June 1, 2023  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

Eight new priests will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on June 3, 2023 at 9 a.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (555 W. Temple Street). Archbishop José H. Gomez will preside over the Ordination Mass. As in prior years, the ordination is ticketed and will be open to a limited number of family members and friends of the ordinands. The Mass will be livestreamed via and

“Celebrating priestly ordinations is one of the great joys of my ministry. And I have been thinking a lot these days about the mystery of our Christian vocations — how God calls some of us to the priesthood or consecrated life, while calling others to serve him as laypeople, in their families and in all the many occupations in society,” wrote Archbishop Gomez in his biweekly column in Angelus News available at  

The men who will be entering the priesthood are Deacons Michael DiPietro, Cesar Galan f.s.p., Rene J-C Haarpaintner, Hieu D. Nguyen, Luis Gerardo Peña, Enrique Piceno Jr., Emmanuel Sanchez, and Sergio Sandoval Martinez. 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 will celebrate their first Mass as priests on Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 5, and will begin their parish assignments on July 1.

“This year we are blessed once again with eight men being ordained to the priesthood for our local Church. These men come from various backgrounds and ages from working professionally as a chiropractor and a physicist to entering seminary right after high school,” said Fr. Mike Perucho, the Archdiocese’s director of the Office for Vocations. “Wherever they came from, God had a plan for them. Encouraged and supported by family, friends and the faithful, they heard God’s voice and responded to Him. We pray for these men and that more men will enter deeper into relationship with Jesus through prayer so they may hear God’s voice and respond with their lives. Our Church will always need priests and we thank God for the ‘yes’ of these eight men.”

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 includes various rituals, rich in meaning and history, such as prostration, or when the men being ordained lay face down before the altar as a symbol of their dependence upon God and the prayers of the Christian community. They will also receive their investiture, the vest or robe used by the priests when they celebrate Mass, from a priest, and will be anointed with chrism oil, only used during baptisms and the anointing of the sick and dying.

Following are brief biographies of the soon-to-be priests. Video stories of each of the new priests is available at


Dcn. Michael DiPietro

Hometown: Pasadena, California

Home parish: St. Philip the Apostle Church, Pasadena

Parish assignment: St. John Vianney Church, Hacienda Heights

Dcn. Michael DiPietro likes to invoke a St. Charles de Foucauld quote when talking about his call to priesthood. “The moment I realized God existed; I knew I could not do otherwise than to live for him alone.” Having grown up in a very Catholic household, DiPietro was born and raised in Pasadena, the sixth of eight children in a devout Catholic family he had thoughts of becoming a priest as early as eighth grade, but the road was as direct as the Foucauld quote would have you believe. For him, it was more of a gradual unveiling of who God was and who God is. Click here to learn more about Dcn. Michael DiPietro.


Dcn. Cesar Galan

Hometown: Artesia

Home parish: Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

Assignment: St. Francis Medical Center, Lynwood (chaplaincy)/St. Raymond Church, Downey

In 2001 while recovering at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood after a gang-related incident that took the life of his brother and left him paralyzed at age 21, Galan says “I heard a voice deep inside of me just saying, ‘Do not be afraid, I’ll be with you always.” After his brother’s passing, Galan began a process of what he called “surrender.” In 2015, Galan made his perpetual profession of vows as a Friar of the Sick Poor in the chapel of St. Francis Medical Center — the same hospital where he’d been taken that fateful night. “I have to remind myself not to give up, to push past steps or whatever obstacle there might be so I can serve the Lord as he wants me to.” Click here to learn more about Dcn. Cesar Galan.


Deacon Rene Haarpaintner

Hometown: Sainte-Croix, Switzerland

Home parish: St. Brendan Church, Hancock Park

Parish assignment: St. Joseph Church, Carpinteria

Born in the picturesque town of Sainte-Croix near the border with France. While traveling through Europe he met his late wife Lauren (from Beverly Hills), they married, he became a chiropractor and the couple had two sons, now aged 29 and 25. Haarpaintner followed his late wife’s prediction and joined the seminary. During his parish internship year, the pastor encouraged him to speak to couples suffering amid the pandemic. Listening to them and giving advice “resonated” in him, given his personal experience with the ups and downs of marriage. “The family is so important. It’s the foundation of everything, of society, of a nation.” said Haarpaintner. Click here to learn more about Dcn. Rene Haarpaintner.


