Day In The Life

St. John’s is a truly Catholic Seminary. Catholic means “universal,” and our community draws its students, faculty, and staff from many cultures and nations. This diversity enriches seminary life and reflects the experience of the Church Universal.

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Most of the men ordained from St. John’s will go on to serve the Church in the southwest United States. But others will return to their homes in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere, making the whole world better with the formation they received here.

Seminarians at St. John’s enjoy the Church’s spirituality in its richness. They live among members of many Catholic religious orders and communities, as well as lay students studying for master’s degrees in Pastoral Ministry. Life centers on prayer shared in common, the Church’s liturgy. In this way the seminary embodies the hope expressed by Pope Saint John Paul II: “In its deepest identity the seminary is called to be, in its own way, a continuation in the Church of the apostolic community gathered about Jesus, listening to his word, proceeding toward the Easter experience, awaiting the gift of the Spirit for the mission” (#60)..

Seminarians and faculty live a commitment to mutual respect, responsible communication, and purposeful collaboration. Seminarians are challenged to grow into full adulthood and accept maturely the responsibilities of priesthood. Formation focuses on four areas of development: intellectual, spiritual, pastoral, and human. Seminarians are expected to exercise personal responsibility, and they are held accountable. They must attend liturgy and classes, as well as community gatherings and assigned community service. They must make time for private prayer and recollection, study, recreation, and leisure. They must develop personal discipline and make every effort to integrate their study and prayer as lived in the seminary community and in the wider Church.

Seminarians follow an established daily schedule allotting time for personal and communal prayer, classes, study, recreation, meals, community service and socializing. Students, faculty, and staff share buffet-style meals in the seminary dining room. Seminarians live in private rooms in three dormitories. Each room is equipped with its own bathroom and shower. Each room is outfitted with Internet and telephone access. Laundry facilities are also available on campus. A student kitchen provides space for the preparation of ethnic foods and other personal dietary needs.

St. John’s offers many opportunities for recreation and leisure. The seminary recreation room features areas for gathering, reading, television, mail delivery, a student canteen offering snacks, drinks, and a limited number of personal items, along with tables for ping-pong and pool. Located on 100 acres and surrounded by citrus groves, St. John’s provides numerous venues for exercise. A 2.3-mile perimeter road is ideal for walking or running. A swimming pool, athletic field, basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts are at the students’ disposal. The well-equipped exercise room includes free weights, aerobic exercise machines, and a universal weight machine. Seminarians organize tournaments in a variety of sports and skill contests. Besides the on-campus opportunities, the city of Camarillo is minutes away, where movies, restaurants, and shopping are readily available. The Pacific Ocean is ten miles away, and the local mountains offer miles of hiking trails. In addition, the cultural opportunities of Los Angeles are an hour away where stage performances, movies, museums (such as the J. Paul Getty, Norton-Simon, and Huntington Library), and ethnic communities abound.

The seminary community is also enhanced by a variety of annually scheduled events. The Newman C. Eberhardt, C.M. Lecture series, the Charles E. Miller, C.M. Theological Symposium, and other guest lectures are designed to expand the educational reach of the theology program. Special cultural programs provide co-curricular enhancement of the seminarians’ theological training. The seminary community also participates in conferences and liturgical events. The Los Angeles Religious Education Congress and Liturgy Conference are a few of the local events that seminarians are encouraged to attend. St. John’s has also sponsored numerous musical programs and recitals. The community observes many cultural and religious traditions such as Tet (Lunar New Year), Las Mañanitas a la Virgen de Guadalupe, Priesthood Discernment Weekends, and the Jubilarians’ Mass.

Student government plays an important role in the life of the seminary community. Elected members represent their respective classes and the student community at large in a Student Senate, which is advisory to the Rector and frequently called upon to discuss and make recommendations about student life. The Senate President holds a non-voting seat on the seminary Board of Directors. A member of each class is elected to sit on a number of faculty/student committees concerned with the library, the academic program, field education, human formation and evaluation, liturgy, and spiritual life. Two student monitors assist the Director of Students in the daily operations of campus life. Every student is assigned a special task that requires about an hour and a half per week — cleaning dormitory facilities, hallways, student recreation areas, etc. A number of paid jobs are also available to students, such as dishwashing, library staffing, and instructor assistance.

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