Fr. Thomas Greene, S.J. ’81, Named Provincial of Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province

Posted April 9, 2020 / Last updated April 9, 2020

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Fr. Thomas P. Greene, SJ, a graduate of the Class of 1981, will be the next provincial superior of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province. He was named on Nov. 6, 2019, by Father Arturo Sosa, SJ, the superior general of the worldwide Society of Jesus. Father Greene will assume his duties on July 31, 2020.

In his letter announcing the next provincial, Fr. General Sosa wrote that Fr. Greene “is known as a prayerful Jesuit with a love for the poor, availability for mission, and ease in collaboration …. [He] has demonstrated the leadership skills that the province needs at chis moment as … it puts a new apostolic plan into action.”

Father Greene, 56, currently serves as provincial assistant for international ministries and as Jesuit superior of the Jesuit Community of Belize, Central America. He previously served as the rector (superior) of Bellarmine House of First Studies at Saint Louis University, from 2014 until his appointment to Belize in 2017. From 2010 to 2014, Fr. Greene was Secretary for Social and International Ministries at the Jesuit Conference of the United States in Washington, D.C.

“I am humbled to be asked to serve as provincial of the UCS Province, especially in light of the fine Jesuits who have led our province over the years.” Fr. Greene said.” I look forward to working with my Jesuit brothers and lay colleagues to advance the mission of the Society.”

A native of New Orleans, Fr. Greene graduated from Jesuit High School, Loyola University and Loyola University School of Law. Prior to entering the Jesuits in 1997, he practiced law in New Orleans. He was a founding member of the Jesuit Social Research Institute of Loyola University New Orleans in 2007.

He has graduate degrees in philosophy (M.A., Loyola University Chicago) and conflict resolution (M.S., Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska). He completed his Master of Divinity degree at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California.

His ministries have included the legal representation of detained immigrant children and asylum seekers in Chicago, Houston and New Orleans.

Father Greene succeeds V. Rev. Ronald A. Mercier, SJ, who has served as provincial of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province since its creation on July 31, 2014. Father Mercier will work closely with Fr. Greene during the coming months. Following Fr. Greene’s installation next summer, Fr. Mercier will begin a sabbatical.

A Jesuit provincial is the leader of a province, a geographic area of governance within the Society of Jesus. There are five provinces within the United States. The provincial, sometimes referred to as the provincial superior, is responsible for overseeing the  mission  of the  province  and  caring for  the Jesuits who belong to the province. Provincials generally serve a six-year term.

The process of naming the next provincial began eight months ago, when members of the province were asked to discern in their communities what specific needs the province has today and will have in the future, and what characteristics a good provincial would have. Following this prayer and discernment, each member was invited to send up to three nominations, along with the reasons he thought that man would make a good provincial.

The Jesuits receiving the most nominations were then discussed by a group of 12 members of the province in order to narrow the list to three men. This list – the terna – was delivered to Father General Sosa by Fr. Douglas Marcouiller, SJ, Fr. Sosa’s advisor for North America.

Father Marcouiller is a member of the UCS Province and was the final provincial of the Missouri Province before it united with the New Orleans Province to create the USA Central and Southern Province. He traveled throughout the province during the weeks prior to the finalization of the terna to learn about the members’ hopes and concerns for the province and its apostolic works.

The UCS Province works include six colleges/universities, 12 secondary and  pre-secondary  schools, 14 parishes, five retreat houses and four centers that provide training in Ignatian Spirituality.

The Jesuits are a Roman Catholic order of priests and brothers founded nearly 500 years ago by St. Ignatius of Loyola. With more thanl5,000 priests, scholastics and brothers worldwide, they are the largest male religious order in the Catholic Church. Jesuits are widely known for their colleges, universities and high schools, but Jesuits also minister in retreat houses,  parishes,  hospitals and refugee camps.