Deacon Hieu D. Nguyen

Hometown: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Home parish: Incarnation Church, Glendale

Parish assignment: St. Cornelius Church, Long Beach

Nguyen didn’t grow up Catholic, he lived the early part of his life in his native Vietnam, mostly with his mother and sister while his dad worked in the United States. At age 11, the rest of the family moved to St. Louis, Missouri and his father, previously a Buddhist, converted to Catholicism and wanted his son baptized. While pursuing advanced degrees at UC Santa Barbara, he says he heard God’s calling. “God already put the call in, in some of the ways he was speaking to me. I remember one of the passages was the Gospel of John: ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you,’” Nguyen said. Click here to learn more about Dcn. Hieu D. Nguyen.


Deacon Luis Gerardo Peña

Hometown: Autlán de Navarro, Jalisco, Mexico

Home parish: St. Martin of Tours Church, Los Angeles

Parish assignment: Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Northridge

At the age of six, Luis Gerardo Peña moved from Mexico to Downey, California. After his parents divorced when he was in middle school he returned to Mexico and at 17 he entered the seminary in Guadalajara, but due to violence in his hometown he decided to go back to California and enter the St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo. Peña knows what kind of Church he wants to bring to his flock after reading Spanish priest and author José Luis Martín Descalzo. “I started to read, and it painted an image of a Church, a young Church, an open Church,” Peña said. “One that was kind of depicted by Pope Francis — open arms, that embraces, that touches a world that is not scared to engage the world. And that was the image of the Church that I fell in love with.” Click here to learn more about Dcn. Luis Gerardo Peña.


Deacon Enrique Piceno Jr.

Hometown: El Monte, California

Home parish: St. Pius X Church, Santa Fe Springs

Parish assignment: St. Agnes Church, Los Angeles

When he entered St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, Piceno already had earned a degree from Cal State Los Angeles and became a physicist and went on to work at Northrop Grumman, helping engineers design and build F-15 jets. He had grown up Catholic, but “didn’t find it important” for much of his college years and 20s. But God had other plans. The idea of serving the Church was simply not going away. “I was always searching for something more and I couldn’t figure out what I was searching for,” Piceno said. “And it wasn’t until I started coming back to the faith that I realized what I was missing was that there was an emptiness in my life. God is always calling,” Piceno said. “But if you don’t make your faith and if you don’t make God important, you’re going to make something else more important, and you’re never going to be fulfilled.” Click here to learn more about Dcn Enrique Piceno Jr.


Deacon Emmanuel Sanchez

Hometown: Palmdale, California

Home parish: St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church, Santa Clarita

Parish assignment: Resurrection Church, Los Angeles

For Sanchez the journey began shortly after his first holy Communion, when he started as an altar server at age 9. He fell in love with it, trying to do as many Masses as he could. In his senior year at Paraclete High School in Lancaster, becoming a priest still hadn’t fully entered his mind, but a meeting with his school guidance counselor changed that. Sanchez was accepted into the Juan Diego House in Gardena to begin discernment. He went in with the idea that he would stay for a semester, maybe a year but went on to get a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Cal State Dominguez Hills and entered St. John’s Seminary. “I want to be able to help people remember that, even in the darkest of times, no matter what may happen, God is there for us,” Sanchez said. Click here to learn more about Dcn. Emmanuel Sanchez


Deacon Sergio Sandoval Martinez

Hometown: San Pedro Tolentino, Guanajuato, Mexico

Home parish: St. Joseph the Worker Church, Winnetka

Parish assignment: St. Philip Neri Church, Lynwood

Martinez was a practicing attorney in Mexico when he came to join his family in the United. He had been raised in Mexico by his grandparents. He first felt the call to be a priest as a teenager. But when he told his grandparents, they told him he was still too young. So, he waited. He continued his studies and eventually became a lawyer. After entering a seminary near Mexico City beginning formation, he got a call from his mother to say they had applied for him to immigrate to the U.S. He said no but later decided to make the move and join the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. As a priest, he looks forward to helping form “communities of love” that go beyond traditional divisions. “It’s not about the Hispanic community, it’s not about the Vietnamese community, it’s not about the Turkish community,” said Martinez. “It’s about the community of Jesus Christ.” Click here to learn more about Dcn. Sergio Sandoval Martinez.

For more information and to view the ordination, visit and LA Catholics – Angelus News.