Details from Angelus News:
On the night of Oct. 13, 2013, having just suffered a heart attack, cardiac arrest, and sepsis, and alone in the hospital, Rey Simbol felt like a child reaching out to God. He cried as he prayed and talked to Jesus, entrusting himself to the Lord.
Eventually, he recovered — or, as he says, “God gave me a second life on earth,” a new life that he offered to serve God and his people. Yet, as he kept telling his wife Joy, “I don’t know what God wants me to do.”
Then one Sunday morning after Mass, he was talking to his pastor at St. John of God in Norwalk, Father Ed Dober (now retired), who suddenly asked him, “Have you ever thought of becoming a deacon?”
As he stood silent and more than a little surprised, Father Dober suggested, “Pray over it.” Four years later, having begun formation to become a permanent deacon, Simbol was serving as an acolyte at Mass where Father Dober was presiding.
“Before the Mass,” Simbol said, “I said to him, ‘Father, thank you for inviting me to apply to diaconate formation.’
He said, ‘Don’t thank me. It was the Lord who called you.’ ”
On Saturday, June 11, Simbol was one of 18 men ordained as permanent deacons for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The Mass of Ordination marks the completion of one phase of their journey of serving God and his people, and the start of a new one.
For the past five years, these men (17 married, one widowed) have met every other Saturday, either in person at Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills or, during the pandemic, via Zoom. They and their wives have studied Scripture and theology and engaged in service projects in their parishes and communities.
As they embark on this new phase of ministry, a few of the new deacons shared the stories of their journey to the permanent diaconate with Angelus.
Read all about them here.
The new deacons:
Alfredo Alejandres, St. Joseph Church, Los Angeles.
Wilsar Arreaga, St. Philip Neri Church, Lynwood.
Ricardo Arriola, St. Dominic Savio Church, Bellflower.
Juan Ayon, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (Rose Hill), Los Angeles.
Rene Burgos, Christ the King Church, Los Angeles.
Hugo Escobar, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Church, Lomita.
Juan Gomez, St. Andrew Church, Pasadena.
Simon Gonzalez, Holy Family Church, Artesia.
Victor Iraheta, Nativity Church, Los Angeles.
Demetrio Mallari, St. Catherine of Siena Church, Reseda.
John Manalo, Holy Family Church, Artesia.
Kevin McCardle, St. Monica Church, Santa Monica.
Carlos Oconitrillo, St. Gerard Majella Church, Los Angeles.
John Saavedra, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Downey.
Reynaldo Simbol, St. John of God Church, Norwalk.
Pedro Solorzano, St. Catherine of Siena Church, Reseda.
Benoni Tahuite, Holy Family Church, Wilmington.
Luis Topanta, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Whittier-Los Nietos.
Congratulations, brothers, and welcome! Ad multos annos!