Ordination Class of 2024: Deacon David Pineda

This is the fifth article in a series profiling the 11 men who will be ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Boston at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on May 25, 2024.

BRIGHTON -- Growing up in a small town in El Salvador, Deacon David Pineda, like most children, liked to play pretend. His fantasies, however, were quite different from those of his peers. While other children dreamt of being pirates and astronauts, little Deacon Pineda pretended he was a priest.

He didn't know what the responsibilities of a priest actually were, but he was fascinated by the vested men who would stand at the altar and conduct the rituals of the Mass. The youngest of eight children in "a very Catholic family," Deacon Pineda would attend Mass daily.

"When you are the youngest, everyone is taking care of you," Deacon Pineda, a 28-year-old seminarian at St. John's Seminary in Brighton, told The Pilot in a Feb. 22 interview. "So, all my siblings, they were really good with me in the sense of formation. And if I needed something, they were present in my life."

Deacon Pineda was eight years old when he felt called to the priesthood. After his first Communion, he became an altar server and grew closer to his priest.

"That helped me to discover my vocation," he said.

After high school, he entered a seminary in El Salvador before coming to St. John's in 2021. He spoke no English and had to learn the language, but he found Salvadoran and American culture to be "very similar" to one another.

"It's not about a change of your life," he said about his time at St. John's. "It is kind of reaffirming who you are, because the seminary is a place to learn, a place to grow."

He said that the seminary has prepared him to help his parishioners in their daily lives. Mostly assigned to English-speaking parishes (he is currently a transitional deacon at St. Mary Parish in Brookline), Deacon Pineda has not had much interaction with the Archdiocese of Boston's Hispanic communities. On the occasions that he has spoken with Hispanic parishioners, they describe a challenge that he can somewhat relate to -- leaving their families to start a new life in the U.S.

"Sometimes they leave their wife or even the husband and the children so they can come here to work," he said, "and they know that they are not able to go back to their countries because they will not be able to return and work. That is a pain for them."

In his spare time, Deacon Pineda is an avid sportsman. Three of his favorites are soccer, ice skating, and skiing. He also enjoys reading, going to dinner and movies with his friends, and listening to all kinds of music, particularly classical.

When he is ordained to the priesthood this year, his mission is "the salvation of souls."

"Priesthood is something beautiful that I'm looking for," he said. "I'm really looking forward to it. And as I'm getting closer to that, I'm just praying to God that I will be a good pastor to bring some consolation and hope to those who do not have hope."