St. Sebastian Parish

Water in the Desert.   Lent is a time of penitence and sacrifice.  It is also a time of promise and of grace.


Jesus said to them,
“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me
and to finish his work.
Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’?
I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.
The reaper is already receiving payment 
and gathering crops for eternal life, 
so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; 
others have done the work, 
and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”  (JN 4:34-38)

The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice.  These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).

The process of conversion and repentance was described by Jesus in the parable of the prodigal son, the center of which is the merciful father: the fascination of illusory freedom, the abandonment of the father’s house; the extreme misery in which the son finds himself after squandering his fortune; his deep humiliation at finding himself obliged to feed swine, and still worse, at wanting to feed on the husks the pigs ate; his reflection on all he has lost; his repentance and decision to declare himself guilty before his father; the journey back; the father’s generous welcome; the father’s joy – all these are characteristic of the process of conversion.  The beautiful robe, the ring, and the festive banquet are symbols of that new life – pure, worthy, and joyful – of anyone who returns to God and to the bosom of his family, which is the Church.  Only the heart of Christ who knows the depths of his Father’s love could reveal to us the abyss of his mercy in so simple and beautiful a way.


Our Religious Education department is looking for volunteers to teach next year.  Two longtime teachers are ready to retire and need to be replaced.  Religious Education is also in need of a new Co-Director.  Please contact Earl McPhail at 805 901 1045 if you are interested.

It is Lent!

The Gospels speak of a time of solitude for Jesus in the desert immediately after his baptism by John.  Driven by the Spirit into the desert, Jesus remains there for forty days without eating; he lives among the wild beasts, and angels minister to him.  At the end of this time, Satan tempts him three times….  Jesus rebuffs these attacks…and the devil leaves him “until an opportune time.”

…By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.


Lent is underway from now until Easter Sunday, April 20th.  This year, Archbishop Gomez has offered a special invitation to reflect on the Beatitudes during this holy season:

“In the Beatitudes, Jesus is calling us to live as he lived on this earth.  And the first of his Beatitudes might be the most provocative:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

…Being poor in spirit means knowing that we depend on God for everything.  It means knowing that everything we have – even what we’ve earned through our own creativity and hard work – is God’s gift to us.  To be poor in spirit is to live like little children, trusting that our Father will always provide us with every good gift….”

Learn more about Lent at St. Sebastian here.

Together in Mission

Thank you to all who have responded by mail or during our pew solicitations.  It is our hope that we will receive a pledge from all active households in our community.

“Together in Mission is a beautiful expression of our duty to love.  Because of Together in Mission, the Church is a force for human dignity and social justice for our families and our communities.  May Our Blessed Mother Mary teach us all to be more generous and loving with the gifts we have been given.” Most Reverend Jose H. Gomez, Archbishop

St. Joseph’s Day Dinner:  3/23/14

The St. Joseph’s Day dinner fundraiser is presented by the Friends of the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception on Sunday, March 23rd, at Rothe Hall.

Please make plans now to support the priests and religious who serve our parish with such grace and devotion.

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Hope to see you at Rothe Hall.  Bring your friends and family!

Seeking Choir Members:  Cantare amantis est: Singing belongs to the one who loves!

The choir is in need of new voices, bass and tenor voices especially.  The choir accompanies the 9 AM Sunday Mass.  Rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings, 7:30 PM at the Parish Center.  All parishioners are most welcome!

To learn more and to join, please contact choir master Kathleen Goodrich.

Every Monday & Friday: Divine Mercy Chaplet

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is recited on Mondays in the Church in the side chapel after the 8:30 AM Mass, and at 3:0 PM on Fridays during Eucharistic Adoration.  Please come join us in asking for God’s mercy for the world.

For more information contact Sue Paroski at 805-525-7525.

Rosary for Life, Every Sunday

Respect Life St. Sebastian keeps a public Vigil for Life every Sunday on the sidewalk near Planned Parenthood, on Ralston Street in Ventura, from 2-3 PM.  Your prayers are needed!  Please join us in giving thanks for the sacred gift of life, and in offering prayers of petition for a merciful end to abortion.