Mr. Ivan Lopez
Year in Formation
St. Polycarp (Stanton)
Favorite Marian Apparition
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Favorite TV Series
I was born in Anaheim, California on October 8, 1999. My parents are both from Mexico, my dad from a small town called Villa Guerrero and my mom from a different El Pochote. We have many aunts and uncles and so I grew up in a big Mexican family. There was always someone's birthday to celebrate so we gathered often at my grandma's house. I went to Cypress High School and then I was recruited to run cross country for Long Beach City College (LBCC). I went to LBCC and was potentially thinking of becoming a Mathematics professor before I entered seminary. I was involved in the youth group at my parish as well as the youth group at St. Justin Martyr. I was an usher at St. Polycarp and also an altar server for some years.
What are some of the factors that led to your decision to enter the seminary and discern the question of a vocation to the priesthood?
I come from a devoted Catholic Family and my vocation began at home. I have two beautiful older sisters, Evelyn and Xochilth, a brother in Heaven Jovanny (miscarriage). My family life is an essential element to my call to the priesthood. We went to mass every weekend (even though I didn’t like to!) and prayed together often. When I was around 12 years old my dad started taking me to mass on fridays and afterwards we would stay for praise and worship. It wasn’t until I was 14 that I went on a retreat that I really made the faith my own. It was a youth group at St. Polycarp called Discipulos Misioneros Adolescents (D.M.A). I felt the love of God and I knew he existed. After that retreat I regularly attended the group and slowly grew in my faith. We went on different events that exposed me to the vastness of the Catholic Church such as Congreso de Jovenes and World Youth Day. Ultimately I know that it was God that kept stirring my heart. He has given me a great devotion to Our Blessed Mother.
Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?
As I mentioned my parents have always been supportive of me. In particular my dad would drive me around to all the different discernment meetings being held either at the Diocese or with a religious order. Also, Monsignor Doctorczyk helped me in my discernment. He guided me in my journey. He helped me discern and walk with me, never once did I feel recruited but rather guided into the right decision.
Describe the moment that you knew you wanted to take the next steps to become a priest?
There are two occasions that propelled me into knowing I wanted to enter into seminary. The first came my senior year in High School when I decided that I didn’t want to give up junk food for lent but rather add something. I decided to go to daily mass. This helped me grow in holiness because the Lord took me into his loving embrace. I tried entering that year but I was told by the vocations director that it was not possible for that year and I should wait for the next one. After that it felt like I was back to square one because becoming a priest was not something I wanted to do. Fast forward to my winter break in College my parents paid for me to go on a mission trip in Peru as a birthday present ( I really wanted a car for my birthday not a mission trip!). However, this changed my life because I remember walking in this really poor area of town and the kids didn’t have shoes and their houses were cheap and flimsy. When I got there these kids were playing with trash and having a great time with it. They had close to nothing materialy but they were so happy and I realized that it was because of the love of God. This led me to reflect on my own insecurities about entering seminary and it clicked in my mind, that the lord loves me and just like those kiddos, He could take care of me too. I decided to apply after that.