BY JOHN GALLAGHER
Paul Kostka and John Ignatius, then Franciscan University students Matthew Fenter and Aron Little, both felt called to similar vocations, independently of one another.
“The Lord kind of brought us together, with the same desire, the same feeling, called in the same direction,” said John Ignatius, speaking on behalf of both himself and Paul Kostka.
As the 10-year anniversary of the initiation of their religious community nears, John Ignatius reflected on the time spent devoted to their ministry since their original profession of vows in Christ the King Chapel in October 2005.
Speaking in regard to the Servants of Christ Jesus, John Ignatius said, “God has multiplied our numbers, and he has glorified himself in our smallness, in our growth and in our availability.”
It did not take long for the Servants of Christ Jesus to find a niche in the Archdiocese of Denver, a place John Ignatius termed “the hub of new evangelization.”
Paul Kitsch echoed the sentiment, in that both he and John Ignatius felt “there was this clear call to evangelize in the western part of the United States.”
The ministry itself consists of both direct and indirect evangelization. Since their first profession of vows, John Ignatius, Paul Kostka and the budding religious community have trained Life Teen and Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) missionaries, collaborated with the Missionaries of Charity, led mission trips to Mexico, the Philippines and the Holy Land, and headed retreats in more than half of the continental United States.
The maturation of Matthew Fenter and Aron Little into the Rev. Paul Kostka and the Rev. John Ignatius is one that they credit largely to spiritual formation that each received while living their vocations as students at Franciscan University.
“We’re very grateful to our FUS family, and to the TORs for the education they’ve provided for us and for our spiritual formation,” said Paul Kostka.
John Ignatius stressed the importance of a continuous penitential conversion, especially as Servants of Christ Jesus.
“It is a great blessing to follow St. Francis of Assisi and St. Ignatius of Loyola in their penitential acts,” he said.
Their renewal of self-denial, said John Ignatius, not only of the spirit, but also of the body, allows in turn a greater participation in the grace of ministry.
In the past 10 years, the Servants of Christ Jesus have ordained three new members to their religious community. This year will mark their sixth year of service in Catholic schools within the Archdiocese of Denver. In fidelity to their charisms and a continually renewed sense of self-denial, the Servants of Christ Jesus seek to imitate Philippians 2:8: “…obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”