In 1989, Archbishop Roger Mahony was in his fourth year of heading the largest archdiocese in the country whose Catholic population was more than three million.
In Camarillo, St. John’s Seminary was celebrating its golden jubilee, with priests ordained that spring including men from the Dioceses of Orange, San Diego, Tucson and Pago Pago, American Samoa, as well as Los Angeles.
At the June 10, 1989 ordination in St. Vibiana’s Cathedral — two weeks before the death of Cardinal Timothy Manning at age 79 — Archbishop Mahony exhorted Los Angeles’ new priests to be men of prayer and reconciliation, “to bring the compassion of the Lord where there is brokenness and hurt.”
Twelve priests now serving in the L.A. Archdiocese are celebrating their silver jubilees this year, including three members of St. John’s class, one incardinated priest and members of religious orders.
Father Roland (Rolly) Astudillo, incardinated in May for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, was born in 1964, in Kiangan, a small town in the northern Philippines (Ifugao Province). He was raised there and attended St. Joseph Church and Catholic school in the Diocese of Baguio. On Nov. 8, 1989, he was ordained at St. Joseph Church, and served his priestly ministry in the Philippines until coming to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 2005. He served at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Montebello (2005-09), and St. Mary, Palmdale (2009-11). In 2011, he was named administrator of Our Lady of Lourdes, Tujunga, and will celebrate his silver jubilee there Nov. 16, 12:30 p.m.
Father Thomas Baker was born in St. Charles, Mo., in 1959, and after moving to Los Angeles with his family he attended St. Pancratius School in Lakewood and Pius X High School in Downey. He then studied at Northrup Institute of Technology and worked for two years at McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach before entering St. John’s Seminary. As associate pastor Father Baker served at St. Joseph the Worker in Winnetka for five years and at Our Lady of Guadalupe, Hammel Street, for three years. In 1997 he was appointed pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe, Rosehill, and then pastor at Sacred Heart in Lancaster in 2005 where he currently ministers. Besides his parish work, Father Baker is an enthusiastic athlete, having participated in 26 triathlons in order to be “a healthy, happy and productive priest for God and God’s people.”
Father Joshua Peter Lee, a member of St. John’s class, was ordained by Archbishop Mahony on June 3 in St. Vincent Church as a Benedictine priest of St. Andrew’s Priory, Valyermo. He was incardinated for the archdiocese in 1996, having already served at St. Mary, Palmdale, and St. Alphonsus, East L.A. In 1999 Father Lee was named administrator at St. Hilary, Pico Rivera, and then pastor in 2000. Born in Crosby, England, in 1943 he grew up in L.A. in St. Vincent parish and graduated from Loyola High School. Before finishing his theological studies at St. John’s he attended Mt. Angel Seminary in Oregon. His prior work included heading the burn unit and service as a critical care nurse, educator and director of nurses in a hospital in Washington, D.C.
Father Rigoberto Rodriguez was born in Michoacan, Mexico, in 1948. His home town of Angamacutiro means “place of fishermen.” At his ordination he said: “I am thankful to the Lord for calling me to His service and giving honor to the meaning of my hometown’s name. I am ready and willing to begin my ministry as a ‘fisher of men’ in St. Margaret Mary Alacoque parish in Lomita.” He served there for four years and was also an associate pastor at St. Louis of France, La Puente; St. Thomas the Apostle, L.A.; St. Gertrude, Bell Gardens; and administrator of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Hammel Street, in 2003. In 2005 Father Rodriguez was named its pastor, and in 2011 he was appointed pastor at St. Emydius, Lynwood.
Religious order and extern priests
Father Javier Alvarez, OFM, was born in 1950 and ordained Feb. 25, 1989. He is a Franciscan Friar and served at St. Joseph and St. Francis of Assisi churches in L.A. after directing Casa San Felipe de Jesus.
Father Frederick Byaruhanga, an extern priest for the archdiocese, is a native of Uganda born in 1960 and ordained July 23, 1989. He is a resident at St. Joan of Arc, L.A. and serves as a chaplain at the Veterans Administration.
Father Alfredo Delgado, MCIU, is a member of the Missionaries of Christ. Born in 1961 in Monterrey, Mexico, he was ordained Aug. 4, 1989 and has served at St. Martha, Valinda, and (currently) St. John Neumann, Santa Maria.
Father John Meyer was born in 1952 in Lincoln, Neb., and ordained Aug. 12, 1989. He is a member of Opus Dei and resides at the center in Los Angeles.
Father Alex Mubenga, CJ, is a member of the Josephite Fathers and lives at the center in Santa Maria. He was born in 1960 in Bena-Makima, Congo and ordained June 11, 1989.
Father Gregory Semeniuk, CM, was born in 1962 in Chelm, Poland. A Vincentian priest ordained May 28, 1989, he is a faculty member at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo.
Father Harold Snider, OFM Cap., is a Capuchin Franciscan and a resident at Old Mission Santa Ines, Solvang. He was born in 1954 in Stamford, Conn., and ordained June 10, 1989.