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Thomas Aquinas College chapel - Santa Paula

Name of Church Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel
AddressThomas Aquinas College, 10,000 North Ojai Road, Santa Paula, California 93060
Phone number 805-525-4417
Chapel website
Mass Times During the school year (all Masses are Novus Ordo in Latin, unless noted otherwise):
Sunday: 7:30 a.m. (Extraordinary Form), 9:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m.
Monday – Friday: 7:00 a.m. (Extraordinary From), 11:30 a.m., 5:00 p.m.
Saturday: 7:30 a.m. (Extraordinary Form), 11:30 a.m.
During school vacations:
Sunday: 7:30 a.m. (Extraordinary Form), 9:00 a.m.
Monday – Friday: 7:00 a.m. (Extraordinary From), 5:20 p.m.
Saturday: 7:30 a.m. (Extraordinary Form), 9:30 a.m.
Check the website for Christmas and Holy Week liturgies.
Confessions Heard before and after every Mass.
College Chaplains Cornelius M. Buckley, S.J., Paul K. Raftery, O.P., and Charles Willingham, O. Praem..
Description of the Chapel The recently completed chapel is stunning in its beauty both inside and out. It is a daringly unique mixture of Spanish Mission tradition and Romanesque styles, though profoundly traditional. Of particular note is the bronze baldachino, complete with curling legs reminiscent of St. Peter’s. It has been the subject of many and lengthy reviews. For instance, it was the subject of a recent article by Architect Magazine:
Liturgy No clown Masses here. The Masses are always beautiful and reverent. The Sunday Tridentine Mass is regularly accompanied by Gregorian plain chant provided by the College’s all-male Chant Schola. The College’s large choir sings polyphonic choral music at the 9:00 a.m. Sunday Novus Ordo Mass, drawing mostly from Renaissance composers such as Palestrina, Victoria, and Hassler.
Sermons Though the quality varies, the sermons are always orthodox, and they supply spiritual meat and potatoes. There is never the danger of either heterodoxy or pabulum.
Parking The Chapel is built, first and foremost, for the students, and parking is one area where this shows. The parking lot is not large, and it is one fairly large staircase below and to the side of the chapel. The only alternative is a quarter-mile walk. Those with mobility issues should provide extra time.
Acoustics For all the thought that went into the design, the Chapel’s acoustics are disappointing. All the marble causes a distinct echo which enhances singing but muddles the spoken word.
Missals All Masses are said in Latin - some in the Extraordinary Form, most in Novus Ordo. The pews are supplied with beautifully literal translations of the Latin Novus Ordo. A limited number of 1962 Roman Missals are also available for use with the Extraordinary Form.
Children As compared with your usual parish, never mind compared with the normal college chapel, there are an extraordinary number of young children in attendance at the Sunday morning Masses. (The College alumni are wonderfully fecund.) Most of the children are well behaved. However, be prepared for more than the usual supply of small creature noises. Though not designed as such, the back of the chapel contains two anterooms on either side of the main entrance that act as crying rooms. Each has a windowed door looking into the chapel, is well insulated for sound, and is supplied with a clear speaker connected to the sound system. Ironically, despite the presence of children in these rooms, the words of the priest are distinctly clearer in these locations then in the Chapel itself.

Though the children can be a distraction, the rest of the congregation is refreshingly reverent and attentive.


Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 12:35 AM By Central Valley
A little bit of heaven in the wasteland of the archdiocese of Los Angeles. If you are ever in the area, it is a must see! The dedication was wonderful.

Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 8:10 AM By OneoftheSheep
How beautiful! It is a tribute to the Creator that such a special place exists to worship and adore Him! We know that thousands upon thousands of angels occupy these holy churches and are waiting to greet us when we visit the temple of the Lord. Let us strive to be one with the angels who certainly desire to lead us in worship and praise to Our God. May Our Lady manifest many graces on those who visit the house of God.

Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 9:01 AM By Maryanne Leonard
Thomas Aquinas College is a small but extraordinary place of learning that has become one of the finest undergraduate colleges in the country, and the new Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel on campus is an equally extraordinary place of worship. We Catholics in Ventura County consider ourselves doubly blessed to have both the old mission in Ventura, still a functioning church and the oldest building in the county, and the wonderful new chapel at Thomas Aquinas College, perhaps the best kept secret in Southern California. The thriving Catholic community throughout Ventura County includes churches of every description: small, stunning, ancient, new, poor, wealthy, simple, and beautiful. Unified by our devotion to Christ and our dedication to the Catholic faith, we have also been blessed with brilliant priests, dedicated nuns, eager seminarians, and caring laity. Despite every imaginable modern pressure, everywhere I go in Ventura County, I am heartened to meet countless men, women and children who are upholding traditional Catholic values and living lives that prove keeping the faith is the best way to live. Ventura County gives all of Southern California a model for how the Church can operate, survive and thrive despite pressures of every sort from many directions. Catholicism is alive and well in Ventura County, and the beautiful Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel at Thomas Aquinas College is the most recent and stunning example of what can result when good people join together to serve God and mankind. It is a joy to see the vision and prayers of the founders of this fine Catholic college fulfilled in this wonderful chapel. Catholics in Ventura County are so very, very blessed.

Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 9:12 AM By Willi H
Extraordinary form Latin Mass: "Nuff said. Latin Novus Ordo: Sounds good. "No clown Masses here." Always a good sign.

Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 10:24 AM By Katherine
There is handicap access. To the left of the large parking lot staircase, in the main administration building, there is an elevator. I've seen it used, but am not sure if it is always unlocked.

Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 10:25 AM By Janek
A true gem in the wasteland of liturgy in Los Angeles, and it does prove that the Novus Ordo when said properly and reverently can be Holy. Yes I do prefer the TLM but, this far outways the typical Novus Ordo with dancing girls, guitars, drums, hand holding, etc. God bless St. Thomas College.

Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 10:49 AM By Anne T.
A beautiful church in a beautiful setting! and the liturgy and sermons complete the picture. It reminds me of one of my favorite proverbs from the Old Testament: "Like golden apples in silver settings are words spoken at the proper time."

Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 11:29 AM By The Truth Hurts
Now this is truly a "BRAVO" worthy endeavor! Gifted Architect Duncan G. Stroik more than fulfilled the expectations printed in the details on his website..... "No end of human works is so great as the honor of God...for this reason magnificence is connected with holiness, since its chief effect is directed to religion or holiness." -Summa Theologiae- This tremendously holy work of art is the truly needed antidote to the Church designs mentioned in Michael Roses book titled. "Ugly as Sin"...."Why they changed Our Churches from Sacred Places to Meeting Places." These gorgeous marble pillars in the picture above remind me of the spectacular gorgeous white Carrera marble pillars that used to be inside of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in San Pedro, California. They were removed and the Church was wreckovated into a Starbucks Meeting Space atmosphere. The Blessed Sacrament was relegated to a side broom closet and no longer the central focal point under the 4 gorgeous white Carrerra pillars with Gold accenting the Arc of the Covenant Pillars. There is a raised rectangle shape that resembles a Koi Fish Pond feature instead of the beautiful Gold Baptismal font that was once used. The first time I walked into the newly wreckovated Church I cried. It was a living nightmare come true. The abomination of desolation right before our very eyes.

Posted Saturday, January 30, 2010 11:13 AM By Dave N.
Yes, the children are a big distraction. In the times I've visited, they were anything BUT well-behaved--sort of a circus. Maybe this is not typical, but based on the comments above, I wonder....Very beautiful chapel though. Try to visit during the week.

Posted Saturday, January 30, 2010 12:17 PM By Anne T.
Dave N., actually I have not been there, but I was going on the description of the liturgy and sermons and the beauty of the picture. Yes, people do have to keep their children discipined as much as possible. Does it have a crying room?

