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Fr. John Hatcher, S.J. '61 has a unique homecoming at Jesuit

Jesuit High school was blessed with a special visit from Fr. John Hatcher, S.J. ’61 the week before Thanksgiving break.

Hatcher, who has family living in the neighborhood around Jesuit, graduated from the school more than a half-century ago. On Nov. 21, he spoke in Convocation and celebrated Mass in St. Anthony’s Chapel.

But perhaps the most interesting part of his return was a reuniting of sorts with the Jesuit students who made a service immersion trip to South Dakota this summer.

Fr. Hatcher has been president of the St. Francis Mission in South Dakota for 15 years and has been engaged in native ministry for four decades, serving the Lakota (Sioux) people of the Rosebud Reservation.

The 10 Jesuit students on the trip – seniors Greg Aiello, Paul Anderson, Ty Bradley, Connor Brozak, Jason Caldwell, Charlie Duffy, Stephen Huetz, Cassian Ortiz, James Runey, and Gabe Turner – operated a vacation bible school as part of the mission for the poverty plagued reservation.

However, they didn’t meet Fr. Hatcher until Nov. 21. He had been out of town that week in June.

“We had a great time with him,” said Jesuit Alumni Director Zack Haitz ’09, who had chaperoned the mission trip along with Latin teacher Nicholas Werner. “Everyone was aware when we were in South Dakota helping the St. Francis Mission that it was run by a Jesuit High School alumnus. So it was great to get to spend time with him.”

It was the second straight year a Jesuit contingent traveled to South Dakota. To read more about Fr. Hatcher and his experience serving the St. Francis Mission from the Fall 2014 issue of Perspectives, click here.

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