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Thomas Davis and Alfredo Ledesma took an important step in their journey to the priesthood when they were ordained transitional deacons on Dec. 16 at Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral in San Bernardino.

Davis, from St. Christopher in Moreno Valley, and Ledesma, from Our Lady of Hope in San Bernardino, both returned to Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, Texas following their ordination to finish their last semester of seminary formation. They are expected to be ordained to the priesthood when they return in May 2024. Below are some thoughts from both men as they prepared for their ordination as transitional deacons.

Thomas Davis:

Davis, as he reflected on his journey as a seminarian, said he was in near disbelief that he is only one semester away from being ordained into the priesthood.

“I honestly thought this day would never arrive,” Davis said. “When I began formation, I thought to myself, ‘Surely, I will not make it through. There is no way they will think that I will make a good priest, seven years will be sufficient time to prove that.’ After seven years, I still cannot believe that I am going to be ordained.”

Although hard to believe that he is nearing his ordination to the priesthood Davis feels thankful to all who have helped him throughout his vocation journey.

“I am truly grateful to all of the people who have formed, supported, and walked with me through these years of seminary formation,” Davis said. “I have been extraordinarily privileged to meet such incredible people throughout my time in formation. I am especially grateful to those close and intimate friends, as well as to my brother seminarians who continue to journey with me today. All I can do is say thank you to God for calling me to ordained ministry and to continue praying for His help as I serve His people.”

Davis describes being ordained to the transitional diaconate as being a gift.

“This moment, this ordination, this vocation is a gift,” Davis said. “This is our moment as a community to reflect on how generous God’s grace truly is. I am humbled that God would even consider allowing me to be at the service of his people, and I deeply believe that this Ordination is a gift for me and for the people of God in the Church of San Bernardino.”

Now, after being ordained into the transitional diaconate, Davis looks forward to entering his last semester of seminary formation.

“As I move to my last semester of seminary formation, there is joy and appreciation,” Davis said. “Joy in that I will be back in the community I was raised in to serve and walk with God’s people. Appreciation to God and the Church in San Bernardino for giving me the opportunity to prayerfully discern for these last seven years of formation.”

Alfredo Ledesma:

As Ledesma reflected on his seminarian journey to this point, he noted how much the seminary has deepened his faith.

“As my time at the seminary draws close, I find myself deeply reflective, with a heart full of gratitude and peace,” Ledesma said. “Seminary formation has been a journey with Christ, more than just an academic pursuit; it has been a spiritual pilgrimage. I have encountered God in ways that have challenged and affirmed my faith, yet God has always been faithful. The seminary has been a place where my understanding of God, the Church, and myself has deepened. As a result, the challenges, learning experiences, and moments of grace have made this journey amazing.”

Similarly, Ledesma, too, recognized that he did not walk alone, and is thankful to the many people that have helped him throughout his seminarian journey.

“I think ‘gratitude’ would be the right word to describe my seminarian journey,” Ledesma said. “I know I have not been walking alone. Many people have been sources of inspiration, support, and friendship. If I had to name them, finishing would be impossible, but they know who they are. Looking back, I can see how each instance of this journey has been a building block for my future ministry.”

Being ordained to the transitional diaconate was very meaningful to Ledesma and he felt nervous and excited for what the moment signified to him.

“This moment signifies a shift from years of learning to actively stepping into ministry, and it really brings home the idea that my formation is a journey that does not end,” Ledesma said.
“Stepping into the role of a deacon means to me embracing a life of service, humility, and dedication. To me, being a deacon means striving to imitate Christ the Servant, reminding me that the essence of ministry is a commitment to serve God through serving my neighbor.”

Now that Ledesma is a deacon, he returns to the seminary for his last semester of seminarian formation, a journey, which he will always look back on fondly.

“I have endeavored to cherish every moment these last years, recognizing that these experiences are unique and irreplaceable,” Ledesma said. “I will deeply miss the various aspects of seminary life – the fellowship with my fellow seminarians, the invaluable lessons from my educators, mentors, and formators, and the daily interactions with many great people who have become a part of my life. Overall, this journey through seminary has been remarkable, and I am sure that these memories will be looked back upon with great affection and gratitude.”