When applying for a graduate teaching program after college, one of the interview questions centered on my favorite Gospel story that relates to teaching. Relying on my years in Catholic elementary and high school, I suggested Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed. As educators, we plant small seeds and nurture them to grow into marvelous things!
Before staying home with our two sons, my wife was also a Catholic school teacher and principal. In her office was a quote by William Butler Yeats that read, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” We light small sparks that will grow and bring light and warmth to those who surround it.
I share these anecdotes this week as we begin the celebration of National Catholic Schools’ Week – an opportunity to recognize the tremendous achievements of the 6,429 Catholic schools across the United States.
Catholic schools are where students are able to learn, serve, lead, and ultimately succeed. Seeds are planted and sparks are lit every single day in our Catholic schools.
I feel so tremendously blessed to be principal at our very own Catholic school at St. Mary Magdalen here in Camarillo. It is a privilege to work with a dedicated and enthusiastic faculty and a tremendous honor to partner with amazing parents in the education of their children. It is with these teachers and parents that seeds are planted and small sparks are nurtured.
I am certainly proud of the academic achievements of our students that see them typically score above the national average on standardized tests and advance to the top high schools in our area. I’m also proud of the wide range of opportunities we are able to offer our students during the school day such as Spanish and music as well as after school activities including a wide variety of clubs and sports.
We help our students to grow and flourish in so many ways, but I truly believe the most important seeds we plant and flames we fan are that of our students’ faith. To be able to start every day in prayer, celebrate Mass together once a week as a school community, and openly talk with students about our shared Catholic faith is something I most enjoy about my job and something that sets our school apart from others. We prepare students to not only be productive citizens of this world, but also develop them to one day be citizens of heaven.
The work that we do is something that cannot be done without your prayers and support and to my fellow Padre Serra parishioners, I offer humble words of deep gratitude. Your generosity over the years allows us to continue to grow and thrive. This is your school community and you are such an important part of the educational journey and faith development of all our children.
You are there with us as we plant seeds and light the fire.
Principal, St. Mary Magdalen School
Do Small Things with Great Love
Over 80 local parishes and 63 Catholic schools depend on funding from Together in Mission...
and is your generosity that makes all the difference.
“It is not enough to say we are Christians. We must live the faith not only with words but with our actions”
- Pope Francis
With four million Catholics living in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles the opportunity exists to make a substantial impact in the neighborhoods that need it the most... when we work and give together in mission.
God has called us to build his church.
Overview of Catholic teaching on the end of life and care options
Advance Health Care Directives and POLST
What to do when a death occurs: mortuaries and Catholic funeral options
8:30 - 9:30am
San Juan Capistrano Room
Also Visit: Adults
Cancer Support Group
4th Tuesday of the month
Santa Barbara Room
Lou Ann Paolella
(805) 551 · 8014
Provides hope, empowerment, love and prayer in a comforting atmosphere of encouragement. It is a safe environment for people touched by cancer to connect with others in a productive and spiritual way.
A little known fact, they also pay for room and board while many take time off work to help at the retreat. This year, we are hoping, praying and asking for help to offset the cost.
Whatever is donated to our retreat leader fund will go into a pool to reduce, or even eliminate, the cost for our leaders to volunteer. The total cost for leaders this year is $3,000. Every dollar given will be humbly and gratefully received as a ‘thank you for your love and dedication to our young teens.’ Envelopes are in the church narthex. Thank you church.
San Juan Bautista room
Come check out our Toastmasters anytime or visit our website
Email Janis Benn or call (805) 407-3340
Students develop their faith on a daily basis. They enjoy daily religion class, weekly Mass and many other opportunities to grow.
St. Mary Magdalen students put their faith into action by contributing hundreds of service hours to community organizations such as Many Meals, Operation Christmas Child, Get on the Bus, and Life Centers of Ventura County.
The theme of today’s readings is God’s invitation and our response (1). In the first reading, Samuel does not recognize the voice calling his name while he is sleeping: “Samuel, Samuel!” After the third time, his mentor Eli finally tells him what to say. What always strikes me about this story is the trust with which Samuel responds, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” For the rest of Samuel’s life, the Lord was with him always. It was that simple.
In the gospel, we hear another call and response. John the Baptist and two of his disciples encounter Jesus.
They are curious about him and what he is doing. Jesus said, “Come and you will see.” What did they do?
They followed Jesus with complete trust! It was that simple.
I wonder what those soon-to-be-apostles were thinking. What did they think they were going to see?
Today marks the beginning of Ordinary Time and the readings in the coming weeks will show us exactly what the apostles saw and experienced. They will walk us through Jesus’ daily life. If we are willing to go as the apostles did, we too will see, learn, and experience Jesus’ examples of love, forgiveness, healing, and ministry.
Ordinary daily life is where God shows up. Often times I think God is just saying hello. Other times I believe God is saying, “Listen up. Have I got something for you?” Every day, every week God invites us to confront real issues. How can I love the neighbor who irritates me? Can I forgive the family member who wronged me? What can I offer the homeless person on the corner? How can I comfort my grieving friend? We can never go wrong when we discern a situation and respond with loving Christian values.
Let’s journey together these coming weeks so we too can see and respond to God’s call to live our ordinary lives with extraordinary love. I promise it’s really that simple.
