On June 1, this year’s new priests for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will be ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop José H. Gomez at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels after years of formation at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo.
They will be sent forth to evangelize in a sprawling metropolis where so many yearn for answers to the deepest questions of their lives — answers that these men have personally found in Jesus Christ and his Church.
Each day this week, we’ll be introducing you to a new soon-to-be Father. Los Angeles, meet your new priests!
Before finding his vocation, Emmanuel Delfin had to rack up a few frequent miles first.
Born in the Philippines, his family moved often between the capital city of Manila and the country. When he was in the first grade, his family began immigrating to the U.S., and by the time he finished high school he had lived in Chicago, Hawaii, and Northern California.
He was brought up Catholic, but during high school Delfin fell away from the Church.
“Church for me was just going to a Mass and seeing my peers from high school there,” said Delfin. “Nothing else, really. That was the basis of my religion and it seemed really empty — especially seeing that my peers weren’t portraying the Gospel.”
He eventually pursued architecture school, an adventure that took him from Switzerland to Los Angeles to New Mexico, and finally back to LA. He remembers during college going as far as trying to prove to others that God didn’t exist.
Tragedy struck during his time in New Mexico. He woke up one morning to find out that a friend had been found murdered in her car on the side of the freeway. Anguished, he began to walk in circles around his block, passing a small chapel each time. Finally, a nun came outside during one of his rounds and smiling, invited him inside for Benediction.
“So I thought, ‘I’ll give that a try,’ ” Delfin remembered.
Kneeling in front of a statue of the Blessed Mother, Delfin tried to remember how to pray the rosary as he had seen his grandmother do. Looking at her face “got me more angry because she was at peace,” Delfin recalled.
But after praying for the first time in years, something changed inside Delfin: He described finding peace that day, even in the death of his friend.
Since entering the seminary, he’s seen his calling as the answer to a need for priests and the sacraments in the world.
“I can’t imagine my life — or anyone else’s life — without the Eucharist,” said Delfin, whose first parish assignment will be at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Santa Clarita. “Life is not life without the Eucharist. The world is not real without it.”
When asked how his own experience might help those who are struggling or confused — especially young people — come to know Christ, Delfin said he believes developing a relationship with Jesus is key.
“With this enthusiasm and great love for God — they’ll come around,” Delfin said, referring to youth. “They’ll see there’s great worth in that; and that the world can offer many things but nothing can compare to that.”
Pablo Kay is the editor of Angelus.
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