After nearly a decade of being away from Miami, Jesuit Father Christian Saenz ‘95 is back home at Belen Jesuit after finishing his doctorate in Church History from the Gregorian University in Rome.
“Rome has always been a place to which Jesuits are missioned and from which they are missioned,” said Father Saenz. “In fact, at the entrance of the Gregorian University there’s a statue of Jesus pointing towards the exit with a sign that says, ‘Go out and evangelize to the world’”. I’ve always felt that it was pointing towards Belen and now I’m finally here, finally home.”
Effective immediately, he is the new school chaplain and will work as a spiritual director. He will also work side-by-side with Father Willie on the Our Lady of Belen Chapel and serve as Subdirector to the Agrupación Católica Universitaria (ACU).
“I wanted to thank in a very special way Deacon Jorge Prieto, who for several years has served as the school’s chaplain in extraordinary fashion,” said Jesuit Father Willie García-Tuñón '87. “We are all highly indebted to him for his service to Belen Jesuit. I’m also very excited to welcome back Father Saenz.”
Despite his absence from campus, Father Saenz has maintained his ties to the school by chaperoning the Overseas Study Program in Europe for the last few years and has welcomed alumni and faculty to Rome on multiple occasions.
“I’ve always felt connected to Belen despite being away,” said Father Saenz. “In between OSP and the monthly visits by alumni or friends of Belen I’ve certainly stayed current. I am very happy to be here and look forward to bringing a little bit of Rome to Belen.”
He graduated from Belen in 1995 and continued his studies at Syracuse University in New York, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Italian language in 2000. Two years after graduation, he entered the Society of Jesus and began his formation as a Jesuit in the novitiate in Santiago, Dominican Republic. He continued his studies at Fordham University, a Jesuit University in New York, and graduated with a Master’s in Philosophy in 2006. Upon graduation, he worked at Belen as a social studies teacher for two years and afterward went to the Pontifical Gregorian University in Italy. There he earned a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology in 2011 and stayed until the completion of his doctorate in Church History.
Belen Jesuit Preparatory School was founded in 1854 in Havana, Cuba by Queen Isabel II of Spain. The task of educating students was assigned to the priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), whose teaching tradition is synonymous with academic excellence and spiritual discipline. In 1961, the new political regime of Cuba confiscated the School property and expelled the Jesuit faculty. The School was re-established in Miami the same year, and over the next decade, continued to grow. Today, Belen Jesuit sits on a 30-acre site in western Dade County, only minutes away from downtown Miami.