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Churches Worth Driving To

Shrine of St. Joseph, Santa Cruz

Name of Church: Shrine of St. Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer
Address: 544 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95060-6147
Phone number: (831) 471-0442
Mass times: 11 a.m. every day
Confessions: 30 minutes before Masses
Names of priests: Four priests and two brothers of the Oblates of St. Joseph live at the site. The priests rotate celebrating Mass. A younger, Filipino priest, Fr. Rafael Levilla, serves as shrine director. The Oblates are a smaller community founded in Italy in the 19th century; the site is also the location of their provincial house. Fr. John Warburton, the provincial, is in residence there.
School: No school.
Special events: Seven Sorrows and Joys of St. Joseph devotion, Wednesdays after Mass; adoration and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament on First Fridays; and a variety of devotions, many to St. Joseph, throughout the year. See the website for dates. There is also an annual pilgrimage on the second Sunday of August on the Shrine grounds, a day of spirituality and recreation for friends of the Oblates.
Homilies: The Oblates are doctrinally sound and good homilists.
Music: Varies, on weekends you might hear cantors, an organist or a smaller choir.
Fellow parishioners: Many tourists, some locals. Since Fr. Rafael became director, a small group of Filipinos has been coming regularly.
Parking: No problem
Acoustics: Fine
Cry room: No
Additional observations: The Shrine celebrates the 60th anniversary of its 1951 groundbreaking this year; the first Mass was celebrated in the chapel in 1952. The Shrine Chapel is a place of devotion for the Oblate community and visitors. It features many fine pieces of religious art, the highlight of which is a six-by-eight-foot carving of St. Joseph with Mary and the boy Jesus. There is also an art exhibit dedicated to St. Joseph featuring scenes from his life, and a bookstore featuring a variety of religious literature. The bookstore is open 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.; the chapel is open 7 a.m. to sunset. The facilities can be rented by religious groups, so there might be a retreat or conference going on when you’re there. The grounds are well maintained as well. Take a walk down to the beach afterward, as you’ll be looking out onto beautiful Monterey Bay.


Posted Friday, February 18, 2011 6:14 AM By Thomas Edward Miles
The Oblates of Saint Joseph are a wonderful community of religious, real religious, wonderful work!

Posted Friday, February 18, 2011 6:57 AM By Traditonal Angelo
This shrine is one of my favorite destinations. I have to say everything is perfect there. The grounds are large, with many outdoor areas for prayer and meditation. A holy silence pervades the whole shrine. The Church is beautiful with an atmosphere of great reverence. All Masses are said with reverence, no negative surprises! Right across the street is a viewpoint of magnificence. It is a cliff with a grand view of the ocean. I first went there in the early 80's and met a priest who even in silence, one could sense his great holiness. He had been silenced by his superiors for upholding the teachings and traditions of the Church. He could not speak on matters of faith and morals and could not give sermons. He was allowed to say Mass Ad Orientem. The last time I was there I asked a priest about him, it turns out he left the order of the Josephite Fathers and became an independant priest. I said and asked, "It turns out that according to Rome this priest was right all along. I wander if his Superiors will ever offer an apology for this now deceased priest, considering He was right and they were wrong." The priest did not answer me verbaly but his expression seemed that he was well pleased by my remark. My understanding is that the Tridentine Mass is offered there but it is forbidden to be publisized. I found a missal published by the shrine in the pews, it was of the Traditional Latin Mass. When I showed it to a Josephite father and asked him what time the Old Mass was said. He became extremely concerned and said, "That was not supposed to be left there." He took it and hurried to the Sacristy. I understood this Holy Priest was being faithful to his Superiors.

Posted Friday, February 18, 2011 10:00 AM By Anthony Igler
You are blessed to have Father Rafael! We miss him here in Madera!

Posted Friday, February 18, 2011 12:06 PM By Rick
This is a beautiful church run by a beatiful community. The Oblates are great. Fr. Pafael is wondeful.

