Lukas M. Laniauskas, S.J. M.Div. ’15 is one of 28 Jesuits ordained into priesthood this summer by the Society of Jesus, the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church.
Lukas, 31, grew up in a Lithuanian-American family in Cleveland, where he attended Catholic schools, which proved to be formative in his own vocation. He graduated from Lake Catholic High School in Mentor, Ohio, in 2002 and then went to Loyola University Chicago. During college he began to think about the priesthood and visited different religious orders. While studying at Loyola Chicago’s Rome Center, he met the provincial of the Jesuits’ Lithuanian Province, who asked Fr. Laniauskas one question: “Where do you think God’s calling you?” That was his first experience of Ignatian spirituality, and from there he discerned that becoming a Jesuit was God’s will for his life.
In 2004, he joined the Society of Jesus in Lithuania. After completing the novitiate there, he returned to the United States to finish his formation. Back at Loyola University Chicago, Fr. Laniauskas received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. He was then missioned for three years to St. John’s Jesuit High School and Academy in Toledo, Ohio, where he served as chair of the theology department and taught junior high and high school students.
In 2012, Fr. Laniauskas began studies at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California, where he completed a Master of Divinity degree. He served as chaplain of the Berkeley Fire Department, responding to emergencies as well as attending to the spiritual needs of the firefighters at the city’s seven stations. He also served as a deacon at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Oakland, California, and stayed active in the Lithuanian community in Los Angeles and in the Midwest, including serving on a board of trustees for a Lithuanian youth camp.
Central to Fr. Laniauskas’ vocation is loving people, and through this he’s learned that his priesthood belongs to the people. He will celebrate his first Mass as a Jesuit priest at Camp Dainava in Manchester, Michigan, and then serve as chaplain at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago while pursuing a doctorate in ministry.