March 18, 2022  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

—- The heart of the saint declared Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012 will be available for veneration by the faithful —-

Part of the heart of St. John of Avila, a first class relic, will be visiting the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from March 20-26, 2022, and will be available for veneration by the faithful at St Joseph Church in Hawthorne, 11901 Acacia Ave., on Sunday, March 20 during all the Masses in English and Spanish. Please see schedule here. St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo5012 Seminary Rd, Camarillo, CA 93012, will also host the relic on Tuesday, March 22 at 7:15 p.m. when two visiting priests from the Diocese of Cordoba in Spain, home of the relic, will be presenting a conference on the saint.

“While studying in Rome, I had the opportunity to delve into the writings of St. John of Avila, the only Doctor of the Church who remained a diocesan priest. His works are very helpful for discernment and seeking holiness of life, as his many saint friends testify. As priests, we are called to have hearts of good shepherds. We welcome this relic of one of these shepherds configured to Jesus in this historic first trip to the United States,” said Fr. Gustavo Castillo, a priest from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, who wrote his doctoral dissertation in Rome on the priestly writings of the saint, which culminated in the book Shepherding the Family of God: The Spirituality of Diocesan Priests in St. John of Avila (Omaha: Institute for Priestly Formation, 2019).

The first class relic of St. John of Avila comes in a heart-shaped silver container 55mm wide, by 56mm high, by 25mm deep.

On Sunday, March 20, St. Joseph Parish will also host a 25-minute conference on the four Spanish Doctors of the Church, starting at 5:15 p.m. St. John’s Seminary will host the conference in Spanish (with English translation) “The Influence of St. John of Avila on the Seminaries of the American Continent,” on Tuesday, March 22 at 7:15 p.m. in the Conference Hall.

St. John of Avila was declared a Doctor of the Church in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. He is one of only 37 saints who have received that title in the 2000-year history of the Church. Although he lived in the 16th century, he was instrumental in founding seminaries and recommending to the bishops gathered at the Council of Trent to found seminaries in their dioceses (before this time, priests were formed in monasteries or just learned from other priests).

He was known for having a “constellation of saints” around him, as one of his authors has put it. He was friends with St. Ignatius of Loyola and mentored St. Teresa of Avila in her writing of the book of her life. He also converted Saints Francis Borgia and John of God with his preaching. He was a well known theologian in his day. His influence on the Jesuits and Dominican priests means that he also contributed to the founding of seminaries in the American continent since those priests came here as missionaries. Although he was not very well known outside his native Spain, where he was declared the Patron Saint of Secular Priests, his contribution is becoming more significant since the Pope’s pronouncement in 2012.


Under the spiritual leadership of Archbishop José H. Gomez, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the largest in the United States, serving the counties of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara, covering approximately 9,000 square miles in 120 cities. The nearly 5 million Catholics in the Archdiocese come from some 70 countries and from every continent. Weekly Masses are celebrated in 42 languages throughout 288 parishes, and more than 73,000 students attend an Archdiocesan Catholic elementary or high school. For the latest news, events and to subscribe for media alerts, visit