On June 3, Archbishop José H. Gomez will ordain eight new priests for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. 

The Class of 2023 has heard God calling them in the ups and downs of their professional careers, family lives, and the quiet intimacy of eucharistic adoration.

In the days leading up to their ordination, we’ll be introducing a new soon-to-be Father. Los Angeles, meet your new priests! 

Age: 41

Hometown: El Monte, California

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

Parish assignment: St. Agnes Church, Los Angeles

Enrique Piceno Jr. was sitting in Mass at St. Pius X Church in Santa Fe Springs, in his new city, his new parish. A singular statement came to his mind: Priesthood?

Having recently returned to the Church after years away, he dismissed it, of course. But then it came back.


He dismissed it again. Eight months later, it returned, then six months after that. Then four months. Soon, it turned to weeks, then days.

Finally, almost annoyed, Piceno reached out to the associate pastor there.

“I think I might be called to the priesthood,” Piceno told him. “This idea is not going away.”

The priest helped Piceno in the discernment process that followed. Eventually, he entered St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo.

Before entering the seminary, Piceno was a president of a local beer homebrewing club. He kept up the craft at St. John’s Seminary, where he trained younger seminarians to continue the tradition.

At the time, Piceno already had a career and even his own house. Fascinated with airplanes from a young age, Piceno earned a degree from Cal State Los Angeles and became an expert in software used in the aerospace industry. He landed a job with Boeing in Washington state, then came back to Southern California to work for 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.

Being an atypical seminarian, it was an adjustment coming from his old life.

“I went from having a nice queen-sized bed to a twin-sized bed. For the first six months, I felt like I was gonna fall off my bed every single day,” recalled Piceno. 

“I went from having my own life, doing basically whatever I wanted to do to come in here and basically living under somebody else’s roof.”

About to enter the priesthood, Piceno can see now how God worked in his life, from setting aside his faith for more than a decade to rediscovering the Church.

“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.” 

Piceno as a baby.

After his ordination, Piceno plans to travel to Mexico for a customary “first Mass” — and all the celebrating that goes with it — a trip that will bring his family’s journey full circle. His parents knew each other as young children in Huanímaro in the state of Guanajuato and later immigrated in the 1970s to the United States, where they got married. 

He can tell that his family’s excitement is growing, as the plan for a small family pilgrimage from Huanímaro to Mexico City has grown to suggestions on renting a huge charter bus.

“I think my mom was more excited than I am right now,” Piceno said.

Apart from celebrating the sacraments and all the other tasks and responsibilities that come with ministry, Piceno said he knows he’s called to search out those “lost sheep” searching for something they might not yet understand — as once he did.

“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.”