Meet Our Newest Priests

With Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles David G. O’Connell presiding, the California and Oregon provinces of the Society of Jesus welcomed the final Ordination class of Jesuit priests to their ranks on June 10. Next year’s Ordination class will be the first of the newly created Jesuits West Province, which officially launches on July 1.

This year’s Ordination Mass was held at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood. Nearly 1,500 family and friends of the ordinands attended.

Across the U.S., Canada, and Haiti, 31 men will be ordained as Jesuit priests this summer. This year’s class of ordinands from the California and Oregon provinces includes:


FR. BRENDAN P. BUSSE, SJ
Age: 39
Raised in: Los Angeles
Missioned to: Dolores Mission Parish, Los Angeles

At Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Fr. Brendan Busse earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature in 1999. An active volunteer during college, Fr. Busse worked in a juvenile hall and with a service program in Tijuana, Mexico, which were defining experiences that would ultimately shape his vocation. Immediately after graduation, he began a master’s degree program in theological studies at LMU and taught religion at St. Bernard High School in Playa Del Rey, Calif.

In 2002, Fr. Busse became a Jesuit Volunteer Corps member in Belize, where he was confirmed in the Catholic Church. He returned to LMU in 2004 to work on his master’s thesis and served as LMU’s director of community service and social justice ministries until 2008, when he answered the call to become a Jesuit priest. As a novice, he worked for five months at Sacred Heart Nativity Schools in San Jose as an assistant teacher and was next missioned to Loyola University Chicago, where he earned a master’s degree in social philosophy and also completed his master’s degree in theology from LMU.

Fr. Busse was missioned next to Seattle University’s Matteo Ricci College, where he taught courses on Ignatian spirituality. Highlights of his formation include travel to MAGIS and World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, a summer working in an orphanage in Northeast India, and writing for both America magazine and The Jesuit Post. Fr. Busse has been missioned to serve on the pastoral team at Dolores Mission Parish in Boyle Heights of Los Angeles. He will celebrate his first Mass with his fellow ordinands at Loyola Marymount University and celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving the following week at Central Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles.

FR. CHRISTOPHER A. CALDERÓN, SJ
Age: 33
Raised in: Los Angeles
Missioned to: Master of Education in Secondary Education Leadership at Harvard University

Father Christopher A. Calderón grew up in Los Angeles in a family where faith plays a meaningful role. He and his two younger brothers attended Catholic schools, but it was his grandmother who first taught him how to pray and his mother who demonstrated what it means to live by faith. The day after his First Communion, his grandmother signed him up to be an altar server, serving six days a week. Church quickly became home.

Fr. Calderón attended Loyola High School in Los Angeles, where he was blessed to meet the Jesuits. He received a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies with minors in Spanish and theology from the University of San Francisco in 2005. At USF, Fr. Calderón supported university ministry by coordinating the office of community service and participating in many immersion and retreat experiences. He also studied abroad in El Salvador.

After college, Fr. Calderón returned to Loyola High to teach before eventually joining the Society of Jesus in 2006. As a novice, Fr. Calderón worked on the U.S.-Mexico border with migrants and at a L’Arche community in Seattle, where people with and without varying disabilities live together in mutual relationship. After pronouncing First Vows, he studied at Loyola University Chicago, where he completed a master’s degree in applied ethics in 2011. Afterward, Fr. Calderón served as a faculty member and administrator at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix for three years.

Next missioned to the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in 2014, Fr. Calderón worked on a master’s of divinity degree in addition to serving as the chaplain to both to the BC baseball team and a Spanish-speaking community at a local men’s prison. Fr. Calderón also spent a semester studying Ignatian spirituality in Madrid immediately after being ordained a deacon. After ordination, Fr. Calderón will celebrate Mass first with his brother ordinands at Sacred Heart Chapel at Loyola Marymount University followed by a Mass of Thanksgiving at Loyola High School.

FR. SAM Z. CONEDERA, SJ
Age: 36
Raised in: Portland
Missioned to: St. Francis Xavier Parish, Phoenix

Fr. Sam Z. Conedera graduated from Lincoln High School in 1998 and earned bachelor’s degrees in history and Spanish from Saint Louis University in 2002. In college, Fr. Conedera worked in the campus library, was a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit honor society, and got to know a few Jesuit scholastics who were studying philosophy at the school. After graduation, he moved to San Diego to teach with AmeriCorps at Nativity Prep Academy and then entered a doctoral program in history at the University of California, Los Angeles. In the summer of 2005, it became clear that “the Jesuit charism was being offered to me by God,” and Fr. Conedera entered the Society of Jesus in August of the following year.

