In June of 2011, Jeffrey Core will be ordained a diocesan priest after four years of theological studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. It’s been quite a circuitous journey for the 38-year-old native of Washing¬ton State. After graduating from high school in 1989, he worked at a number of jobs. But when he chaperoned a youth function, sud¬denly young adult ministry became an option. “I thought maybe I should be doing more than working as a chef,” Core relates. He joined the Capuchin Franciscans, studying at the novitiate in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and taking simple vows at Santa Inez in California. In 1998, when he moved to the House of Studies in Berkeley, he knew he finally had to address his lack of a college degree.
“I decided Holy Names was where I’d be best off,” Core says. “I had zero experience with col¬leges, and something clicked. There was a sense of community, a small-town feel in the middle of the Bay Area. And the professors, while they were incredibly available and flexible, held us to a very high standard. In my last year, I was elected class president and then chosen by my classmates to be commencement speaker. I still hold this as a very high honor — like getting a SAG award instead of an Oscar® — when you’re chosen by your peers.”
After earning his BA in history and philosophy at HNU, Core worked several years for Oakland Park and Rec (“philosophical historians are not in big demand”) and then worked at the Idaho Food Bank and in young adult ministries with Diocese of Boise. After working in campus min¬istry at the University of Great Falls in Mon¬tana, he attended the seminary in the Diocese of Spokane and in the fall of 2007 entered the Theological College at the Catholic University of America. Looking back on his long journey, Core says, “HNU was one of the best experi¬ences of my life…easily among the happiest of my life thus far.”