Press Release
Jesuits Celebrate Ordination of 29 New Priests

Veterans, Teachers and Peace Corp Volunteer Comprise Diverse Group of Newly Ordained

For Immediate Release

Editor’s Note: Video interviews and photos available at www.jesuits.org/ordinations

(Washington, D.C., June 22, 2017) — This summer, the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits — the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church — will welcome 29 new priests in the U.S., Canada and Haiti (a member of the Jesuits’ French Canada Province).

The first ordination Mass was held on May 20 at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Toronto. Additional ordinations were held in June at the Church of the Gesu in Milwaukee; Fordham University Church in the Bronx, New York; Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Los Angeles; and Holy Name of Jesus Church in New Orleans. On June 24, Cyril Pinchak, S.J., will be ordained as a bi-ritual priest in the Roman and Byzantine Catholic Churches at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cathedral in Parma, Ohio; and the final ordination Mass will be celebrated on August 5 at the Chapelle des Frères de l’Instruction Chrétienne in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The diverse group of new priests includes Fr. Rodolfo Casals, S.J., who served in the Navy; Fr. Brett B. McLaughlin, S.J., who served in the Air Force; Fr. Anthony R. Lusvardi, S.J., a former Peace Corps volunteer; and Fr. Sylvester Tan, SJ, who completed a prestigious Watson Fellowship in Africa and Asia.

Many of the newly ordained met the Jesuits early in their lives. Sixteen of the 29 being ordained attended a Jesuit school. Nine Jesuits entered the Society immediately after college graduation. Others took more circuitous routes — enrolling in multiple post-graduate programs, teaching and volunteering around the world, or working in industries ranging from publishing to pharmaceuticals. 

Each Jesuit undergoes a thorough formation process, lasting between 10 to 12 years, before he is ordained a priest. As part of their formation, all ordinands earn advanced degrees from Jesuit universities and serve at Jesuit high schools and colleges worldwide.

As new priests, they will continue their lives of service by engaging in pastoral work, teaching at Jesuit universities and high schools, continuing their studies and working at Jesuit parishes.

One of the newly ordained, Fr. John O’Brien, S.J., is now serving as a chaplain at Campion College at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan while also helping to promote vocations to the Society of Jesus. "I hope that my priesthood will help serve as a bridge that reconciles people to one another and to God, and that helps build the kingdom of God, with Christ at the center," he says.

Following are the 29 Jesuit priests being ordained this summer:

Paul-Fils B. Belotte, S.J., 36, was born in Mombin-Crochu, Haiti. Before entering the Jesuits, he spent a year with the Community of St. Ignatius in Canapé-Vert, where he taught in an elementary school for impoverished children. After ordination, his first assignment will be with the Jesuit Migrant Service in Port-au-Prince.

Fr. Jacob J. Boddicker, S.J., 33, grew up in Tipton, Iowa. Fr. Boddicker spent a year working at the Jesuits’ St. Camillus health care facility in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, followed by two years of teaching at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee. Following ordination, he will spend the summer working at St. John’s Parish on Creighton University’s campus.

Fr. Brendan P. Busse, S.J., 39, is from Los Angeles. He worked in a juvenile hall and with a service program in Tijuana, Mexico, before joining the Society of Jesus. After ordination, Fr. Busse will serve on the pastoral team at Dolores Mission Parish in Los Angeles.

Fr. Christopher A. Calderón, S.J., 33, grew up in Los Angeles. After college, he taught at Loyola High School of Los Angeles before joining the Society of Jesus in 2006. After ordination to the priesthood, he will pursue a Master of Education in secondary education leadership at Harvard University.

Fr. Rodolfo (Rudy) Casals, S.J., 42, was raised in Tarrytown, New York. Before entering the Jesuits, Fr. Casals served for five years as a surface warfare officer on the USS Dubuque, USS Juneau and USS John S. McCain. Following ordination, he will spend the summer serving at St. Mary of the Assumption+Our Lady of Mount Carmel+St. Benedicta Parish on Staten Island, New York.

