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placeholder May 9, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 9   •   Oakland, CA
Three to be ordained to the priesthood on May 13

Three men — two from the Philippines and one from El Salvador — will be ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, at 7 p.m. May 13 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland.

John Alain Carillo, Luis Alexander Lopez and John Erick Tabago Villa have completed their studies at St. Patrick's Seminary and University in Menlo Park. The three were ordained as transitional deacons last fall, and have served at parishes in the diocese: Rev. Mr. Carillo at All Saints in Hayward; Rev. Mr. Lopez at St. Mary Parish in Walnut Creek; and Rev. Mr. Villa at St. Michael Parish in Livermore.

The public is invited to attend the ordination, and the reception that will follow in the Cathedral Event Center.

Each of the newly ordained priests will travel to his homeland to celebrate Mass for family and friends before returning to the Oakland diocese to begin his first assignment as parochial vicar. Rev. Mr. Carillo has been assigned to St. Joseph Basilica Parish in Alameda; Rev. Mr. Lopez to St. Anthony Parish in Oakley; and Rev. Mr. Villa to Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Brentwood.




John Carillo
"This is a response to God's call"

John Carillo entered the seminary when he was no older than 13. At 36, after 15 years in seminaries in the Philippines and the United States, he is days away from his ordination to the priesthood, which he approaches with excitement and "the sense of joy and happiness."

"I always believe this is not my priesthood," he said. "This is a response to God's call. It is Christ's priesthood, in which I participate, where I share the charism and gift of the priesthood.

"I believe as a priest I have to be a vessel where the people of God encounter God, and at the same time God can encounter the humanity of the Church."

The priest, he said, is "the locus, where the meeting between man and God take place."

 

Masses of Thanksgiving

John Carillo

All Saints Parish

22824 Second St., Hayward
Saturday, May 14
5 p.m. English

St. Anthony Parish
971 O'Hara Ave., Oakley
Sunday, May 15
10 a.m. English and Noon Spanish

St. Edward Parish
5788 Thornton Ave., Newark
Sunday, May 29
11:30 a.m. English

 
Rev. Mr. Carillo's journey to the priesthood began in his native Philippines, where he spent his high school and college years in the seminary.

After college graduation, he spent a year teaching in the seminary, then began teaching in Catholic schools and high schools.

"After seven years, I came here to study theology at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park," he said. In doing so, he left his family behind. With the exception of a sister in the United Kingdom, the rest of the Carillo family remains in the Philippines.

But he has not been without the support of his family, no matter how far he has traveled. "One good thing about my experience here, despite the absence of my family, there are a lot of good-hearted people who became my mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters," he said.

"I had so much love in all the assignments, he said noting especially St. Edward Parish in Newark, and St. Anthony Parish in Oakley, and the pastors he served, Rev. Jeffrey Keyes, CPPS, when he was at St. Edward, and Rev. Ken Sales at St. Anthony.

"I am truly grateful for that," he said.

As he approached ordination, Rev. Mr. Carillo was offered a list of potential mentors. As he looked it over, he chose Rev. George Alengadan, pastor of St. Joseph Basilica Parish in Alameda.

Upon receiving his first assignment, Rev. Mr. Carillo has to make a change. He will be serving as parochial vicar at St. Joseph.

"I thought it was providential that the mentor I wanted is now my pastor," said Rev. Mr. Carillo. "It's a blessing."

But, "Now I have to look for a different mentor," he said.

He looks forward to life on the island, which he was introduced to by Deacon Jimmy Macalinao, who later entered the seminary.

Before beginning his assignment, "I have to go back to the Philippines, primarily to process my change of visa status." He will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at the seminary "where I actually grew up," and another at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Kalibo, where he was baptized.

Rev. Mr. Carillo's family is coming from the Philippines and the United Kingdom to witness his ordination. The next morning, his family will go with him to St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, where the new priest will celebrate his first Mass.

"It's fitting that I say my first Mass with the Sisters, who nurtured my vocation, who taught me how to become a good priest, all those formation years," he said.

"They are like our mothers," he said of the Oblate Sisters of Christ the Priest, who serve at the seminary.

"They cook for us," he said gratefully. "Not only that, they always pray for us."




John Erick Villa
"The greatest gift is the ordination itself"

Prayer has brought John Erick Villa, 34, to this point in his life. "The consolidated prayers of people who have been praying for me, people I know and people I do not know," he said. "It's by God's grace that I will be ordained a priest for this diocese."

Among those praying for him are parishioners at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Brentwood, where he served his pastoral year. "That community has been praying that I pursue and preserve and be holy," he said. "The ultimate goal: is not to be a priest, but to be a good and holy priest."

When he got to Brentwood, he felt at home. "It's a community that really cares about vocations," he said. "There were four priests, three deacons, a number of seminarians and families praying for vocations.

"That was a very good place to go," he said.

 

Masses of Thanksgiving

John Erick Villa

Immaculate Heart of
Mary Parish

500 Fairview Ave.,
Brentwood
Saturday, May 14
5 p.m. English

Our Lady Queen of the
World Parish

3155 Winterbrook Drive,
Bay Point
Sunday, May 15
Noon English

St. Michael Parish
458 Maple St., Livermore
Sunday, May 22
6 p.m. English

 
So good, that he found himself "hoping that I would someday be assigned there."

