By Adam Pittman, SJ
The Jesuits of Canada celebrated the presbyteral ordination of Fr. Curtis McKenzie, SJ, on December 30, 2023. The liturgy took place at the Dormition of the Mother of God Ukrainian Greek Catholic Parish in Kelowna, British Columbia. It was presided over by the newly ordained Eparch of New Westminster, The Most Rev. Michael Kwiatkowski. His family, Jesuits, and many close friends attended the celebration, as well as the welcoming and hospitable members of the local Ukrainian Catholic parish. It was a joyous occasion!
The newly ordained priest traditionally chooses one of his closest companions to preach at his first liturgy. Under different circumstances, I would have happily filled this honoured role. However, for good reason, Curtis preached at his first liturgy in his unique style. Referencing the character of Hawkeye Pierce from the television series M*A*S*H, he brought the coexistence of faith and science to the forefront of our minds as we contemplated the mystery of God coming into the world as a tiny infant. If I had preached, I would have used the occasion to speak of my good friend Curtis before his family and friends. As fortune has it, I find myself able to do so now. Those who know him well will surely recognize the traits I’m about to describe.
Curtis is a man of extraordinary gifts. He is highly intelligent and possesses executive skills that exemplify his sagacity. His passions run deep, very deep, and an unwavering willingness to express his convictions highlights the strength of his character. His creative inclinations extend to and beyond the kitchen, infusing his pastoral and professional endeavours. His profound devotion to God imbues his every action with purpose and meaning. He is an expert problem-solver; the MacGyver of life’s conundrums! He is a wordsmith extraordinaire, the sultan of sayings, and the wizard of witticisms (this he gets from both his parents).
Curtis’ ordination was much more than a noteworthy event for the Jesuits. It was an opportunity for all those who care for him to celebrate his remarkable journey of commitment and sacrifice. While Curtis is completing his doctoral studies at Fordham University in New York, we eagerly look forward to witnessing the great things he will accomplish.
In Fr. Curtis McKenzie, you see, a financial guru turned spiritual shepherd, we celebrate a newly ordained priest for the church and a soul dedicated to making the world a more compassionate place. Therefore, we must all sing, Axios, Axios, Axios!
Here’s to the past, present, and unwritten chapters of his remarkable journey.
May his cassock be forever wrinkle-free, his punchlines divinely inspired, and his hat stand tall in heavenly style.
God bless you, Skip! Thank you.