“Keep always before your eyes the example of the Good Shepherd who came not to be served but to serve and who came to seek and to save what was lost.”

These familiar words of the Sacrament of Holy Orders capture the hopes of both Thomas Davis and Alfredo Ledesma as they prepare for their own ordination to the priesthood on May 18.

Prior to that monumental day, Davis and Ledesma explain that they both share a deep love for God’s people, and they are committed to serving them as best they can.

Davis, 30, was born and raised in Moreno Valley, where he first began serving the diocese as the youth minister at his home parish, St. Christopher. While serving at St. Christopher, Davis was enrolled as a full-time political science student at Cal Poly Pomona with the intention to continue to law school.

“I believe that helping at the parish and being more involved in parish ministry not only helped me discern my priestly vocation but was instrumental in my own personal conversion,” Davis said.

In addition to earning a bachelor’s degree in political science, Davis has worked on a horticulture farm, at a movie theater, and at a non-profit immigration legal clinic prior to entering the St. Junipero Serra House of Formation in 2017. Davis studied there for two years, then moved on to theological studies at the Assumption Seminary in San Antonio….

“My goal is to be faithful to God and the people so that we can grow and deepen our mutual love of God,” Davis said. “I am particularly interested in catechesis and marriage preparation. The People of God are the treasure of the Church. Married couples/families are the cells that make up the Christian community, and I would like to be an instrument of grace for them.”

Ledesma’s path to the priesthood was not as quick as that of Davis. Ledesma, 41, was born in San Luis Potosí, Mexico and raised in Chicago. After graduating from high school, Ledesma made the decision to begin working and spent 14 years employed at different factories in Chicago.

“After completing high school in Chicago, I chose not to pursue further education, feeling that the academic path was not suited for me,” Ledesma said. “My focus shifted towards working, earning an income, and contributing to my family’s household expenses, which I successfully managed. Like many in their early 20s, I envisioned a future of marriage and starting a family. Yet, it became evident that God had a different journey for me.”

At the age of 25, Ledesma says he began to feel a persistent inner calling toward the priesthood, and this led him into a period of deep personal reflection and uncertainty for the next six years. While attending a vocational discernment retreat, Ledesma began to acknowledge a gentle persistent voice guiding him to the priesthood, but a year spent in missionary work ultimately affirmed his path.

“During my discernment process, a poignant memory was hearing a retired priest’s appeal for prayers for vocations during Mass,” Ledesma said. “His words, ‘I am wondering who would take my place,’ struck a chord with me, echoing the call of Isaiah in the Bible, who responded to the Lord’s question, ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?’ with a resolute, ‘Here I am… send me!’ This moment was a sign, leading me to enter the seminary at the age of 31.”

Ledesma entered the St. Junipero House of Formation in 2014 where he remained for four years, then spent one year interning and then spent the last four years at Assumption Seminary, where he completed his formation.

“As the date of May 18 edges closer, my emotions are a complex blend of anticipation and nervousness,” Ledesma said. “I am excited about embarking on a journey to which I have dedicated the last ten years of my life.”

“I recognize the necessity of building relationships, encouraging communal prayer, and engaging in collective action to address community needs,” Ledesma said. “In the future I see myself not merely as a leader but as a member of a living, breathing body of believers, where each person’s contribution is valued, and where together, we reflect the broader Church’s mission in the world. This understanding of community profoundly shaped my approach to the priesthood, emphasizing collaboration and mutual support.”

Ledesma says he hopes to achieve this goal through listening and pastoral counseling. He hopes to provide guidance and support to parishioners on their spiritual journeys and to make referrals to professionals whenever necessary to help serve God’s people as best as he can.

“My years of formation cultivated a profound understanding of the importance of listening—not merely as a passive act, but as a means to genuinely connect with others. This skill has been a tremendous tool for me, helping to build trust and create meaningful relationships with people.”

As the 2024 priest ordination nears, may we pray for these two men as they embark into their priesthood in the model of the Good Shepherd to serve the Diocese of San Bernardino. The ordination will be held on May 18 at 10 a.m. at St. Adelaide Church in Highland.

From IC Byte