Archdiocese welcomes eight new priests as annual ordination mass resumed indoors
June 5, 2021  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

Archbishop José H. Gomez ordained eight new priests today for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as the annual Ordination Mass was held once again inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Last year’s ordination was held outdoors, in compliance with public health guidelines due to the pandemic. The ordination was open to a limited amount of family members and friends of the ordinands, also following Covid-19 current guidelines for indoor worship services. -Archbishop Gomez was joined by the Archdiocese’s Auxiliary Bishops and priest to concelebrate the Mass.


“These months have been difficult for all of us. It has been hard for our priests to be separated from their people,” said Archbishop Gomez in his homily. “You are ‘priests of the pandemic generation,’ as I said to the new priests last year. And that is not a slogan. Every generation of priests faces its own unique challenges in terms of evangelization. The Church’s mission to this generation will be shaped in many ways by the losses and disappointments of these past months. First, the loss of loved ones or their livelihoods or their security. And, also, the fact that many of our neighbors are questioning their faith in God and are struggling to have hope for the future. As his priests, Our Lord is calling you to lead this generation to a new awakening, a new opening to the reality and the power of the living God.” Please see full homily attached.


The men who will enter the priesthood are Fr. Patrick Ayala-Garcia, Fr. César Guardado Marín, Fr. Andrew Hedstrom, Fr. Sergio Hidalgo, Fr. Francis Kim, Fr. Jihoon Kim, Fr. Michael Masteller, and Fr. Matthew Miguel. 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 Sunday, June 6, and will begin their parish assignments on July 1.


“These eight men of diverse ages and backgrounds have responded generously to the call from Jesus to serve as His priests in our local Church,” said Fr. Sam Ward, the Archdiocese’s director of Vocations. “Like all of us, they have endured and persevered through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic during the final year and a half of their seminary formation. Please pray for them as they will begin their first parish assignments on July 1.”


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.


The new priests for the Archdiocese are:


Fr. Patrick Ayala-Garcia

Hometown: Santa Clarita, California

Home parish: Our Lady of Peace, Santa Clarita

First parish assignment: Santa Clara, Oxnard

Fr. Patrick Ayala-Garcia was born in Glendale, California, the only child of a Mexican father and a Guatemalan mother. He attended Catholic education for most of his childhood, the time when he began to hear the call to the priesthood. When he graduated from Bishop Alemany High School, his discernment began, while he worked with his father in a catering business. After a year at California State University Northridge, he was accepted to the Juan Diego House of priesthood formation (now Queen of Angels Center for Priestly Formation) in Gardena and at the same time enrolled at El Camino College, where he earned an associate degree in Social Behavioral studies. He transferred to California State University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a minor in Business Administration. At St. John’s Seminary he earned a Master’s in Divinity. His advice to those considering the priesthood is “Do not be afraid because God will always be with you and his plans are better than any we could come up with.”


Fr. César Guardado Marín

Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska

Home parish: St. Didacus, Sylmar

Parish assignment: St. Emydius, Lynwood

Fr. César Guardado Marín, the oldest of seven children, was born in El Salvador from Honduran parents, who worked in the fields, where the Catholic Church was present to their family. During the civil war in El Salvador in the 1980s, the Guardados migrated to the United States. After several years in Los Angeles, the family moved to Omaha, NE, where attended middle school, high school, and undergraduate studies at Bellevue University. During these years, he and his parents were very involved in parish ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Omaha, where he started discerning the priesthood, while attending college. He became part of the parish’s vocation discernment group, which was invited by Archbishop José H. Gomez to visit the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It was 2012, and since then Fr. Guardado Marín has been living at St. Didacus Church in Sylmar.


Fr. Andrew Hedstrom

Hometown: San Bernardino, California

Home parish: Our Lady of Peace, North Hills

First parish assignment: Holy Family, South Pasadena

Fr. Andrew Hedstrom, the eldest of two boys, was born in Loma Linda, California, and raised in San Bernardino, where he attended school and earned a BA in Criminal Justice from California State University, San Bernardino in 2009. In 2007, while still in college, he joined the U.S. Army and served in the reserve Military Police Corps for eight years, with tours of duty and training sending him across country and to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He received a Master’s of Divinity at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo.


Fr. Sergio Hidalgo

Hometown: Puerto Barrios, Guatemala

Home parish: Divine Saviour, Los Angeles

Parish assignment: Santa Rosa de Lima, San Fernando

Born in Guatemala as the second of four children of a Catholic family, Fr. Sergio Hidalgo moved to Los Angeles in 1999 together with his family. Before entering the priesthood, he worked in many capacities, including as electronic technician, parking attendant, mathematics tutor, Amazon associate and parish secretary. In his home parish he served as a certified catechist, lector, extraordinary minister of the Holy Communion, and sacristan. He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from California State University, Los Angeles and in the fall of 2013, he began his formation at St. John’s Seminary, Camarillo.


Fr. Paul Francis Kim

Hometown: Cerritos, California

Home parish: St. Raphael Korean Catholic Center, Norwalk

Parish assignment: St. Mel, Woodland Hills

Fr. Paul Francis Kim was born in Masan, Korea and came to the U.S. as an infant with his parents and grew up in the counties of Los Angeles and Orange County. His mother instilled the Catholic faith to him and his two sisters, and he says although growing up he dreaded the mandatory nightly family rosaries then he later realized that “a family that prays together stays together.” He also delayed pursuing his priestly vocation, until in college he found a special interest in theology, “its willingness to explore the ever-deepening part of our interior life.”


Fr. Jihoon Kim

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Home parish: The 103 Saints Korean Catholic Center, Torrance

First parish assignment: St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Santa Clarita

Fr. Jihoon Kim has had a personal relationship with Christ ever since he heeded the call, at age 7, to become a Catholic, completely on his own in South Korea. He is fond of saying, “I converted myself,” yet when years later he heard the calling to the priesthood the thought it was a mistake. He was focused on making it in the music industry, praying to God to “make me rich and famous.” For those who struggle to hear the Lord he says he will tell them there are two ways to find him: the Eucharist and the Blessed Sacrament.


Fr. Michael Masteller

Hometown: Santa Paula, California

Home parish: St. Sebastian, Santa Paula

First parish assignment: St. Helen, South Gate

Raised in Santa Paula in Ventura County, Fr. Michael Masteller, the second oldest of four children, says the most important things growing up was God and the family. He attended St. Augustine Academy from fifth grade to high school, after previously being homeschooled. He earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Thomas Aquinas College, and it was during that time when he started considering living a life dedicated to Christ. After graduating, he moved to Wisconsin, where he worked as a high school teacher of theology. Once he discerned, he wanted to enter the priesthood, he moved back to California, where he had the opportunity to serve the people that have known him all his life as a transitional deacon St. Sebastian in Santa Paula. At St. John’s Seminary he received a Master of Arts in Theology degree.


Fr. Matthew Miguel

Hometown: Moreno Valley, California

Home parish: Holy Family, Glendale

Parish assignment: Our Lady of Assumption, Ventura

Fr. Matthew Miguel was born in Inglewood and grew up in Moreno Valley from parents who migrated from the Philippines, who instilled the Catholic faith in him and his older sister. After graduating high school, he became a religious missionary with the Oblate Apostles of the Two Hearts, and while in that minister he finished a Philosophy degree at Mater Redemptoris College in the Philippines. Prior to entering St. John’s Seminary, where he earned a master’s in divinity, he worked with his family as a financial advisory.


For more information and to view the ordination, visit and To watch the full Mass please visit,