Fr. Sam Z. Conedera, S.J., 36, was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. In 2017, he received a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Following ordination, Fr. Conedera’s first assignment will be at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Phoenix.

Fr. Daniel R. Corrou, S.J., 44, hails from Saratoga Springs, New York. Before joining the Jesuits, Fr. Corrou served for two years at a Jesuit school in Micronesia with Jesuit Volunteers International. After ordination, Fr. Corrou will spend a year at St. Francis Xavier Church in New York City.

Fr. Matthew I. Dunch, S.J., 33, hails from outside Youngstown, Ohio. Before entering the Jesuits, he interned at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as part of a project to rebuild the church in Central and Eastern Europe. After ordination, Fr. Dunch will spend the summer at St. Francis Xavier Church in Cincinnati and then return to Toronto to complete an advanced degree in theology.

Fr. Richard J. Fichtinger, S.J., 35, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. Before entering the Jesuits, he worked as a youth and family counselor with an organization that works to solve conflicts in young adults and families. After ordination, Fr. Fichtinger will be assigned to Saint Thomas More Catholic Community in St. Paul for one year.

Fr. Marcus C. Fryer, S.J., 35, hails from Missouri City, Texas, a suburb of Houston. Before entering the Jesuits, he took classes to become an emergency medical technician and began working for the Cy-Fair Fire Department in Harris County, Texas. After ordination, he will work in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as the parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Church.

Fr. Luke J. Hansen, S.J., 35, is from Kaukauna, Wisconsin, a small city near Green Bay. He joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and worked in legal services for mental health patients in the local county jail. After ordination, he will serve at the Church of the Gesu in Milwaukee and then begin studies for a Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Fr. Brad A. Held, S.J., 33, was born and raised in Slinger, Wisconsin. He served as a teacher, campus minister and chair of the spiritual formation department at Red Cloud High School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota for three years. Following ordination, Fr. Held will work at the Church of the Gesu in University Heights, Ohio.

Pierre Edward Luc, S.J., 33, was born in the small village of Chardonnette, Haiti. Following the Haitian earthquake, he returned to Port-au-Prince to work for a year as the coordinator of the Jesuit Refugee Service pastoral team. After ordination, he will teach philosophy for one year at Instituto Superior Bonó in the Dominican Republic.

Fr. Anthony R. Lusvardi, S.J., 37, hails from St. Anthony, Minnesota. Before entering the Jesuits, he joined the Peace Corps and taught English in a small town in Kazakhstan for two years. After ordination, Fr. Lusvardi will spend the summer at St. Isaac Jogues Parish in Rapid City, South Dakota, before returning to Rome to complete his Licentiate in Sacred Theology.

Fr. Brett B. McLaughlin, S.J., 35, lived in western Massachusetts, Tennessee and Rochester, New York, while growing up. Before entering the Jesuits, he fulfilled his ROTC commitment and was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force. After ordination, Fr. McLaughlin will be missioned to St. Ignatius Loyola Parish in New York City.

Fr. John D. O’Brien, S.J., 40, grew up in Mission, British Columbia. As a novice, he taught at an inner-city school and parish in Jamaica and then earned a master’s degree in theology at Regis College at the University of Toronto. After ordination, he will work as a chaplain at Campion College at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan while serving as a vocation promoter for the Jesuits.

Cyril N. Pinchak, S.J., 33, is a native of Shaker Heights, Ohio. Before entering the Jesuits, he took an expedition in Alaska and two mission trips to Honduras. After ordination, he will work toward a Licentiate in Byzantine Theology at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome.

Fr. Stephen M. Pitts, S.J., 33, was born in New Orleans and grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. As a novice, he spent four months at the Casa de Los Pobres, a Franciscan-run soup kitchen in Tijuana, Mexico. After ordination, Fr. Pitts will spend six weeks in Chiapas, Mexico, doing pastoral work and field research at a Jesuit-sponsored cooperative, Yomol A’tel, that serves indigenous coffee growers.

