When Father Jaime Arriaga left Mexico at age 17 and returned to California where he had lived briefly, he didn’t realize that was the last time he’d see his parents for decades.

But 23 years later, his parents arrived from Mexico in the early morning of June 1 to see their son in a new country, a new life, and with a new title: priest.

Arriaga was one of 11 men — along with Miguel Cabrera, Joseph Cho, Thomas Green, Anthony Huynh, Eric Mejia, Eduardo Pruneda, Alejandro Reynaga, Marko Rudela, Lucio Trinidad, and Stephen Watson — ordained as new priests for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in a special event at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. More than 3,500 invited guests and 260 priests attended the ceremony featuring the biggest priest ordination class in the archdiocese since 2008.

After seeing his parents and experiencing the Rite of Ordination, Arriaga was full of emotions.

“There was a time when I cried and I just couldn’t stop,” he said. “There was a beautiful moment when we were receiving blessings from the priests. I don’t know who it was but he told me ‘Jaime, God loves you.’ And that just gave me so much peace.”

Emotions were on display both during and after the ordination. Tears, laughter, hugs, excitement, and more.

However, in Archbishop José Gomez’s homily, the most important one was love.

Gomez addressed the 11 ordinandi by pointing out Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John — “love one another as I have loved you” — to his 12 apostles that he chose to be the first priests….

Later in his homily, Archbishop Gomez noted the challenges happening in the world today, but also said people are looking for love and Jesus, offering priests unique opportunities to evangelize, including the ongoing National Eucharistic Revival.

To begin the Rite of Ordination, each candidate’s name was read aloud, and they stood and announced their presence. After Archbishop Gomez recited his proclamation and found them worthy, the cathedral broke out into applause and they received their first standing ovation of the day.

After reciting the Promise of the Elect, the 11 prostrated themselves at the altar while the Litany of the Saints was sung….

For family members of the new priests, the day was a culmination of years of hope, dreams and prayer.

For Father Reynaga’s sister, Lorena, she felt proud that her brother was fulfilling a wish that their maternal grandmother — also his baptismal godmother — had hoped for years before she died 12 years ago: to have a priest in the family.

“She’s seeing it now,” she said. “She got the best seat in the house.”

Guillermina Cabrera described her son, Father Miguel Cabrera, as a good student who wanted to join the FBI, but she noticed a change in her son once he began attending Catholic Mass and joining activities while at San Diego State’s Newman Center.

From Angelus News