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! 

The youngest member of the Class of 2019, Miguel Ángel Ruiz knew by the time he graduated high school that God was calling him to something different. 

Ruiz grew up the second of three children in Yahualica, a small town outside of Guadalajara, before his family immigrated to the U.S. when he was 10. Since as early as he can remember, his family frequently attended Mass, eucharistic adoration and special devotions. 

“That nurtured my faith a lot since a young age,” said Ruiz. 

It also nurtured his vocation to the priesthood, which Ruiz said was shaped by the faith he saw in family members during difficult situations and by priests he grew up around in both countries who “loved their priesthood.”

“They celebrated the sacraments with so much love, and they really cared for the people of God,” recalled Ruiz. “That was a good inspiration for me to continue in my discernment until I entered the seminary.”

After high school graduation, Ruiz enrolled at the Juan Diego House in Gardena (since renamed the Queen of the Angels Center for Priestly Transformation), where college-age seminarians aspiring to the diocesan priesthood live. He lived there for five years before spending the last five years at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo. 

As he prepares to embark on the fulfillment of those 10 years of studies and formation, Ruiz is simply grateful for “the blessing to follow Jesus” despite the difficulties that are sure to arise. 

“In life there can be many different challenges and in the priesthood especially, nowadays, it can be seen as a huge challenge,” Ruiz told Angelus News. “But I am confident that I am not by myself.”

His newest mission, Ruiz believes, depends on the prayers of the Catholics he’ll be serving. 

“It’s the Lord who has sent us here, so I trust that God will be able to help us in any challenges that we may have,” said Ruiz. “And that is the same message that I bring the people of God: to trust in God amidst of the challenges.”

Caption: Miguel Ángel Ruiz with older brother Luis (left), younger sister Lupita, and his father, Reyes, at a family gathering. (MIGUEL ÁNGEL RUIZ)

For the young people of his generation, Ruiz believes that the Church can reach them the same way she reached him: through the personal witness of holy priests. 

Ruiz is eager to get started at St. Elizabeth. “I’m waiting for that wonderful day when I will be able to go and minister to them, to go and learn from them, and most especially to share our faith.”

Pablo Kay is the editor of Angelus. 

SPECIAL OFFER! 44 issues of Angelus for just $9.95! Get the finest in Catholic journalism with first-rate analysis of the events and trends shaping the Church and the world, plus practical advice from the world’s best spiritual writers on prayer and Catholic living, along with great features about Catholic life in Los Angeles. Subscribe now!