Lorenzo Herman’s Latest Honor Caps a Lifetime of Diverse Experiences
Jesuit Installed as President of the National Black Catholic Seminarians Association
This week, Cleveland native Lorenzo Herman, 39, currently studying to become a Jesuit priest, was installed as president of the National Black Catholic Seminarians Association (NBCSA). For the former Air Force in-flight refueling specialist, community activist and actor, it was just the latest in a series of diverse accomplishments. And a surprising twist for a boy raised Baptist.
Herman first encountered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), the largest community of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church, at Cleveland’s St. Ignatius High School, the school chosen by his parents for its outstanding academic reputation. There, Herman encountered the Jesuits for the first time, a meeting which would ultimately pave the way for his conversion to Catholicism and his decision to enter the Society of Jesus in 2007.
Prior to entering the Jesuit novitiate, though, Herman spent years traveling the globe as an in-flight refueling specialist aboard a KC135 Stratotanker, a flying gas station, based in Spokane, Wash., at Fairchild Air Force Base. After his time in the service, Herman switched gears and immersed himself in nonprofit work, spending the better part of a decade helping African-American and Latino HIV and AIDS patients navigate the healthcare system. He collaborated with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to pass HIV/AIDS legislation through the California State Legislature.
As incoming president of the NBCSA, Herman takes the reins from outgoing president Rev. Mr. Dwayne Davis, who attests to Herman’s strengths: “It’s no surprise to me that Lorenzo Herman was chosen as our new president. I believe that Lorenzo is the next stepping stone to make our group a success.” The NBCSA, founded in 1968, is committed to building brotherly fraternity and spiritual bonds among black Catholic seminarians across the United States.
Rev. Mr. Davis adds, “To be able to be a part of an organization where you know that you have brothers all over the country, and to be able to know that they’re praying for you on a daily basis – that is a miracle within itself. What a great gift and grace to know that your brothers are there to support you and are there for you.”
In addition to his upcoming tenure as president of the NBCSA, Herman is currently studying transformational leadership at Seattle University, one of 28 colleges and universities founded by the Society of Jesus. The formation process to become a Jesuit priest involves upwards of 10 years of study; Lorenzo Herman expects to be ordained in 2017.
“As a Jesuit, I’ve been able to revisit all the things that I’ve done. I continue to do the HIV/AIDS work; I continue to do theater. The thing that makes it different for me is now God is working through me in all these things,” says Herman.
About the Society of Jesus in the United States
Founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius Loyola, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) is the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church. The Jesuits operate 28 colleges and universities, 54 high schools and 67 parishes in the United States and engage in a variety of ministries. As religious, Jesuits commit themselves to observe vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in practicing a faith that promotes justice. For more information on the Society of Jesus in the United States, visit www.jesuit.org.