Archbishop José H. Gomez ordained eight new priests August 8 for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in a Ordination Mass that, for the first time, was held outdoors on the plaza of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, complying with public health guidelines for worship gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Previously, the ordination has been held in June and open to the public, family and friends of the new priests, but due to the current crisis, it was pushed back and limited to 100 people.
“This is a unique celebration—the first time we’ve ever celebrated an ordination outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,” Gomez said in his homily.
“The priesthood is so important, not only for the church, but also for the whole world. Every priest is a sign of God’s love, a sign that he is still working in the world, still carrying out his plan of redemption. A priest should always be transparent. People should always be able to ‘see right through you,’ and through you see the love of Christ. Your ordination today is historic. My brothers, you are the first priests of the pandemic generation.”
The men who entered the priesthood today are Frs. Filiberto Cortez, Daniel Garcia, Michael Mesa, Jonathan Nestico, Justin Oh, Thomas Park, Manuel Ramos and Louie Reyes.
All have completed five to seven years of theological formation at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, preceded by four years at Queen of Angels Center (for those who had not earn a university degree, which is mandatory), plus their service as transitional deacons and a year-long internship at different parishes in the Archdiocese. They celebrated their first Mass as priests on August 9 and will begin their parish assignments on September 1.
“After a months-long delay due to the pandemic, we are overjoyed at the ordination of the eight new priests for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles,” said Fr. Sam Ward, director of the Archdiocese’s Office of Vocations, spearheading the event.
“Like many with graduations and weddings, plans for the Ordination Mass have changed several times. Nonetheless, our eight new priests are very grateful to God that their big day is finally here. They will get to work right away in their first parish assignments on September 1 preaching the good news of the Gospel of Christ and celebrating the Sacraments.”
The Ordination Mass is a sacramental ceremony in which a man becomes a priest and is enabled to minister in Christ’s name and that of the Church. The essential rite of the Sacrament takes place during the Laying on of Hands and Prayer of Consecration, an ancient tradition in the church, mentioned in the Bible.
The ceremony included various rituals, rich in meaning and history, including prostration, or when the men being ordained lay face down before the altar as a symbol of his dependence upon God and the prayers of the Christian community. They also received their investiture, the vest or robe used by the priests when they celebrate Mass, from a priest and were anointed with chrism oil, only used during baptisms and the anointing of the sick and dying.
To view the entire Ordination Mass, visit https://youtu.be/XZ3BdGaRucI.