When Father Aidan Carroll first stepped on a plane to travel to “the new world,” he was frightened.“It was challenging coming to L.A., scary,” he recalled recently. “There was a sense of loneliness, saying good-by to the family. At that time there was no communication like there is today, and I was moving more than 6,000 miles away.”Father Carroll was 24 then and had just been ordained from the Seminary of All Hallows in Dublin, Ireland, together with three fellow priests, including Msgr. Francis Wallace, former head of the archdiocesan matrimonial tribunal and former St. John’s Seminary vicar for canonical services. Together with six other priests, both were honored during the annual Chrism Mass March 25 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, where Archbishop José Gomez thanked them for their “dedication to the Church.” ‘I’m so grateful’Father Carroll and Father Wallace were part of a group of four Irish priests ordained in 1963 specifically for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, at a time when hundreds of priests and religious men and women were formed in Ireland’s seminaries and novitiates, then sent to missions throughout the world. Many of them settled permanently in their adopted countries, leaving their families behind.Things have drastically changed since arriving in California 50 years ago, said Msgr. Carroll, president of La Puente’s Bishop Amat Memorial High School. With advanced technology today, he keeps “close contact” with a brother and a sister-in-law who still reside in Dublin.What kept him in Los Angeles? “Love for the Church and for God,” he answered. “This is not a temporary job,” he said of the priesthood. “I’m so grateful for my calling.”And he is also thankful for his assignments in the education field, where he is constantly “challenged and energized” by the younger generations.As an educator, “I see them more than their pastor does,” he said of the students. “They energize me and lead me into doing greater things.”His parish assignments include St. Augustine, Culver City; St. Gregory, Whittier; and St. Robert Bellarmine, Burbank. But he has spent most of his priestly ministry in education.He began serving as a part-time middle school religion teacher, an assignment that awakened in him a “real desire” to work in Catholic education, which he saw as a means for evangelization.He went on to earn a master’s degree in education, took doctorate courses, and taught and was principal at St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs, and Pius X High School in Downey.After serving as archdiocesan superintendent of elementary schools, Msgr. Carroll has headed Bishop Amat High School for the last 10 years, a position he says he is preparing to leave when he turns 75 this year.Although in the last 25 years Catholic education has “changed radically,” with increased tuition and religious faculty and leadership gradually replaced by lay professionals, Msgr. Carroll believes that Catholic families still place great value on Catholic education.‘A logical choice’His Spanish fluency gained during six years as a missionary in Mexico and South America made Carmelite Father Thomas Alkire a “logical choice,” for an assignment in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.After serving in the domestic and foreign missions for 37 years, the associate pastor of St. Raphael Church (for the last seven years) said “retirement is a bad word.” Still, he admits that he prays to return to mission work, specifically in Chile, where he served as a missionary from 1968-73, and was “astonished and blessed” by the solidarity of families with whom he worked.His spiritual life and interest for the Carmelites began when he started serving as an altar boy in a church administered by the religious order in Chicago. Then he was enrolled in a Carmelite-run high school, where he affirmed his calling. Entering the Carmelite community at age 17, he was ordained 10 years later at Immaculate Conception Church in Washington, D.C., by Archbishop Philip Hannan, and later earned a master’s degree in history methodology.A retreat facilitator as well, Father Alkire admits that the spiritual life “is not an easy way to go.” His biggest challenge has been to be “real contemplative,” to be “happy no matter what, and have a sense of belonging.”Setting aside a time for contemplation, or “entering the presence of God and experiencing his love,” is very important in the Christian’s life, he added.‘Working for the poor’“I joined the Scalabrinians because I believe in working for the poor,” Missionary of St. Charles Borromeo (Scalabrinian) Father Louis “Luigi” Gandolfi, told The Tidings, shortly before joining Archbishop Gomez, Cardinal Emeritus Roger Mahony, the auxiliary bishops and other seven jubilarians for the golden jubilarians photograph at the Cathedral residence.Born in Italy, Father Gandolfi knows firsthand the life of the immigrant. He studied and was ordained in New York, where many Europeans landed between the late 19th century and early 20th century. For more than three years, Father Gandolfi has served as an associate pastor at St. Peter’s Italian Church in Chinatown, an area that has observed demographic changes throughout the years. The neighborhood is currently populated by a growing low-income Latino community mixed with Filipinos and Italians, including descendants of immigrant families.Father Gandolfi said it has been a great honor, “a challenge,” to serve the immigrant community in that area of L.A. as they face more pressures, including deportation and separation of families. “We are expecting that the United States government will do justice to immigrants for the benefit of society as a whole,” he added.In addition to Msgrs. Carroll and Wallace, and Fathers Alkire and Gandolfi, the 2013 golden jubilarians include Father Francis Colborn, Msgr. Tobias English, Father Roderic Guerrini, Msgr. William Leser, Msgr. Jeremiah Murphy, Msgr. Timothy O’Connell, Father Daniel O’Sullivan, Redemptorist Father William Adams, Jesuit Father Augusto Berrio, Society of the Precious Blood Father William James Delaney, Father Jozef Draugialis, Franciscan Father John Gini, Maryknoll Father Richard Timothy Ouellette, Father Antonio Rodriguez and Congregation of St. Joseph Father Sylvan Schiavo. Profiles of the golden and silver jubilarian priests serving in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will be featured later this year in the Tidings.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0419/jubilarians/{/gallery}