TORRANCE, CA — While Holy Week marks a sacred time for Christians, many Filipino Catholics continue to follow Jesus by entering the priesthood. A new center is expected to help those answering the priesthood’s calling.
This patch of land where an old apartment building turned convent rests is the future of the Catholic church in Los Angeles.
Archbishop Jose Gomez blessed and broke ground of the new Queen of the Angels Center for Priestly Transformation in Torrance.
“Vocations to the priesthood; that’s one of my priorities in the Archdiocese. And I will say that Diego House and Lady of Angels formation of priest center is really helping all of us to happen in the Archdiocese.”
The Queen of Angels has operated for 15 years in 8 different spaces, each year giving about 30 young men the chance to answer a calling — like Jeff Roxas, a third-year seminarian that chose the altars over hospitals.
“The only aspect that I love about doctors is that they’re so caring to others, but at the same time I was so involved in my parish community,” he said. “Faith and service really combined and collided, and God gave me the answer and followed me into the path of the priesthood.”
For the next 18 months, classrooms, dorms and a chapel will be built to house 40 seminarians under one roof.
After they complete their undergraduate studies here, they transfer to Saint John’s Seminary in Camarillo before they are ordained as full-fledged priests.
“I’m excited. We’re all going to be together this time. It’s not like separate houses that we’ve had before,” said seminarian Jerick Alenton.
“It’s a beautiful thing. Something like this is so extraordinary because it shows God’s work in this Archdiocese,” said seminarian John Coronel.
While a handful of Filipino seminarians look forward to calling this place home, Filipino priest Ray Marquez also looks forward to helping them in their journey as an associate director.
For the past 15 years, Queen of Angels has ordained 13 priests — and now with this center, the numbers aren’t only are expected to grow faster. Being under one roof will also help grow a stronger brotherhood.