A Message from Archbishop José H. Gomez
I have a special devotion to St. Rafael Guízar Valencia. He was a courageous bishop in Mexico during the period in the last century when the Catholic faith was persecuted and outlawed. For more than fifteen years, he ran a secret seminary that trained more than 300 men for the priesthood.
St. Rafael said: “A bishop can do without the miter, the crosier, and even without the cathedral. But he cannot do without the seminary, since the future of his diocese depends on it.” I believe these words very much. They are an inspiration for my ministry.
St. John’s Seminary is the future of this great Archdiocese. This seminary is forming my future priestly coworkers for the apostolic work of serving the family of God and building the city of charity and truth here in Los Angeles.
The priesthood is a gift and a mystery in God’s plan for the salvation of the world. Every priest receives a special calling from God. This calling is an invitation to a great adventure of self-surrender and service to God’s plan.
The priest has a special heart. It is the heart of a disciple and a missionary. It is a heart that longs to share the joy of Jesus Christ and his love with his brothers and sisters. What a beautiful privilege to minister in persona Christi, in the person of Christ! Through his priests, Jesus Christ speaks his words of forgiveness. Through his priests, he offers this world his Body and Blood as the bread of life.
I ask God’s blessings on this Seminary and all its students, faculty, administrators and benefactors. May this always be a place where men find joy in friendship with Jesus Christ and grow together in knowledge and holiness and love for him.
I entrust these intentions to Our Lady of the Angels, patroness of this great Archdiocese.