Three seminarians were ordained to the Sacred Order of the Priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church by the Most Reverend Kevin W. Vann, Bishop of Orange, on Saturday, June 12 at the iconic Christ Cathedral.
It was the first ordination of priests in the diocese since COVID-19 restrictions were loosened and the third held in Christ Cathedral since it was officially dedicated in July 2019.
Rev. Brandon Dang, director of vocations for the Diocese of Orange, called the three, “incredible men.” They include: the Rev. Cheeyoon Timothy Chun, the Rev. Michael Joseph Fitzpatrick, and the Rev. Brandon Robert Lopez.
“All of them were raised in Orange County so they are very much homegrown sons of their local parishes,” Rev. Dang explains. “I think that will add to the culture and relatability of the parishioners to their new priests.”
Rev. Cheeyoon Timothy Chun, whose home parish is Holy Korean Martyrs in Westminster, graduated from Fountain Valley High School and attended Mt. Angel Seminary in Oregon. Prior to discerning a vocation to the priesthood, Chun studied at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and worked professionally as an architect. “I was well on my way to accomplish and live out my worldly goals and aspirations, but I felt there was something missing in my life,” he says of his decision to enter the seminary. “The priesthood had been on my conscience ever since high school. Even the slightest thought of becoming a priest brings me joy and peace. I want to live and strive to be holy as a saint.” His first assignment in the Diocese of Orange is serving as parochial vicar at Holy Family Church in Orange. Chun’s favorite hobby is golf.
Rev. Michael Joseph Fitzpatrick, whose home parish is St. Martin de Porres Church in Yorba Linda, attended the Pontifical North American College in Rome and will return to his studies in spiritual theology there following his ordination. Fitzpatrick attended Servite High School in Anaheim and graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a liberal studies degree before entering the seminary. “I have felt the calling to the priesthood since high school,” he notes. “But I only began to actively pursue the calling during my last year of college. I attribute the desire to my desire to do God’s will and him giving me a clear answer after I ask him what he wants me to do with my life. I understand that God has a plan for me, and his plan will bring me the most happiness.” His favorite sport is basketball.
Rev. Brandon Lopez, whose home parish is St. Pius V Church in Buena Park, attended St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo. Lopez attended Buena Park High School and graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 2015. “I realized how fulfilled I was in sharing my faith, and this deep desire to know and understand my faith in a deeper way to share with others I encountered,” he recalls. “I was told by a wise priest, ‘if you can explain it to a second-grader and they understand the adults will, too.’ To be able to explain, I first had to understand, and I feel this is where the Holy Spirit was moving and forming me to be one of his priests.” Lopez will serve as parochial vicar at St. Pius V Church. His favorite hobby is watching movies and television and playing video games.
In 2020, the ancient, solemn ordination diocesan ceremony was altered significantly to ensure the safety of last year’s four ordained priests, their guests, and officiants, Fr. Dang says. Guests were instead urged to watch a live-stream of the ceremony via the Christ Cathedral website and on its Facebook page.
This year, all diocesan priests, invited guests of the deacons, parishioners of the Deacon’s Pastoral Year and their home parishes, and vocational support groups such as the Knights of Columbus were welcomed to join the joyous occasion in person.
The new priests have joined the large and vibrant Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange community, the 11th-largest diocese in the United States. The diocese traces its beginnings to St. Junipero Serra and the first Catholic missionaries who founded the Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1776. Today the Diocese of Orange has the distinction of being one of the most ethnically diverse in the nation.
For more about the men recently ordained, and for information on pursuing religious vocations, visit ocvocations.org.