September 29, 2021  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

For the first time in two years, St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, one of America’s historic seminaries, held its Annual Gala on the Plaza of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on September 18. The Covid pandemic prevented the Seminary from holding its traditional celebration in 2020. Instead, a Virtual Gala was created to celebrate the great gift that the Seminary has been to the Archdiocese and beyond. Since its inception in 1939, St. John’s Seminary has prepared students for a vocation to serve the Catholic Church with more than 1,250 men ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as well as for other dioceses in the United States and other countries. 

St. John’s Seminary offers programs for those interested in becoming a priest, deacon, theologian, or lay minister (an unordained pastoral priest that serves the Catholic Church). The fully accredited graduate program and school of formation offers an advanced program of study that prepares seminarians for service as Roman Catholic priests for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and other dioceses, as well as religious communities throughout the world.

Presently, St. John’s serves 93 seminarians and is overseen by former St. John seminarian and professor, Father Marco Durazo, Rector of the Seminary.

The Seminary’s population has transformed since it opened, reflecting the diversity of the Church of Southern California in its student body, faculty and staff. In the last 50 years, St. John’s has included women as professors, administrators and theology students. Its student body, once relatively isolated from the world it would one day serve, has increasingly involved in that world throughout the years, with an expanded curriculum and understanding of what the Call to Holy Orders entails.

The seminary counts many notable alumni, three of whom were honored on Saturday’s gala celebrating the anniversary: Reverend Monsignor James Forsen, Pastor of Visitation Parish in Westchester and former Archdiocesan Vocations Director; Father Patrick Mullen, Pastor of Padre Serra Parish in Camarillo and former faculty member of St. John’s; and Reverend Monsignor Timothy Nichols, Pastor of St. John Vianney Parish in Hacienda Heights. All received theological formation from St. John’s, and have served the church through parish life, diocesan leadership and education.

Two lay Catholic leaders, Chris and Laura Meissner, were presented the Evangelii Gaudium award at the gala for their tireless dedication to the Church. (Photo of honorees with Archbishop José H. Gomez is attached.)

“We thank the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the other dioceses, and the religious communities we serve for entrusting their candidates to us,” said Father Marco Durazo. “Our primary mission is to prepare these candidates as Roman Catholic priests by assisting them to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ; to discern the vocation to which God calls them; to root themselves in Word and Sacrament and the Church’s theological tradition; to integrate the spiritual, human, intellectual, and pastoral dimensions of their lives; and to develop skills for ministry, leadership, and evangelization in a culturally diverse Church.”

“We invite our community of faith to see St. John’s Seminary as belonging to all of us – each person, each priest, each parish – and ask you to encourage and support the men carrying out the convictions of their calling to priestly service. St. John’s is of profound importance to each one of us.”