The University Series, an inter-deanery adult faith formation and education program featuring local and national leaders, authorities and voices of the Catholic Church, begins its eleventh year Feb. 23 at ten Ventura County parishes.

Archbishop José Gomez is among the first-time speaker-participants in the Lenten program of approximately 90 courses (including some in Spanish) designed for spiritual and personal growth. “An Evening with the Archbishop” will take place Feb. 23 at Blessed Junípero Serra Church, Camarillo.

Other participating parishes in Deaneries 3 and 4 include Holy Cross (Moorpark), St. Mary Magdalen (Camarillo), St. Julie Billiart (Newbury Park), St. Jude the Apostle and St. Maximilian Kolbe (Westlake Village), St. Paschal Baylon (Thousand Oaks), St. Peter Claver and St. Rose of Lima (Simi Valley), and Our Lady of the Assumption (Ventura).

Workshops --- held 7:30-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays through March 29 --- address social justice, spirituality, prayer, liturgy, morality, Church history, current events, and more. Courses include:

---“Catholic Social Justice and the Occupy Movement: What Would Jesus Do?” with Father Christopher Ponnet, pastor of St. Camillus Pastoral Center (Feb. 27).

---“Is Your Heaven Different from My Heaven?” interreligious panel moderated by Father Bill Lowe, Catholic chaplain at Ventura County military bases and a former Episcopal priest (Feb. 29).

---“The Inquisition and the History of Censorship,” with Father Leon Hutton, St. John’s Seminary professor of church history (March 5).

“Migrants, Immigrants & Refugees: The Catholic Response,” with St. Joseph of Carondelet Sister Rosalie Callen, missionary and trainer of spiritual directors (March 13).

---“Vatican II at 50: When the Church Discovered New Media,” with Daughter of St. Paul Sister Rose Pacatte, director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies (March 21). 

---“Living Resurrection Faith in Our World Today,” with Father Steve Thoma, St. John’s professor of homiletics (March 8 and 15).

“Should Morality Change with the Times?” with Dr. Janice Daurio, professor of philosophy at Moorpark College (March 15).

---“The Pope’s PR Problem,” with CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John Allen (March 22).

---“Us Christians and Those Laws: Rethinking the Ten Commandments,” with LMU theology professor Dr. Daniel Smith-Christopher (March 22). 

There are also seven free musical presentations on the calendar, all at 7 p.m. Saturday performances (at St. Maximilian Kolbe) include Eric Genuis (Feb. 25), Joe Sikorra (March 3) and Lynn Rd. (March 10); Sunday offerings (at St. Paschal Baylon) feature Renee Bondi (March 4), Musicians of St. Paschal (March 11), Legacy (March 18) and Tommy Militello (March 25).

Workshop tuition is $5 per class in advance, or $8 at the door is $8, which also includes free admission for one guest. For more information, visit the Web site at to view entire course catalog, or contact one of the participating parishes.

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