Fr. Ryan J. Rallanka, S.J., 33, was born and raised in Sacramento, California. He entered the Society of Jesus after earning double bachelor’s degrees in 2006. After ordination, Fr. Rallanka will begin work at Seattle Preparatory School.

Fr. Angelo J. (A.J.) Rizzo, S.J., 36, was born and raised in Philadelphia. He worked at Loyola Blakefield in Baltimore as the assistant to the chaplain and the director of Christian service for three years, while also earning a master’s degree in pastoral counseling from Loyola University Maryland. After ordination, he will work at St. Ignatius Church in Baltimore.

Fr. Michael A. Rossmann, S.J., 32, was born and raised in Iowa City, Iowa. He served as editor-in-chief of The Jesuit Post, a website dedicated to faith-based commentary targeting young adults. After ordination, Fr. Rossmann will serve at Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Patrick’s Parishes in Milwaukee for the summer and will then return to Boston College to finish a Licentiate in Sacred Theology.

Fr. Sean M. Salai, S.J., 37, is from the northwest Indiana town of Cedar Lake. He earned a Master of Divinity degree while working as a chaplain at San Quentin State Prison and as a deacon at St. Isidore Catholic Church in Danville, California. Fr. Salai will be assigned to Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, after ordination.

Fr. Joseph E. Simmons, S.J., 34, was born and raised in Milwaukee. After ordination, Fr. Simmons will spend the summer working at St. Procopius Catholic Church in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago before beginning work on an advanced theology degree at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.

Fr. Christopher M. Staab, S.J., 40, is a native of Cleveland. Before joining the Jesuits, Fr. Staab worked for one year in Ireland for L’Arche, an organization where volunteers and men and women with disabilities live together in community. Following ordination, Fr. Staab will work at the Church of the Gesu in University Heights, Ohio, for the summer.

Fr. Philip P. Sutherland, S.J., 35, grew up in Chehalis, Washington. As part of his formation, he completed a 10-week intensive practicum in clinical pastoral education at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. After ordination, Fr. Sutherland will work at St. Leo Church in Tacoma, Washington, this summer before going to Marquette University in Milwaukee for doctoral studies in philosophy.

Fr. Brian J. Taber, S.J., 34, is a native of Davenport, Iowa. Highlights of his Jesuit formation include summers traveling, studying and working in India, Rome and Spain and homeless outreach through Saint Louis University. After ordination, Fr. Taber will be teaching, serving as sports chaplain and coaching at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago.

Fr. Sylvester G. Tan, S.J., 38, grew up near Atlanta. Before joining the Jesuits, he was an active member of the Eagle Scouts, helping to inaugurate the Venturing program and becoming the first recipient of its Silver Award. After ordination, Fr. Tan will work for a year as associate pastor at St. Francis Xavier College Church in Saint Louis.

Fr. Christian Wagner, S.J., 45, grew up in the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany. Missioned to Asia, he spent two years learning Mandarin in Taiwan and mainland China, followed by another year as a visiting research scientist. His first assignment as a priest will be at St. Michael’s Church in Munich, Germany.

Fr. Stephen N. Wolfe, S.J., 37, was born and raised in Milwaukee. During summers in formation, he took part in a cultural immersion in India, taught English in Poland, assisted at a parish in Jersey City, New Jersey, and studied French, German and Spanish. His first assignment after ordination will be at Gesu Catholic Church in Detroit.

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About the Society of Jesus in Canada and the United States

Founded in 1540 by Saint Ignatius Loyola, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) is the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church. Jesuit priests and brothers are involved in educational, pastoral and spiritual ministries around the world, practicing a faith that promotes justice. In Canada and the United States, there are 30 Jesuit colleges and 80 pre-secondary and secondary schools with a shared goal of developing competent, compassionate and committed leaders in the service of the Church and society. Jesuits minister in parishes and at retreat houses and serve as chaplains at prisons, hospitals, nursing homes and in the military. The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, headquartered in Washington, D.C., represents all Jesuits in Canada and the U.S. For more information on the Society of Jesus, visit www.jesuits.org.


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