Bishop Robert Barron and MSA agree on a new retreat ministry in California
Jun 11, 2022
Rev. Jeffrey (Skip) Thompson, M.S.A.
The Missionaries of the Holy Apostles has entered into a formal contract with Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of the Santa Barbara Pastoral Region of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to operate a retreat ministry and serve the faithful in the region — and beyond!
Verbal agreements preceded final signatures, which were finally collected just after Easter, but due to ever-changing "housing logistics" and very providentially, Fr. Skip Thompson moved into the newly renovated 24 bedroom home as its priest-in-residence and Retreat Director on March 26, 2022, the feast of MSA founder, Fr. Eusebe Menard.
In a chat between Bishop Barron and Fr. Skip, the Bishop observed, “Your coming has been coordinated by the grace of God. It’s all grace.” He went on to state that he is “delighted” with our new apostolate and hopes our ministry will become a “spiritual powerhouse for the region.”
Fr. Skip will coordinate with Fr. John Wayne Love, Pastor of the Santa Clara parish that owns the house, and the Bishop, per their agreement to “identify spiritual retreat topics that address the challenges of our day… and develop program content based on Holy Scripture and the Catechism of the Church, remaining faithful to the Magisterium.” The Bishop is also pleased that Fr. Skip serves as a Vocation Director for the MSA and that invitations to discern the priesthood will be a theme woven into program offerings whenever appropriate.
And, it just so happened, that the first retreat at our new house was delivered to 9 men participating in a Vocation Discernment Retreat for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles during Holy Week in concert with the ADLA Vocation Director, Fr. Mike Perucho and Asst. Director, Fr. Peter Saucedo.
The retreat house is part of a large two block campus of the old Santa Clara Parish in Oxnard, California. The parish serves approximately 8,500 families and is the oldest Catholic church, dating back to the late 19th century, after the original mission San Buenaventura in Ventura, CA. The parish also supports an elementary school situated on the same block as the retreat house. The retreat house is on the 2 block campus of the Santa Clara Church at: 529 W. 4th St., Oxnard, CA. 93030. Our contract is ad experimentum over 2 years.
According to contract terms Fr. Skip has the latitude to offer other retreats outside the region. For example, with the recent approval of Monterey Bishop Daniel Garcia, Fr. Skip offers an “open retreat” to the faithful in his Diocese at the old Mission San Antonio de Padua. The administrator of this original Mission founded by St. Juniper Serra in 1771, has given Fr. Skip a permanent place on their calendar every 3rd weekend in May. Make plans to come out! And please keep our new MSA apostolate in your prayers!
St. Joseph’s convent was built in the 1930’s to house the good sisters working at the Santa Clara Elementary School. Renovation began about 4 years ago to convert it to a retreat house for the parish. The “COVID shut down” halted plans and a new Pastor was assigned to the parish. As 2022 rolled around Fr. John Love needed a hand and welcomed Fr. Skip to come on board to “git ‘er dun.”
Bishop Robert Barron [middle] took a recent tour of the retreat house with Deacon Chris Sandner [left] led by Fr. Skip Thompson [right]. It all began when Deacon Chris met Fr. Skip at a Deanery meeting and when learning his heart for retreat ministry and the MSA charism, he referred him to Fr. John Love at the Santa Clara parish in Oxnard, CA. That led to a meeting with Bishop Barron and Fr. Skip in Santa Barbara and an agreement in concept. Fr. John Love and Fr. Skip worked to develop a simple, clear contract which was finally approved by MSA Provincial, Fr. Martin Rooney and Bishop Barron, Fr. John and Fr. Skip just after Easter.