InterSem, conceived by Msgr. Royale Vadakin and Rabbi Alfred Wolf in cooperation with the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the Interreligious Council of Southern California, offers a positive interreligious experience for the students of the Catholic, Jewish and Protestant seminaries that participate. Seminarians from participating institutions take part in annual InterSem Conference discussions which reflect the challenges to religious leaders in a pluralistic environment. All seminarians at St. John’s are welcome and encouraged to participate in the annual InterSem Conference. In addition, faculty and student members of the planning team, representing each of the major seminaries participating in the conference, meet several times each school year to plan the annual InterSem Conference and to engage in interreligious dialogues on various selected topics. Individual students from St. John’s who are interested in becoming members of the planning team may voice their interest to the InterSem faculty coordinator, who is appointed by the Rector.
Mission, Peace, and Justice Society
Responding to Christ’s missionary call to evangelize, the Mission, Peace, and Justice Society seeks to support the Church’s missionary, development, and relief activities, especially among poor and marginalized peoples. Lifting the eyes of St. John’s Seminary Community to the catholicity of the Church and each individual’s responsibility to care for all of God’s people through prayer and sacrifice, the Mission, Peace, and Justice Society coordinates, plans and orchestrates activities and events that raise both awareness and funds regarding the Church’s efforts to share the Gospel message in regards to: a) matters of economic justice and the Church’s option for the poor, including hunger, homelessness and materialism; b) the dignity of human life from conception to natural death, especially with respect to abortion, stem cell research, euthanasia and the death penalty; c) war and peace; and d) other assaults on human dignity, including but not limited to human trafficking, religious intolerance, racism, sexism, pornography, and abuse.
The activity of the Mission, Peace, and Justice Society includes the mission auction, mission week, sponsoring guest speakers, educating the community, soliciting funds, organizing outreach programs, and so on. In so far as it is possible, activities are to be coordinated with the calendars of the universal and local church including World Mission Sunday, prolife events, Advent and Lent. Every Mission, Peace, and Justice Society activity, any suggested methods of fundraising, and all disbursement of collected funds shall be approved by members of the Mission, Peace, and Justice Society in consultation with the Director of Students. The proceedings and documents of the Mission, Peace, and Justice Society are open, on request, to students and seminary administration. The Student Senate Treasurer shall audit the financial records of the Mission, Peace, and Justice Society at least once each year and report his findings to the Student Senate and the Director of Students. The Mission, Peace, and Justice Society and its members are subject to the objectives, guidelines, and election proceedings as established in the Constitution and By-laws of the Student Senate. The Mission, Peace, and Justice Society Facilitator is elected at-large by the seminary community at the regular fall election. Each class of formation, other than the class from which the Facilitator originates, then elects a representative to serve on the Mission, Peace, and Justice Society.
Hermandad, the Association of Hispanic Seminarians, has as its purpose, the promoting of awareness, appreciation, and preservation of Hispanic language and culture. It also serves as a primary support group for Hispanic seminarians studying at St. John’s. Membership and participation in the organization is open to all seminarians, regardless of ethnic identity, who are interested in furthering the purposes of the Association. Functioning under their own student leadership, members of Hermandad take responsibility throughout the year for various cultural and religious events associated with Hispanic culture, in particular, the celebrations surrounding the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Vietnamese Seminarian Association
At St. John’s Seminary the Vietnamese seminarians have established an association among themselves while studying and living at the Seminary. The purpose of this association is to: (1) support one another’s vocation in service to the world, (2) promote and witness vocation to the priesthood and religious life, and (3) introduce and foster Vietnamese culture and tradition within the understanding of Catholic Christian and other faith traditions.
Annually, the V.S.A. sponsors the celebration of two main events: the Mass of the Vietnamese Martyrs and the Mass of the Lunar New Year. These important events draw people from around the Ventura County area to participate. In addition, the V.S.A. publishes their yearly magazine, right around the time to celebrate the Lunar New Year in the spring semester, as a vehicle of communication to the Vietnamese Catholic faithful at large, mostly in Southern California.
In a time when the number of priests is declining and vocations to the seminary are few, the seminary community is called to encourage and promote vocations to the priesthood in whatever way it can. To take up this challenge, the Vocations Committee is charged with the following responsibilities: a) preparing for and guiding the semi-annual priesthood discernment retreats in the Fall and Spring semesters, in consultation with the Director of Students and interested diocesan vocation directors; b) working with interested diocesan vocation directors to arrange for seminarians to give vocation talks in nearby parishes; c) under supervision of the Director of Students, welcoming, hosting, sponsoring and/or giving vocation talks to groups visiting the seminary (e.g., Serra Club, Boy Scouts, Young Ladies’ Institute, Knights of Columbus); and d) performing other vocation-related duties as assigned to the committee by the Student Senate President after consultation with the Student Senate.
The Vocations Committee and its members are subject to the objectives, guidelines, and election proceedings as established in the Constitution and By-laws of the Student Senate. The Vocations Committee Facilitator is elected at-large by the seminary community at the regular fall election. Each class of formation, other than the class from which the Facilitator originates, then elects a representative to serve on the Vocations Committee.