As a novice, Fr. Conedera taught at Santa Clara University and then spent a year researching and writing his dissertation, which took him to Madrid and New York. Missioned next to Fordham University in the Bronx, Fr. Conedera earned a master’s in philosophical resources before returning to Santa Clara University to teach history and serve as a dorm chaplain. In 2014, he began studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, receiving a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology in 2017.

Ordained a deacon this spring, Fr. Conedera’s training has taken him to Uruguay, Argentina, and Mexico, as well as France and Germany. He has found his friendships with other Jesuits to be the most meaningful part of his Formation. He will celebrate his first Mass as a priest with his fellow Jesuits at Loyola Marymount University.

FR. RYAN JORDAN B. RALLANKA, SJ
Age: 33
Raised in: Sacramento
Missioned to: Seattle Preparatory School

In Sacramento, Fr. Rallanka and his family were active members of St. Anthony Parish. Educated in Catholic schools his entire life, Fr. Rallanka attended Holy Spirit School and Jesuit High School in Sacramento, where he played piano and clarinet in the school’s bands.

Fr. Rallanka first encountered the Jesuits in high school and began meaningful friendships with them at Seattle University, where he studied English and sociology. He was active from his freshman year in campus ministry, working on retreats and service trips, including a summer immersion experience in the Philippines. While at Seattle University, Fr. Rallanka also began meeting weekly with a Jesuit spiritual director, who helped him develop his relationship with God and discern his call to the priesthood. After earning double bachelor’s degrees in 2006, he entered the Society of Jesus.

During his two years as a novice, Fr. Rallanka worked for three months in a L’Arche community in Tacoma, where people with and without intellectual disabilities live together as peers, and served at Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane, and at St. Andrew’s Mission Church on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendleton, Ore.

Missioned next to Fordham University in the Bronx, Fr. Rallanka earned a master's degree in philosophical resources while teaching catechism classes and directing the English choir at St. Martin of Tours Parish. His next step in Jesuit Formation took Fr. Rallanka to Jesuit High School in Portland, where he taught freshman theology for three years while serving as a spiritual director for the Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (SEEL) program at St. Ignatius Catholic Church. In 2014, Fr. Rallanka was missioned to the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley. There, he completed a master of divinity degree while serving as a deacon at San Quentin State Prison. His first Mass as a priest will be celebrated with his brother Jesuits at Sacred Heart Chapel on the campus of Loyola Marymount University.

FR. PHILIP P. SUTHERLAND, SJ
Age: 35
Raised in: Chehalis, WA
Missioned to: St. Leo Church, Tacoma, followed by doctoral studies in philosophy, Marquette
University

Fr. Sutherland and his family attended St. Joseph Church, and he began thinking about the priesthood in junior high. When his mother suggested Fr. Sutherland look at attending Gonzaga University in Spokane, he had no idea what a Jesuit was, so he began reading about the Society of Jesus. He was immediately attracted to the Jesuits’ intellectual formation and variety of ministries and community life, but decided to go to college before joining the Society.

At Gonzaga, Fr. Sutherland earned bachelor’s degrees in religious studies and chemistry and received spiritual direction from a Jesuit. He also played clarinet in the wind ensemble and orchestra, and worked for marginalized students. Fr. Sutherland graduated in 2004 and then joined the Society of Jesus. As a novice, he ministered to the Yupik people in Alaska and served in Jamaica as a teacher and hospital chaplain, a profound experience of desperate poverty but with joyful people.

He next went to Loyola University Chicago, where he earned a master’s degree in philosophy in 2009 and then taught for 10 months at St. Andrew Nativity School in Portland. Fr. Sutherland returned to Gonzaga, where he worked in campus ministry on the freshman retreat program and taught philosophy and religious studies courses. During his two years there, he discovered his love for working in higher education. Missioned next to the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, he earned a master of divinity degree and a licentiate in sacred theology.

While in Boston, Fr. Sutherland worked with the Ignatian Spirituality Project, giving retreats to homeless people, and served as a deacon and taught catechism to fifth graders at the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Chestnut Hill, Mass. He also did a 10-week intensive practicum in clinical pastoral education at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. His first Masses as a priest will be celebrated with his brother Jesuits at Sacred Heart Chapel on the campus of Loyola Marymount University and at his grandmother’s parish, St. Louis de Montfort Parish in Santa Maria, Calif.



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