On Aug. 8, 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 “Pandemic Class of 2020,” as they call themselves, has endured quarantine and a delayed ordination date, which was originally scheduled for May 30. But they all agree that the extra preparation time was providential.
In the days leading up to their ordination, we’ll be introducing a new soon-to-be Father. Los Angeles, meet your new priests!
Hometown: Santa Clarita
Home parish: St. Clare of Assisi Church, Canyon Country
Parish assignment: St. Charles Borromeo Church, North Hollywood
Though Jonathan Nestico was too young to remember, it is well-known within his family that when he was born, 31 years ago, his grandmother Monique soon after took him to St. Augustine Church in Culver City, where she was the director of religious education, walking with the infant in her arms, presenting him to her workmates as she repeated, “This is my grandson. He’s going to do amazing things.”
That amazing time appears to have arrived. Nestico’s first parish assignment as a priest will be St. Charles Borromeo Church in North Hollywood, a diverse faith community with a rich history, especially when it comes to assisting those experiencing homelessness.
As eager as Nestico is to celebrate the sacraments, he is also especially eager to minister to the homeless and the marginalized.
“Growing up in Santa Clarita, we were kind of in this bubble,” he said. “I was always very adamant about trying to reach out to the marginalized and the homeless. The people of St. Charles do so much outreach that I’m really excited about that.”
Talk to Nestico about his upbringing and it becomes clear that he was meant for the path he’s chosen. For as long as he can remember, he has been helping around the parish, whether as an altar server, usher, or singing in the choir.
“My life really did revolve around the Church and Church ministry, even in high school, when a lot of people fall away and question their faith.”
Interestingly enough, the people Nestico is referring to include himself. He admitted that at certain moments he definitely found himself “questioning” aspects of his spiritual life. But rather than panic or fall away, he decided to take matters into his own hands or, rather, heart and mind.
“I was doing my own research, not just taking the word of my parents or religion teachers,” he said. “Really doing my own thing, too.”
That thing included thoughts of a life outside of the priesthood, of a businessman’s suit as well as marriage and a family.
That changed when he found himself watching a video of seminarians talking about what convinced them to heed God’s call. One of the men said he heard God telling him, “If you don’t do it, who will?”
Nestico knew he would, knew he must.
“I had to do it,” he said. “God really knew how to play me. It was like, you’ve given your life to the Church and you can keep doing it. And you’ll do amazing things.”