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Local Man Ordained to the Priesthood

The Flowers family gathers in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, San Ysidro after the ordination. Back row: Stephen Flowers, Father Thomas Flowers, S.J., Sarah Flowers, Deacon Phil Flowers, Mark Flowers. Front row: Mary Procaccio-Flowers, Kayla Flowers, Elsa Flowers, Eden Flowers, Taran Flowers. (Photo Credit: JesuitsWest)

On June 9, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, in San Ysidro, California, Thomas Flowers, S.J., who grew up in Morgan Hill as a member of Saint Catherine of Alexandria Parish, was ordained to the priesthood for the Society of Jesus. The Mass was presided over by San Diego Bishop Robert W. McElroy and concelebrated by Jesuit West Provincial, Father Scott Santarosa, S.J.

Father Thomas J. Flowers, S.J., is the son of Deacon Phil and Sarah Flowers. His family is active at Saint Catherine of Alexandria Parish, where Thomas served at Mass and his parents taught catechism. He first met the Jesuits as a student at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, and immersed himself in campus ministry, leading retreats by his senior year.

At the University of California, Santa Barbara, Thomas studied history while volunteering at the campus Newman Center. After graduating in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree, he taught religion for a year at Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco, while discerning his vocation with a Jesuit spiritual director. In 2007, Thomas entered the Society of Jesus and, as a Jesuit novice, published his first book of poetry, “Walking Humbly: Scripture Meditations in Verse.” He also spent six weeks in Uruguay in a Spanish language immersion program.

Missioned next to Saint Louis University, Thomas earned a master’s degree in early modern European history and published his second book, “God’s Invitation: Meditations on a Covenant Relationship.” In 2012, he returned to his alma mater, Bellarmine College Prep, to teach world history and religion for two years, before serving for a year at the U.S.-Mexico border with the Kino Border Initiative, a bi-national humanitarian aid organization co-founded by the Jesuits.

In 2015, Thomas was missioned to Rome to study theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology. Thomas, who lived at the International College of the Gesù in Rome, just steps away from the rooms of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, considered his years in the Eternal city an immersion in the history of the Church and the Society.

Ordained a deacon this spring, Father Thomas is serving at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in San Jose this summer before beginning doctoral studies in history at the University of York in England.