Faith Life Minister
(1) At Home with the Word 2018
2nd Wednesday of the month
February - instead of a meeting February 14, we will have our first outing to Paramount Ranch (see details below)
March 14 - Drum Circle with Cathy
April 11 - Tai Chi with Sheila
May 9 - Dance Night
Saturday, February 24
1:00pm meet at Paramount Ranch
2903 Cornell Road, Agoura Hills, CA 91301
Umbrella for shade
Comfortable covered shoes
Sketchbook if you like to draw
Take Ventura 101 Freeway to Kanan Road exit. South on Kanan 0.5 mile. Left on Cornell Way and veer to the right. South 2.5 miles, entrance is on right side of the road.
RSVP to Monica Spooner
The Epiphany of the Lord celebrates more than the familiar story of the magi who travel from the east bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the Christ child.
The word "epiphany" means a moment of understanding or insight. This story, found only in the Gospel of Matthew, gives us a theological insight into who Jesus is and why he was born.
Jesus is revealed to the magi, foreigners who have traveled a great distance to find and worship him, as the Lord of all nations. Jesus is the ultimate gift from God who comes with authority (gold) to heal and forgive (frankincense), and to conquer death once and for all (myrrh).
He is the ultimate sign of God's love, a love that knows no limits and includes everyone.
Preschool through Grade 2
Suggested donation: $25 per family per semester, payable to Padre Serra Parish.
The Cherubs Music Program was developed to provide our youngest children with an opportunity to explore all aspects of music in a fun, positive, faith-based environment, sure to tap into their own creativity.
This general music program for our youngest children includes singing, creative movement, playing instruments, and more.
Participating in a music program has many educational, social and emotional benefits in addition to the actual music experience itself. The cherubs are provided with the opportunity to learn the basics of music (tuneful singing, breathing, moving to the beat, rhythm imitation, reading simple rhythms, part singing/rounds, tempo and dynamics and more) so they will be better prepared to participate in the children’s choir or other musical ensembles as they enter the 3rd grade. They accomplish this through singing (bible songs, church songs, traditional folk songs); playing a variety of instruments (xylophones, bells, drums, maracas, glockenspiels, tambourines, etc.); structured movement (marching, simple folk dances); improvised movement; dramatizing bible stories through music and movement and more.
All parents are encouraged to attend and participate in the sessions; however, preschool children will need to be accompanied by a parent or other adult/older sibling that can assist the child in participating in the group and attend to other needs as they arise. This is a wonderful opportunity for parents to bond with their children, and also form friendships with other parents of similar aged children.
Also visit: Music Ministry
Merry Christmas to all of you and a Happy New Year as well!
I feel like I get the bulletin letter every year around this same time. This is one of my favorite letters to write because of our celebration of the Epiphany of Our Lord.
In my previous Epiphany letters, I remember writing about us being the star that leads people to Christ. A star so bright that people cannot help but to be compelled with what makes you so vibrant. While this still rings true, there is another element in the story of the Three Wise Men on Epiphany; the presentation of gifts to the Christ child.
During this New Year, we will all make resolutions that will help us be the best version of ourselves. The normal resolutions of eating healthier, spending more time with family and various things like this. These resolutions are wonderful ways to help live life more vibrantly and can also help us learn to love others in an unconditional way and we should not shy away from the wonderful promises to ourselves.
But in what ways though, can we learn to unconditionally serve our Lord? A great example can be seen in the Wise Men, by presenting their gifts.
This year, I pray that we become more conscious of the idea of what our gifts are. Once we become aware of our personal gold, frankincense, and myrrh then we become more aware of the best way we can serve.
Self-reflection is very important for our personal lives, but we often forget that when we get to know ourselves better (in our faults and weaknesses), then we gain the opportunity to serve in the most unconditional way imaginable.
So, friends, I invite you all to take time to see who God created you to be. It’s easy to spot the things in our lives that influence a healthy lifestyle. But this year, I invite you to take time to truly reflect on your gifts and talents. If you gain more clarity when it comes to those things, then I invite you to bring the gifts to God and ask Him how he wants you to serve Him.
God bless you all and Happy Epiphany everybody!
Youth and Young Adult Minister
Exceptions: July and December
Contact: Helen (805) 482 · 6932
(805) 558 · 7868
Find us on Facebook
Children learn so much! From the Sign of the Cross to bible stories, songs and more.
Super fun to make friends and be at church on Sundays!! Parents love it too.
Be sure to register your child as soon as they turn 3.
Also visit: Children
Helping Homeless Families Help Themselves
Individuals and families across Ventura County who are in need of transitional housing as they begin their path to independence can find help at the RAIN Transitional Living Center in Camarillo. Home to more than 135 people each year, RAIN features 16 rooms for families, six single rooms, and several beds for people recovering from illness or injury following hospitalization. The average length of stay at RAIN is 8 to 12 months. However, some stay for more than a year while they pursue their path to self-sufficiency.
- If you are interested in volunteering or doing a group project please contact please call (805) 388-3148
- If you have any further questions regarding our program please call (805) 389-3308
- If you know someone that may need the help of RAIN TLC, please call Homeless Services at (805) 385-1800
- If you would like to support the homeless families of RAIN, you can make a tax-deductible donation please send checks payable to:
RAIN Communities, Inc.
P.O. Box 1934
Camarillo, CA 93011-1934
Padre Serra Parish is proud to charter a Boy Scout Troop and support three Girl Scouts units
Boy Scout Troop #257
For more information about Boy Scouts, please contact:
(805) 987 · 8432
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Becoming Catholic RCIA
Behind The Scenes
Holy Day Of Obligation
Message Of The Week
Peace & Justice