When his first assignment — parochial vicar at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish — was announced, "that someday came soon," he said.

"It is really an answered prayer," he said.

He looks forward, in his time in Brentwood, to visiting the sick and young people incarcerated at the nearby Boys Ranch, and to learning to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Rev. Mr. Villa's journey to the priesthood began when, after graduating from college with a pre-law degree, he told his grandparents, who had raised him, that he wanted to enter the seminary.

"My grandfather said, 'Thank you,'" he recalled.

"I started seminary in 2003," he said. "Along the way I have met tons of people who have been instrumental in my formation, not only the priests who were directly responsible for me in the seminary, but people in the ministries, he said.

In between his seminary studies, he worked for a memorialization company in the Philippines for about four years. In selling life insurance and memorial plots he was learning.

"More than anything else, what I learned from that was being available to those who are grieving and making them prepared for something that is inevitable," he said.

Rev. Mr. Villa said he is "very thankful" for the support in documentation he received from the diocesan vocations office in attempt to secure visas for five members of his family to attend his ordination. Ultimately, those visas were denied.

Rev. Mr. Villa's faith and joy are undeterred.

"Sometimes when we want something, and it's not granted, we think it's the end of it," he said. "But God is cooking up something better."

It is also "a powerful testament to the prayer of the people surrounding me, lifting me up, even in that brief sad episode of not having them at the ordination," he said.

"The greatest gift is the ordination itself," he said. "Even if they are not here, they're here," he said, raising his hand to his heart.

At home, his grandmother is busy making preparations for his return home for a visit after ordination. "They've been coordinating with the local parish for the Thanksgiving Mass," he said. "I grew up in a village. In the Philippines, everybody knows each other." Excitement has been building from "the moment that they've heard that we're getting close to the ordination and I'll be home for the Mass."

But before that Mass for the family and friends, there will be a first, smaller Mass. It will be at the gravesite of his grandfather, who died three years ago. It will be the young priest's opportunity to say "Thank you" to the grandfather who greeted his news of going to the seminary with the same words.

"I'm excited to be home and personally thank him," he said.




Luis Lopez
"God says, 'Follow me"

"I would like to share the love and mercy I have experienced in my life. I am thankful to God for calling me to the priesthood," said Rev. Mr. Luis Lopez. "He puts his eyes on me, a sinful man, and says, 'Follow me.'

"God has done this for me. He can do that for anyone, too."

To be ordained in the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy is a blessing for Rev. Mr. Lopez, a native of El Salvador. At the age of 45, he knows he is being ordained "in God's time."

"If God will do great things for me," he said, "God will do great things in you if you let him."

Before entering the seminary, Rev. Mr. Lopez taught religion and history in elementary and high schools.

"This experience teaching people was the way God used me to call me to teaching what God means to people," he said.

 

Masses of Thanksgiving

Luis Lopez

St. Bonaventure Parish
5562 Clayton Road, Concord
Saturday, May 14
5 p.m. English

Our Lady Queen of the
World Parish

3155 Winterbrook Drive,
Bay Point
Saturday, May 14
7 p.m. Spanish

Our Lady Queen of the
World Parish

3155 Winterbrook Drive,
Bay Point
Sunday, May 15
10 a.m. English

St. Anthony Parish
1535 16th Ave., Oakland
Sunday, May 22
9:30 a.m. Spanish

 
"I started in Costa Rica," he said, where he studied philosophy, and continued to Mexico. With the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity, he was sent to Colombia for three months of missionary work. The missionary experience prepared him "to be open to any move."

For the last five years, he has been studying for ordination in the Diocese of Oakland. Family members from El Salvador and Daly City will attend his ordination.

The journey to his ordination includes his experience as a child of 9 in El Salvador.

"My mother took me to the cathedral," he said.

"The cathedral was packed," he said. "It might not be easy to understand, but there were people sitting on the floor. They wanted to hear Blessed Romero preach."

The homilies, he said, lasted one hour.

"At the time, the government controlled television. Bishop Romero took advantage of preaching at Mass. This was the way he spoke the message of the Gospel."

"He connected very well the Gospel and the documents of the church, with the reality the people were living." He said. "He was preaching against injustice, crime, suffering."

Archbishop Oscar Romero's voice was familiar from his radio broadcasts, Rev. Mr. Lopez recalled. "People at home listened on radio," he said. As a child playing outside, "You could hear it playing from different houses."

Rev. Mr. Lopez is grateful to the parishes and parishioners who have supported his formation, including St. Bonaventure in Concord, St. Callistus in El Sobrante, St. Anthony in Oakland, Our Lady Queen of the World in Bay Point, St. Peter Martyr in Pittsburg and St. Anne in Byron.

After Masses of Thanksgiving at St. Bonaventure, Our Lady Queen of the World and St. Mary in Walnut Creek, where he served as a transitional deacon, the new priest will travel to El Salvador.

He will celebrate Mass in the parish of his baptism, and at the Cathedral of San Salvador, where he was inspired as a child by the archbishop, now Blessed Oscar Romero, who was martyred in 1980.

 
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