Father Jonathan Hill & Brother Ryan Thibert
Father Jonathan Hill was ordained on June 1, 2019. The Mass of Ordination was celebrated by His Excellency Bishop John O. Barres of the Diocese of Rockville Centre in New York.
Brother Ryan Thibert took his final oath on May 31, 2019. The Mass was celebrated by Father Raymond Finch, Maryknoll Society Superior General.
Both celebrations took place at the Maryknoll Society Center in Ossining, New York.
Father Jonathan and Brother Ryan received their missionary crucifixes at the Maryknoll Sending Ceremony that presents new priests and brothers to the world as Maryknoll missioners.
Meet Fr. Jonathan Hill
Father Jonathan Hill says that his desire to see the world along with the strong religious upbringing of his Southern Baptist family were the foundation of why overseas mission appealed to him.
Jonathan Hill is the younger of the two sons of Larry David and Ramona Hill. He grew up in his grandparents’ house, along with his parents and older brother. Their house reflected their travels and this has instilled a desire in Jonathan to see the world. With a strong religious upbringing of his Southern Baptist family, he says he first felt called to overseas mission as an eighth-grader, but put it off.
Then at an Easter service in 2002, he again felt God’s call and this time decided to follow it. He attended the Baptist College of Florida and engaged in mission activities, including, building a hospital in Honduras, working with refugees in Rome and participating in Bible study groups in the Philippines.
“Eventually, I felt that unless I became Catholic, I would not be true to my conscience and where I felt the Spirit guiding me.” ~ Father Jonathan Hill, M.M.
Jonathan held a few jobs and then he met Maryknoll Father Michael Sloboda, a mission promoter working in Florida. It’s by talking to Fr. Sloboda that he learned about Maryknoll and its mission.
Two years later he was working in Wyoming and discerning whether to enter the diocesan seminary in Cheyenne or join Maryknoll. Again, he asked God for a sign. Then he lost his job due to the economic recession and as he was leaving, he received a call from Maryknoll. He then thought that his prayer was answered and God has sent him a clear sign.
In 2010, he entered the Maryknoll Society, earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Loyola University in Chicago and a master of divinity degree from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.
He spent his two-year Maryknoll overseas training program in Tanzania, where he fell in love with the people and the East African culture and where he will return after his ordination.
Father Hill celebrated his first Mass at the Lady of Apostles Chapel in the Maryknoll Society Center on Sunday, June 2.
Meet Br. Ryan Thibert
Brother Ryan Thibert acknowledges that he felt an attraction to religious life growing up in a strong Catholic family. He sought direction from his parish priest, who knew Maryknoll and thought it might be a good fit for his mission-oriented parishioner.
Brother Ryan Thibert is a native of Ontario, Canada. He was born a minute after his twin brother, Aaron, and four years after their sister, Jennifer. He credits his parents, Larry and Rox-Ann Thibert, for his love of service because of their unconditional love.
Having met Society members like Brother Robert Butsch has helped Ryan. He says it is by witnessing how passionate they are about their work and seeing how the Holy Spirit seem to work through them inspired him. He became aware that he can use his own educational background and artistic talent to help people be the best they can be.
“I realize that it is in living for others through Christ where I feel truly happy and at peace.” ~ Brother Ryan Thibert, M.M.
A short-term mission trip to Jamaica with three other prospective Maryknoll candidates sealed his decision. Working at the Blessed Sacrament Orphanage in Montego Bay, and remembering the Franciscan brother who had come to console his family when his grandfather died made him realize that being present, giving life to those who need love is the essence of the brother’s vocation. That is what he felt the Holy Spirit was calling him to do. So in 2011, he decided to join the Maryknoll Brothers’ formation program.
He completed his undergraduate degree in art at St. Xavier University in Chicago all the while deepening his spirituality through prayer and theological studies.
He underwent his overseas training program in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where young missioners are immersed in language study and life in another culture as well as various pastoral works as they continue to discern their call to cross-cultural mission. He will return to Latin America where he has been assigned to work in mission.