Over the weekend, Thomas Aquinas College hosted a retreat for the deacons who serve the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Santa Barbara pastoral region. “Bishop Barron has a particular desire that the deacons in his region have an annual retreat that will really deepen their spiritual lives,” says Deacon Chris Sandner, regional assistant to the Most Rev. Robert Barron. “The campus at Thomas Aquinas College was the perfect place to do just that. We were all very grateful to be here.”

Leading the retreat was Dr. Paul F. Ford, a 31-year professor of systematic theology and liturgy at the Archdiocese’ St. John’s Seminary. “Our retreat was on the theme of making connections, staying connected, and being connectors,” says Dr. Ford. “We spent time with the texts for the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (June 8) and the feast of the Immaculate heart of Mary (June 9). We also spent time digging into the readings for the 10th Sunday of Ordinary time.” Over the course of their three days on campus, the retreatants stayed and held conferences in the College’s residence halls, took meals in St. Joseph Commons, and attended Sunday Mass in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel.

“We were glad to welcome the deacons to our campus, and we hope their faith was reinvigorated during their time here,” says Anne Forsyth, the College’s director of college relations. “It was heartening to see this group of joyful, faithful men who are so deeply committed to serving the people of our pastoral region.”

The College enjoys a burgeoning relationship with St. John’s Seminary, where four alumni are currently studying for the priesthood, and a fifth — a member of this year’s graduating class — is set to join in August. “I am so impressed with this college, and I’m impressed with your students, four of whom are really standouts at our seminary,” says Dr. Ford. “I think I would have loved to have gone to college here, and I’m certainly going to be recommending it to our deacons from this region.”