HOUSTON -

Students at Cristo Rey Jesuit Preparatory School gathered Friday to pray for a man they call the foundation of their school: Reverend TJ Martinez.

Students call him "Father TJ." He is the school's founding president who is now battling advanced stomach cancer.

"He said to me then, 'I am ready for whatever God allows,'" said Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

Fiorenza called Father TJ a man with "fire in his bones," who needs strength to endure aggressive chemotherapy.

He told students, "TJ is ready to overcome cancer as he overcame many obstacles in founding Cristo Rey Jesuit Preparatory School here in Houston."

Hundreds of students, faculty and parents prayed in gymnasium of the school that Father TJ opened five years ago.

Dan Walsh, Interim President of Cristo Rey Jesuit said, "He was really the catalyst that sparked it quicker and faster, beyond what many might have imagined."

Fiorenza said Father TJ had a successful procedure Friday morning. There is much more treatment ahead.