In a recent feature story, the Los Angeles Times reports on the Junipero Serra House of Formation, a residential pre-seminary designed to begin the long process of preparation for the Catholic priesthood.
The Serra House of Formation, named after the builder of many of California's 18th-century Spanish missions, houses 13 men, some of whom are as young as 19. Sixty miles east of Los Angeles, the house is part of the Diocese of San Bernardino, which was formed out of the Diocese of San Diego in 1978, and which has no seminary of its own. Residents attend classes at nearby colleges like Riverside Community College. After one or two years, they transfer to Loyola University in Chicago, and from there, most attend seminary in Camarillo, California, or San Antonio, Texas.
The Los Angeles Times feature highlights a sense seriousness about celibacy. The rector, Father Jose Sanz, and the house's recruiter, Sister Sarah Shrewsbury, make sure that each resident has a criminal background check as well as physical and psychological evaluations. Father Juan Garcia meets regularly with the residents to assess their spiritual growth.
The article quotes Father Garcia:
"All of us have to love, but we love in different manners," Garcia said. "Celibacy is a way of living, loving and serving. It is different from the way of married people. It's not easy. It's something you have to learn. To be celibate is a gift from God."
Read the entire profile in the Los Angeles Times here.