The Catholic faithful in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles expressed grief over the death of a Filipino priest who was known for his enthusiasm in celebrating the Holy Eucharist.
Father Adrian San Juan died on September 19 while officiating a wedding at St. Linus Church in Norwalk, California, where he served as administrator.
Father Rizalino “Riz” Carranza, who spent four years with the priest at St. Peter Claver Church in Simi Valley, said Father San Juan was the ultimate “people priest.”
The late priest was a “gifted preacher” whose enthusiasm while celebrating the Eucharist was “infectious.”
“He really appealed to a lot of people of different ages, from the older to the younger,” said Father Carranza, describing the priest as “a man of deep prayer.”
“He always expressed that he would rather be with God,” Father Carranza was quoted in a report on Angelus News about the death of Father San Juan.
Ana Engquist, parish manager at St. Linus Church, said the late priest “brought a strong spirituality to the parish.”
“His goal was to get us to heaven and to really live our faith, not just on Sundays, but day-to-day, to do the little things to get to heaven,” she said.
She said Father San Juan took a “hands-on” approach in bringing the sacraments to parishioners during the pandemic.
“He died doing what he loved to do, and I think that he came to our parish to heal us in a lot of ways, and he fulfilled that mission,” said Engquist.
Father Adrian San Juan was born in 1976, the youngest of six children in the city of Valenzuela, in the Philippines.
In 2002, a few months before he was ordained deacon, he was diagnosed of cancer. The following year, the cancer went to remission.
He was ordained priest in 2004.
“This is my second life, no doubt,” the priest was quoted by a local Sunday magazine in an interview after his ordination.
“I see myself in the hands of a loving Father. A second life is his revelation to me that I have a mission to do in His Name,” he said.
After spending six years in parishes and schools in Manila, Father San Juan transferred to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 2010 to be closer to his family who had migrated to the United States.
He served in several parishes, and was officially incardinated priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 2015.