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Father Jack Peterson: Celebrating 25 Years as a Priest

Monday, April 28, 2014
The Rev. Jack Peterson, YA, assistant chaplain at Marymount University, will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood with a Mass at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, at St. Mark Catholic Church, 9970 Vale Rd., Vienna, VA. A reception will follow at 2:30 p.m. (It will be a joint celebration with Fr. Peter Nassetta, YA, who served as chaplain at MU from 1995 to 2002.) Everyone in the Marymount community is cordially invited. RSVP by May 1 to Brian Abrams at (703) 556-0914 or yas_abrams@cox.net.

Father Jack Peterson, YA, joined the Youth Apostles Institute (www.youthapostles.org) as a layman in 1981 and received Holy Orders in the Diocese of Arlington in 1989. A native of northern Virginia, Father Jack has served five parishes in the diocese, and has maintained a steady involvement in youth, college, and young adult ministry that began well before his priestly ordination. He has given numerous seminars and talks on youth ministry, and has run many workshops and retreats for young people that nurture their spiritual, moral, and psychological development.

Noting his lifetime interest in youth ministry, Father Jack said that his favorite quote is from St. John Bosco: “That you are young is enough to make me love you.”

He pointed out, “As a lifetime member of Youth Apostles, my greatest joy in life is when a young person discovers in the depths of his or her heart that God loves him or her with a fathomless love.” Fr. Jack added, “This gift of God's love and mercy is life changing. It leads to a profound joy, a deep peace, a life filled with meaning, a desire to draw ever closer to Jesus in faith and prayer, and a growing zeal for serving their neighbors, especially those in need. It is an honor to be an instrument of God's love and life in this world.”

Father Jack graduated from Bishop Denis J. O’Connell High School in Arlington, VA, and received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia. He then received his M.A. in Theology from Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in 1989. Father Jack’s work with young people began at St. Anthony of Padua parish in Falls Church in 1985, when he started his seminary studies.

Before coming to Marymount, Father Jack was the Catholic chaplain at the University of Mary Washington for seven years. During that time, he also served as parochial vicar at St. Mary and St. Patrick Churches in Fredericksburg, and at St. Matthew Church in Spotsylvania. He served as chaplain and director of Campus Ministry at Marymount from 2002 to 2007. In 2004, he was elected by his community to be the general director of Youth Apostles, a role that he continues to hold.

Reflecting on his 25 years in the priesthood, Father Jack said, “I remain deeply humbled and honored that God called me to serve Him and His flock as a Catholic priest. I do not know why, but He called me by name and asked me to give my life's energies to building His kingdom (especially among His young people) and serving His flock by loving them, journeying with them, speaking to them of His marvelous works, offering them the Sacraments, and calling them to live the highest moral standards.”