Posted Monday, February 01, 2010 1:15 PM By Dave N.
No, I didn't see any real crying room, which is a pity. The chapel is very "echo-y" so noise is amplified in my experience. I have a little trouble hearing anyway, so this didn't help. Again, it might be better to go during the week, I don't know. But please do visit at some point--it's quite beautiful.

Posted Monday, February 01, 2010 3:43 PM By The Truth Hurts
Dave N, I would be interested in hearing your suggestions or any other thoughts on how to help correct the distractions from the noisy children. I am not talking about the occasional noise that might come from a crying baby. I am talking about an inability to control a little one or even take them outside when they cry. Please do not think that I am misinterpretation your comments. I am not interpreting you to mean that you don't want children at Mass. I really think that some mommas need guidance in loving but firm discipline. I don't know if it is a culture change but there does seem to be a new phenomena of young parents that appear to be overwhelmed with unruly little ones at Mass. Since Jesus said, "Suffer the little ones to come unto to me" and since many children attending means that Catholics are following Church Teaching and being beautifully open to new life, I am not intending to make this sound like a crisis but it is an honest issue. That being said, I remember when I visited my insurance office several years ago, the agent asked me what the Shroud of Turin center, (located in the same complex) was?. She said that she was astounded by the unruly and loud behavior that was allowed by the home schooled children that visited. during the week. I felt bad that these children were being viewed in such an unflattering way. I know these are very good families but I think there is a misconception on the part of many parents that they want their child to be their friend before they are a loving and firm parent. The agent who was not Catholic asked me why this was the case? I remember my father saying, "If you don't teach and run them, they will screech and run you." I know this is a very sensitive topic but I wonder if there could be some type of handbook guide with simple instructions that help young mothers to see that the good behavior and discipline that is enforced in the home will make their attendance at Mass less stressful on themselves and others.

Posted Monday, February 01, 2010 3:56 PM By St. Christopher
The church is lovely by all accounts. But why say the Novus Ordo Latin Mass, at all? It is better than the English version, to be sure (that pesky "pro multis", among other things), but take the real step, say the TLM always (maybe through in a NOL mass for the early riser Vatican II'ers). The beauty of the building is wonderful but its direction is muddled and needs to be refocused.

Posted Wednesday, February 03, 2010 12:26 AM By Dave N
To Truth Hurts: No, of course I think all children should be welcomed at Mass. In regard to noise, I also think there is a big difference between a crying babe-in-arms infant and toddlers just sort of noisily running wild. Yes, I think there has been a HUGE cultural shift in this regard--in this as well as just the generally acceptable noise level/talking at Mass (or even at the movies or the philharmonic for that matter!) Children benefit greatly in later life by learning to control and discipline their bodies even at a very young age. It's a acquired skill like any other and one that has to be taught--and it can be.

Posted Wednesday, February 03, 2010 12:37 AM By Dave N.
So, since the article brings it up—and I know there are lots of smart people here—what in the heck is a clown mass anyway? I have never been to one, nor have I ever heard of anyone who has actually been to one--does/did this really exist? Or is this just sort of an expression? I'm not being sarcastic--I honestly want to know. Now, I did accidentally encounter a puppet Mass once at the cathedral in downtown Seattle, so I do know that they exist.

Posted Wednesday, February 03, 2010 12:01 PM By The Truth Hurts
Dave N, Please Google, *You Tube Clown-led Communion*. This is what a clown Mass is. Also Google , *You Tube Halloween Mass* and watch a woman in a devil costume, distributing Holy Communion. This was allowed in the Diocese of Orange Ca. This is Bishop Tod D. Brown's Diocese. The apology came because of the You Tube exposure. Pay attention to the priest when he sits down while the costumed devil continues to distribute Holy Communion. He had become aware that this sacrilege was being videotaped and his very uncomfortable face demonstrates that he knows this is wrong. A priest from England who viewed this You Tube said, "As painful as it is to watch, exposing this liturgical abuse on YouTube, does a great service to the Church. Just like the hidden and horrific sex abuse scandals, the hidden and horrific liturgical scandals are being exposed." You will also see this same priest put on a Barney costume and come out and give the final blessing as Barney the Dinosaur. Google *You Tube Barney Blessing* Also Google *Jimmy Aiken Apology for the Halloween Mass.* This Halloween video was viewed by Cardinal Arinze's assistant in Rome. Many priests are praying for Cardinal Mahony, Bishop Tod D. Brown and Father Fred Bailey, who was videoed in the Halloween Mass, for the horrific abuses that have taken place.

