marcos Gonzales came to Brophy last year with hopes of promoting a culture of healing and transformation for everyone on campus.

In an article profile last year he described his work with those on the margins to be where he felt God most at work in his life.

“When and where I was encountering God, was when I was with the poor and those who were being excluded and I just continue to feel drawn to stand with God in those places, and the Jesuits offered me that place to do that,” said Gonzales.

This year, Mr. Gonzales teaches religion at Loyola Academy and works in the Office of Faith and Justice. Recently after months of discernment and reflection he has made the decision to leave the Jesuit order.

“When we had our first interview last year, I remember re-reading the article after making the decision to leave the Jesuits and all the things I named there remain true,” said Mr. Gonzales.

After reflecting and taking a few seconds to respond Gonzales named the two factors that first led him to the Jesuits

“The two things that drew me to the Society of Jesus was the desire to commit my life to the service of the poor, and marginalized. And the desire to do so in community. Those two concrete confirmations of my vocation, of who I am, and how I feel God’s calling me, remain the same.”

Mr. Gonzales describes the passing of his nephew to be a crucial moment where he first began to question the process of his formation.

“One of the most critical moments that I think raised new questions for me was the death of my nephew. He passed a year and a half ago, in April of 2018. He was 15 years old and had cystic fibrosis, and what I can say is that I loved him like a son,” Mr. Gonzales said.

He said, “I was able to offer all of myself and all of my love for him in a way a father would, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to have children of my own. When he passed I was exploring what those feelings were for me, and facing head on my desire to have children of my own and take on the radical challenge to live counter culturally a life committed to walking with those who are oppressed, excluded and marginalized,” Mr. Gonzales said.

Mr. Gonzales mentions the complex feelings he feels about leaving and the continuous call to be a faith leader he still has.

“I feel my nephew with me in this process, it’s challenging because what it means to be a faith leader, a leader in our church today is something that still remains in my heart, too. The privilege to see our community and to see men like Mr. Ryan and women like Ms. Adria Renke who are faith leaders, and see how they lead our community, shows the many potential ways in which I can lead as well,” Mr. Gonzales said.

When asked about the role Catholics play in leading a community he said, “there are no small roles in the work that God calls us to do. Both Jesuit and lay-people there isn’t one role bigger than another, it’s important that we collectively do the work our hearts call us to do, together.”

Mr. Quentin Orem has gotten to know Mr. Gonzales over the past year working on many things like Brophy’s work with asylum relief and the Romero Project.

He echoes Gonzales sentiment about the need for Jesuit and Lay partnership, and raises his up as being a good model of that relationship.

“He models Jesuit/Lay partnership in a way that was such a gift for students, but it was also a great joy because for him it became clear to me that the bedrock of his discernment was deepening his relationship to Christ, ensuring the decisions he makes are leading him closer to Jesus,” Mr. Orem said.

Mr. Orem applauds Mr. Gonzales’s ability to follow God’s call even after so many years of formation.

“Real openness to growth is responding to God’s call even if it means taking you in a totally different direction than you’ve ever imagined. He gave eight years of his life to one way of following God and then God called him in a new direction, it’s not easy to really follow Jesus, he calls us into places that we normally wouldn’t expect to go,” Orem said.

Mr. Simon Zachary has been a friend of Mr. Gonzales for four years, meeting at many events and also recently living with each other.

Mr. Zachary is in the process of becoming a Jesuit and shares his excitement for Mr. Gonzales as he begins this new phase of his life.

“Anyone who is formed by our spirituality, really Jesuit or Lay it doesn’t matter. Brophy leaves a mark on people. I’m just excited for him, and I know that mark from his time in the Jesuits will stay with him as he moves onto this new life, I’m excited to see what the future holds for him,” said Mr. Zachary.

When asked if there were any regrets, or if he could go back and choose a different path, his immediate response was no.

“I’m so grateful for the formation we receive and the care that we receive as Jesuits there is nothing that I would change about that. For anyone who goes through the Jesuits if you give yourself fully to the process you will become better for it, the spirituality I have received because of it, I wouldn’t be able to discern, if it wasn’t for the tools being a Jesuit has given me, I would not be able to fully be myself if it wasn’t for that part of my journey,” Gonzales said.

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