Posted Friday, February 18, 2011 1:09 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Don't the Josephite Fathers Superiors know that Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II put an end to the lie that the Tridentine Mass is not to be celebrated in public? In fact it is to be offered wherever the people desire it and not even the local Ordinary can forbid a priest the RIGHT to celebrate it in public. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Friday, February 18, 2011 1:46 PM By Fr. Rafael, OSJ
wow... thank you for featuring the Shrine here, we will pay back with lots of prayers, one thing amazing here in the Shrine is that - we always hear confession - everyday, 7 days a week - this lenten season it will start at 10 am everyday until there's a line for confession, I usually start listening to confession and then 5 minutes before the mass Fr. John will pitch in so I can celebrate the mass at 11 AM. Come visit the Shrine and experience the Fatherly Care of St. Joseph in our lives as our powerful intercessor to Jesus.

Posted Friday, February 18, 2011 8:01 PM By Anne T.
When we visit Santa Cruz, this is the church we also visit to hear Mass. It is quite beautiful and the view really is lovely, so are the grounds. Thank you, Fr. Rafael, for the info.

Posted Friday, February 18, 2011 11:50 PM By Steve Phoenix
The Oblates are actually not "Josephites", FYI, for those who care to know---that is a separate order. More to the point, Fr. Warburton and his order are a wonderful group trying their best in the difficult Novus Ordo world. It is my opinion they would love to have the traditional Latin Mass, which this beautiful little chapel was founded upon and memorialized for over a decade until the winds of Vatican II swept in. Spiritually, Santa Cruz, especially it's downtown and egregiously sanctimoniously 'correct' university crowd are spiritually vacant, in my view, but this little gem of a chapel and spiritual oasis overlooking the cliffs of the Monterey Bay, as others have mentioned, shows that somehow the Church will survive all things, the angry 60's, the drugged-up 70's and 80's, the narcissistic 90's, and the whimpering medical Marijuana millenium 2000's.

Posted Saturday, February 19, 2011 9:53 AM By JLS
The Josephites are not the same organization as the Oblates of St Joseph.

Posted Saturday, February 19, 2011 11:23 AM By Fr. Larry Toschi, OS
No priest was silenced by the Oblates “for upholding the teachings and traditions of the Church.” Our founder, St. Marello, left us a spirit of humble faithfulness to all that the Church teaches and of obedience to all that Church authority prescribes. We are never to consider ourselves holier or wiser than the Church. Priests are never “independent,” but must be in union with their religious superiors and may minister only in communion with the Bishop of the diocese in which they reside. We do not consider the problems of today to be caused by the Novus Ordo, but rather by pride, uncharity, disobedience, and irreverence, as well as the other vices so evident in our society. St. Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer, is Patron of the Church. His humble faith in Divine Providence invites all visitors to our Shrine to realize that the Holy Spirit is always active in the Church. Blessings on all through his intercession.

Posted Sunday, February 20, 2011 12:42 AM By Traditional Angelo
Msgr. Ruscitto is a Priest who is well aquainted with the Shrine of St. Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer. When I mentioned to him the Shrine, I referred to the Oblates of St. Joseph. As if correcting me He said, "Oh you mean the Josephites." I think I'll take Msgr. Ruscitto's word. Just to clear things up: The Josephites are formally known as the Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart. The priests who run the shrine are members of the Oblates of St. Joseph, a different order.

Posted Sunday, February 20, 2011 4:20 PM By Randy-boy
This church makes me want to get up on Sundays even tho I was a little bit out of the weather today and build my relationship with God once again. It's a very great location for a Church with panoramic views. I'm looking forward to next sundays mass and lent season as well =)

Posted Sunday, February 20, 2011 9:44 PM By Steve
The Shrine of St. Joseph's in Santa Cruz has become my Roman Catholic church of choice for Sunday mass. Fr. Rafael's enthusiasm, humor, and ability to translate the teachings into something that makes sense to the parishioners during his homilies is both refreshing and spiritually satisfying. St. Joseph's has played a pivotal role in my rediscovering Catholicism. Thank you!

Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2011 7:40 AM By Traditional Angelo
Fr. Larry Toschi, OS. Could you tell us who Fr. Matt is. And tell us a little about him.

Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2012 8:03 AM By Joe
This is now home to the TLM in the Northern part of the Monterey Diocese. The Latin Mass is celebrated every Sunday at 845am.

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