Posted Wednesday, February 03, 2010 2:30 PM By Mark from PA
A devil costume? You people are crazy out there. Were brains on vacation that day? And a priest dressed up as Barney the Dinosaur? That is bizarre. Well, at least he wasn't dressed up like Marilyn Monroe. I've lived a sheltered life I guess.

Posted Wednesday, February 03, 2010 3:12 PM By RR
I know a lot of people will think differently on this subject as I do, but I used to think the same as a lot of you here until I heard a sermon a couple months back by the Polish Traditional priest who says Mass at our chapel. He said as noisy and naughty as children get, they should remain in the church. He said the more these little children are in the presence of God in the Blessed Sacrament the better. He said with all the evil in the world they will be exposed to later in life is more the reason why our children need to be exposed to the Blessed Sacrament as much as possible when they are young and innocent. He said children need to be in the presence of God to receive graces that they will need later in life. He said these children are the future of our Church, they need to be in God's presence, and they deserve to be there. So much more was said that I'd be here all night telling, but I think you all get the picture by what I have said. I know I felt like a heel because a few times I would think to myself, man, take that brat out of here. I felt so bad after that sermon about what I was thinking of these children in church. I had tears come to my eyes during that sermon of how I had these thoughts and as I sat there with my children. So, I will only smile with love now at these little children who are more deserving to be in front of God than I will ever be.

Posted Wednesday, February 03, 2010 4:45 PM By The Truth Hurts
RR, That is a beautiful post! I know many churches that pull the children out of the church to go to a class in the hall. They come back with coloring pictures. How could a piece of paper ever replace the graces received in being present in front of the Real Presence? I have also been present when the loud crying makes an elderly priest loose his train of thought in a homily and he stops and looks at the noisy area and remains quiet, until the screaming child is outside. It's very uncomfortable for the family of the little one and the people watching. I remember years ago a woman that I knew, came outside of Mass absolutely furious and frustrated because she had walked a very long distance and was looking so forward to attending Mass and hearing an inspiring and uplifting homily. I felt very sorry for her because I knew she was very poor, carless and derived a great amount of joy attending Mass. She was so angry and continued to go on and on about it. After about twenty minutes of real anger, I asked her if there were any people that she had hurt or offended in her lifetime, where she never got the opportunity to say "I'm sorry". The woman responded, "Yes, there are." I told her that I understood how frustrating it was but that she could offer up the frustration and anger to make reparation for the sufferings that she gave to others, that she would have liked to have made ammends to. I took her to lunch and gave her a ride home so she would not be tempted to beat the heck out of me and clobber me over the head. Actually RR, the statement did not make her upset at all. I saw the wheels turning in her head. I loved what you wrote and my wheels are turning and I really liked Dan's words that control and discipline are an aquired skill. Don't worry about anyone thinking differently about your wonderful and wise quotes from the Traditional Polish priest.

Posted Wednesday, February 03, 2010 6:55 PM By Mark from PA
For some reason, children in church never bother me. I always think it is beautiful to see the families. It always warms my heart to see the dads loving hold their small children. I remember once seeing a family going to church week after week and the mom was expecting a baby. Then one week they were their with their tiny newborn. What a beautiful sight that was.

