It was the first time that most of them had witnessed the three-hour-long priesthood ordination, and they did not want to miss being blessed by six new priests — the first group of priests ordained by Archbishop José Gomez for the archdiocese.“I’m very excited for the first class ordained by Archbishop Gomez and I’m sure this will form a special bond between them,” Msgr. Craig Cox, rector of St. John’s Seminary, told The Tidings. “This is a historic moment.”Fathers Augustine Chang, Ernesto Jaramillo Zamora, Francisco Ho Seok Jin, John Sang-hun Lee, José Jes√∫s Martinez and Michael Alfred Yadao Perucho were ordained in a packed Cathedral by the archbishop, whose enthusiasm was apparent.“I personally feel joy because it is my first ordination of priests as the archbishop of Los Angeles,” he told the assembly after congratulating the new priests’ families as he began his homily. He promised to pray for them and for others to join in “answering the call to the great adventure of the priesthood.”While not everyone is called to the priesthood, the archbishop said, all are “called to holiness of life and to the service of Jesus Christ.” He invited the assembly to pray for the new priests and to renew their vocations and to “carry out God’s will in our own lives.”Then he addressed the newly ordained.“The priesthood is not about power or prestige,” he told the six young men. “It is not an office or an occupation. It is a sacrament. It is a response to God’s call to serve souls. “You are called to be other Christs,” he continued. “This is not a metaphor or a pretty idea. You are his voice and his hands.”Quoting Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Gomez described the priesthood as “a fellowship of service for God and with God.”Then citing the prophet Isaiah from the day’s readings, he told them that as priests they were anointed in the Spirit to “bring good tidings to the lowly; to heal the brokenhearted; to proclaim liberty in those in captivity. Your priesthood is a ministry of reconciliation through the healing love of God.”He reminded the new priests about the privilege of their priesthood. “This is not about you,” he added. “This is all about Jesus Christ.”He urged them to be models of love, faith and purity in their speech and behavior, to live “Eucharistically,” keeping the “family of God in communion of mind and heart with our Holy Father and with the universal Church.”The archbishop described the archdiocese he leads as a missionary Church with a responsibility for evangelization that goes beyond Los Angeles and California — “to a new evangelization of our country, our continent and our world.” He urged the new priests to study the life and example of Blessed Junípero Serra, to see him as an inspiration and intercessor in their own ministries, and to find ways to “translate” the Gospel for all with whom they work.After the homily came the ordination rite, in which the new priests were blessed by their parents, auxiliary bishops and dozens of concelebrating priests, followed by a one-minute standing ovation. Many in the assembly were overcome with emotion.“I just feel very happy for him,” said a tearful Monica Vasquez of Father Jaramillo, who served his transitional diaconate at St. Mariana de Paredes in Pico Rivera, where she attended.Minutes before the Mass, her mother Victoria Rodriguez and fellow parishioners shared their memories about the “charismatic” Mexican priest. “He visited the sick with us, sat at our Bible studies, visited homes during the Virgin of Guadalupe novena,” said the group of women, one of them hailing from Father Jaramillo’s hometown. “His joyous personality draws people to him.”Stella MinJung Kim, who met Father Jin years ago at St. Gregory Nazianzen’s parish youth group, came dressed in a Han Bok, a traditional Korean gown commonly used for weddings. “I am so honored that he asked me to be part of the ceremony,” said the 28-year-old nursing student, adding she never would have thought to see her friend become a priest. “He is so funny, nice and kind,” she said. Of Father Chang, Victoria Radleigh — youth minister of Lancaster’s Sacred Heart Church, where the priest worked as an intern — commented on the new priest’s transformation.“In one year he went from quiet and shy to open and loving,” said Radleigh. “He knows how to listen and is very pastoral, very humble.”Visibly proud, yet choking as she spoke, Father Martinez’s mother María Elena Martinez, reminisced.“‘Mom, I’m leaving too,’” she said he told her after his elder brother and younger sister had married. “‘Very good,’ I told him, ‘you have all my support.’” She explained how she had offered him to God upon his birth. “With his ordination I’ve completed my job [as a mother], I’ve given God all that he gave me,” she said.“He was sort of looking depressed the day I approached him at the church,” shared Deacon Mike Salvato of St. Anthony of Padua in East L.A., Father Martinez’s home parish. “‘I feel you’re going to be a priest,’ I told him that first day.”“I started praying for him six years ago,” said Berta Larios, a close friend of the Martinez family. “And from now on I will be praying even harder for him and the rest of the newly ordained priests.”{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2011/0611/ordination/{/gallery}