Amid the hills of Camarillo, are the beautiful and peaceful grounds of St. John’s Seminary which now, at this historical site, has officially begun the start of their 75th anniversary celebration of events.
On Saturday, September 28th, the seminary held its traditional Alumni Awards Dinner for alumni, benefactors and friends of St. John’s Seminary.
This event started with Vespers in the chapel, where the Cantor lead the attendees in song and praise.
Archbishop Jose Gomez. gave a tribute talk in celebration of the work of the seminary.
An elegant reception followed with many priests, bishops, religious sisters and guests enjoying fine wines, excellent appetizers and great conversation, on a beautiful fall evening before the dinner.
The dinner to celebrate the start of the 75th Anniversary was held for the first time outside in a movie-like setting with dozens of elegant tables, old-fashioned lights strung above and lighting to highlight the beautiful statue of Holy Mother Mary.
In this wonderful setting, nearly 400 people were gathered to celebrate and to honor Michael M. Clements, Monsignor Helmut A. Hefner, Father Thomas J. and Bishop Gerald F. Wilkerson.
The new rector, Reverend Monsignor Marc Trudeau, gave an excellent opening celebration talk and each of the honorees thereafter, had an opportunity to give their reflection.
Seminarians were gracious servers with food placed to all that attended prepared by the gifted 5-Star Chef Alex. One could sense the joy and pride that all had in participating in the first major event in celebration such a fine anniversary.
It should be noted that this seminary has for 75 years provided the education, formation and nurturing of the men most of whom have been ordained to the priesthood.
Father Thomas J. who has been a priest for almost six decades said, “In 1953, I entered St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo.
There I took my place among a fine group of young men who were also on the road to the priesthood.”
This seminary for decades has been the main source for many holy vocations to the priesthood, religious and laypersons, who by their completed education enhanced their ministries in their parish communities.
In addition, in the last 50 years the seminary has opened it doors to women from laypersons to religious sisters, for completion of theology and pastoral studies.
These women, who have expanded their curriculum through the seminary, have greatly enhanced their vocation either to religious life, or their ministries, within their own parish.
It is truly exceptional that women have had the opportunity for many years now to have a higher education through such an exceptional seminary.
With the Alumni dinner event, Monsignor Marc Trudeau encouraged the attendees to participate in the campaign in honor of the 75th anniversary to financially assist in the dorm renovations project.
In greater detail from the Alumni tribute book, there is an ongoing campaign called, “75 x 75 x 3 – The Campaign for St. John’s Seminary’s 75th Anniversary”.
This is an opportunity for one to pledge an amount of either $75, $750, $7,500, $75,000 or $750,000 over a three year period. Funds from this campaign will greatly benefit the much needed renovations of the dorms that started in 2013 as well as ongoing financial support to meet the needs of the seminary.
Those who wish to be a part and give their pledge can go to the website of www.stjohns75th.com or contact the Advancement Office at (805) 389-2035.
With the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of St. John’s Seminary now officially begun, there will be ongoing events in this year and the next.
There will be special Masses, forums, “Wine & Wisdom” tours to the wine country and another Alumni Dinner Awards celebration in 2015.
More information on these and other events can be found by their Facebook page at facebook.com/.
In addition, to all the upcoming celebrations and those making donations, it would be exceptional for all to pray for the seminarians in formation, the staff, professors, priests and the holy work of the seminary.
Let the 75th anniversary celebrations be a time for great reflection, prayer, thanksgiving and joy! Congratulations to St. John’s Seminary and God’s continued blessings on the next 75 years!