Posted Wednesday, February 03, 2010 7:55 PM By JLS
I will try to reveal some little bit of wisdom from the animal world. The sounds made by animals naturally, and not those made by animals that are not being treated well or are being interferred with, well these natural animal sounds can at times achieve the level of music. I have heard numerous animals making all sorts of sounds and all orchestrated to an extent that no human composer has ever done, and I've heard the best of them. And I use here the example of the lowly animal kingdom. What about the songs of angels? When parents or clergy clamp down on babies, infants, kids in ways that interfer with nature and supernature, then of course what one gets is stress and confusion and hard feelings. God can speak through babies, infants, toddlers, et al. Why do so many people wait til He stops before they continue expressing their amazement that they have no idea what they are talking about, and institutionalize it in some tome they pay a preacher to scribble up? Seems to me if a preacher has something worthy to say then the babies in the pews will sound harmonious with him. They are too young to sin, although not too young to channel their sinful parents' attitudes into the audiorama. If there are long Confession lines, then the whole place will resonate with the voice of God as He plucks the strings of every soul the way He wants it orchestrated.

Posted Wednesday, February 03, 2010 11:01 PM By Maryanne Leonard
The charitable thoughts so many have expressed here also have occurred to me from the time of my childhood, but I have also occasionally seen extremely loud and disruptive children who have had a powerfully disruptive effect on the entire assembly of people trying to worship. Really, there are times when it is appropriate to take your children outside to calm and comfort them so that they can learn to become peacefully relaxed and open to the beautiful music and wonderful feelings that a spiritually uplifting experience such as Mass offers, even before they learn why it feels so wonderful to be inside a Catholic church to worship God. It is great to see children in our services, but sometimes not so great to hear them or watch them run around freely with no parental intervention. Parents need to teach their children to be at peace in church and behave appropriately, and help us all to keep our loving feelings toward the children who are indeed the future of our church. It's much easier for us all if children are brought to Mass for all the good reasons cited while also being helped to learn to be quiet insofar as children can be expected to learn to do so as they reach various levels of human development.

Posted Thursday, February 04, 2010 11:20 AM By The Truth Hurts
Maryanne Leonard, Thank you, for your wisely added thoughts regarding various levels of human development. Dave N's simple, yet very insightfully wise words, "Control and discipline are an acquired skill", have so much truth. I always remember a young mother of many children saying. 'If they don't listen to me or mind me when they are little, what will happen to them when they chase the ball into the busy street after ignoring my many pleas to stop?"

Posted Friday, February 05, 2010 12:14 AM By Dave N.
Truth Hurts, Thanks for the link--I guess they DO exist! It's really difficult to believe, isn't it? And yes, I was already intimately familiar with the facts and circumstances surrounding the now defunct (but only after exposure) Halloween Masses at Corpus Christi in Aliso Viejo. At least I hope they they remain so....

Posted Friday, February 05, 2010 7:52 AM By JLS
Of the various ways I've seen that churches manage kids during services, I'd say the simple and quiet way of merely taking them outside for a while is best. I simply integrate the commotion into my participation in the Mass; maybe for me it is like salt in the menu.

Posted Friday, February 05, 2010 8:54 AM By RR
"Let the little ones come to me." Jesus

Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010 5:31 AM By Kaylie
Great article but there was no mention of wedding ceremonies. I'm trying to find the perfect Catholic church in southern California.. has anyone seen a wedding ceremony here?

Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010 12:50 PM By Grisha
Mark fm PA: Please remember that apparantly all these weird masses (I do agree with RR in that some, probebly not all, but some are illicit) seem to come from SOUTHERN California

Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010 8:46 PM By Anne T.
At the Traditional Latin Masses quite often the children are given devotional children's books to look through by their parents. This keeps some children occupied in the right way for some time, and also teaches them to be reverent in church. In large families, the oldest child quite often helps keep their younger brothers and sisters in line. The only thing that would really bother me is if the children are running up and down the isles. They can get hurt or make others trip, and it destroys the reverence of the Mass. Many parents in the post-vatican II Mass do take their children outside, JLS, if they start to cry a lot or get too loud. After they calm down, then they are brought back into the church. A crying room always helps for very young children. Other parishiors can be helpful, too, if a mother is alone with several children and needs help.

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