LOS ANGELES — Eight men took the final step into priesthood this month. Among them was 31-year old Michael Mesa, a man who grew up Catholic but admitted to attending mass on Sunday mornings half asleep as a child.

What You Need To Know

  • Eight priests were ordained at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels on Aug. 8

  • The ceremony was held later than usual due to COVID-19

  • The L.A. Archdiocese had to follow several protocols due to the pandemic, such as limiting the number of attendees 

  • Among the new priests was Father Michael Mesa, who had planned to become a doctor before entering priesthood

“I definitely took my faith for granted when I was in high school and college, where I was just too concerned with what am I going to do when I grew up, how am I going to make money, and just thinking about all these things that the world offers,” said Father Mesa.

He graduated with a degree in biology from USC and had taken a year off to apply for medical school when he decided he wanted to become a priest.

“I remember my mom, she said, ‘What are you thinking? Don’t you want to go to med school and be a doctor?’ I said, ‘Well you’re going to have to take this up with God.’”

“I’ve always backed my son on whatever he does,” said Samuel Mesa, Michael’s father. “Of course, my wife here was in tears.”

Elvia Mesa admits at first it was difficult to accept. “I thought he was going to be a doctor, but the Lord called him and he said, ‘Mom, I’m going to be a priest.’”

Before becoming a priest, Father Mesa completed seven years of spiritual and theological formation. He says becoming a priest during a pandemic was very different.

For starters, the ceremony was held outside. Sanitizer was used in almost every part of the ceremony, and only 100 people were invited — mostly family and friends of the soon-to-be priests. Every attendee was six feet apart, all of them wearing masks. Plus this year’s ceremony was later than usual.

From here, the new priests are assigned to a parish by the archbishop within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Father Mesa will be working at Holy Family Catholic Church in Glendale, helping people maneuver through the challenges of this pandemic.

“This is what being a priest of Jesus Christ is, and to be that instrument of love and grace for other people is a beautiful gift and one that’s overwhelming, and I’m excited to start.”

While there was no public blessing at this year’s ceremony, Father Mesa was able to give his first blessing to his parents.