Name of Church Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel
Address (on the grounds of Thomas Aquinas College – “TAC”) 10,000 Ojai Road, Santa Paula, CA 93060
Phone number (805) 421-5931
Mass times Sundays and holydays, 7:15, 9 & 11:30 a.m. Weekdays, 7, 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturdays, 7:15 & 11:30 a.m. Civic holidays, 7:15 & 11:30 a.m. The first Mass of the day is Latin Tridentine. Check the website for holiday Mass times. Visitors are welcome to come.
Confessions Heard before and after Masses.
Names of priests Father Paul Raftery, OP, head chaplain. Fathers Cornelius Buckley, SJ, David Gonzalez, O.Praem., Robert Marczewski. TAC always recruits outstanding priests to serve its community. Fr. Buckley is the oldest of the priests, having been ordained a priest in 1962, who has served the longest at the college, joining the staff in 2004. Although a Jesuit, he is faithful to the Magisterium, is an academic and author. Before coming to the college, he taught at the University of Santa Clara, Gonzaga University and the St. Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco. He also served as president of St. Ignatius College Preparatory High School in San Francisco, and later as acting dean of the University of San Francisco. He is beloved by the TAC students.
Music There are two student choirs, a schola with all male voices (sings at 7:15 am Sunday mass), and a polyphonic group (sings at 9 a.m. Mass Sundays). During the academic year there is a full choir, and fewer voices during the summer months. You might see a student choir at the 11:30 a.m. as well.
Special groups and activities The chapel is used for daily rosary at 9:15 p.m. and adoration after the 5 p.m. mass, closing with benediction at 6:30 pm. The gates close at dusk; you’ll be able to get out after that but you might not be able to get in.
Fellow parishioners Students and staff of TAC and visitors.
Parking No problem.
Acoustics Beautiful, with good amplification. Designed for used by a choir.
Cry room There is a vestibule area separate from the church, with a window into the church.
Additional observations Dedicated in 2009 and built at a cost of $23 million, Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel is located on the grounds of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula. The college opened in 1971, and is known for its “great books” program.
The chapel was in the school’s original master plan, but a temporary chapel was used for years as other permanent buildings were built which allowed the college to function. The college’s board of directors chose the architect, Duncan Stroik, and the early Christian, Renaissance and Spanish mission style design.
The designers intended to revive the classical tradition in sacred architecture. It is a magnificent cruciform structure with many beautiful features; Pope Benedict himself blessed the cornerstone of the church in a ceremony in Rome in 2008. It has a beautiful marble floor (with Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict’s coats of arms, John Paul towards the front, Benedict in the back), magnificent marble columns (originally planned to be Indiana limestone like the façade), statues and other art, gardens, a dome (designed like that of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome), a baldacchino (a large canopy over the altar area), a large bell tower and much more.
The marble used in the structure comes from the same quarry in Italy that Michelangelo used in his work centuries before. The church is intended for students of the college and is not a regular parish church, but friends of the school are welcome to visit. The new church has been a huge success for the college and a “spiritual magnet” for the school, says Peter DeLuca, founder and vice president for finance and administration of the college.