WOHS alumnus to be ordained as Episcopal priest

Raul Ausa

WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange High School Class of 2012 graduate Raul Ausa will be ordained as an Episcopal priest by Bishop Carlye J. Hughes. He currently serves as a deacon and is working with the diocesan staff in Newark through Aug. 31.

The diversity of West Orange schools is demonstrated not only culturally, but by the career paths of its many graduates, and Ausa is no exception, according to a press release from the school district. Actors, singers, doctors, artists, lawyers, social activists, engineers, journalists, researchers, military officers and more are now vitally involved in making a difference in today’s world.

Born in Uruguay, Ausa and his mother moved to West Orange, where they struggled to make ends meet and avoid deportation.

“I always have to give credit to the incredible bravery and sacrifice of my mother who brought me to the United States and to West Orange from Uruguay when I was 4 years old, believing that the journey and struggle would be worth the opportunities and open doors that I would be able to find here,” Ausa said. “Because of her struggle, I’ve been blessed to experience and pursue the ever-more-elusive ‘American Dream,’ for which so many immigrant families have and continue to sacrifice so much.”

Ausa graduated from West Orange High School in 2012 and from Seton Hall University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in social work. Following his graduation from SHU, he worked for the New Jersey Department of Children and Families as a child protective investigator in Newark for two years, before attending seminary. He graduated this past spring from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University. 

“I have been incredibly loved and sustained through my journey by my friends; my wife, Sierra; my mother, Laura; and the Diocese of Newark, where I have recently accepted a call to serve as priest-in-charge at Trinity Church in Allendale,” Ausa said. “I have wanted to be a priest ever since I was 12 years old, and it has been an absolute dream come true to not only get to attend the most amazing seminary in the country, but now return to my home state to serve at such a dynamic and grace-filled parish not to mention to getting to return to the vicinity of much-missed ‘WO-Town.’”

Ausa credits the Holy Trinity–West Orange Food Pantry in part for his decision to pursue the priesthood in the Episcopal Church.

“As I recount my path to the priesthood, I often mention how my love for the Episcopal Church was solidified by the care and concern that the food pantry showed for my family when we were most in need,” he said.