St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church - Ojai, CA

Welcome to St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, served by the Augustinian Fathers. We are located at 185 St. Thomas Dr. Ojai, CA 93023.

History of our Parish

Just thirty years after Wheeler Bloomberg marked the opening of his famous two-story hotel and birthed of what is now downtown Ojai, this newest settlement in Ventura County was judged to have a sufficient population of Catholics to warrant mission status. Father Henry O'Reilly of Mission San Buenaventura was first to travel to Ojai to celebrate mass. The following year, 1904, Father Gerald Gay of St. Sebastian's Parish in Santa Paula inherited the responsibility for the Catholic faithful of the Ojai Valley. It was Fr. Gay's successor Father Thomas King, who built the first Catholic church in the valley on land donated by Thomas Clark.

This wooden structure, located on the corner of Blanche Street and Ojai Avenue in was then Nordhoff, served 15 families as well as a number of seasonal migrant workers. Fathers Henry O'Reilly, Eugene Sugranes, and John O'brien continued as part-time pastors until the appointment of Father Emil Ylla as the first full-time pastor in 1914.

The great fire of 1917 burned down the wooden church and adjacent rectory as well as a good portion of the village of Nordhoff. For a year and a half the parish celebrated Mass at the Isis Theater located across the street from the church property. Edward Drummond Libbey, the Toledo financier of Libbey Glass fame, approached Father Ylla ad offered his help in rebuilding the church. Libbey hired architects Frank Mead and Richard Requa to design a church a rectory in the Mission Revival style. It was the parishioners themselves who raised the money for the building, although Libbey later financed the landscaping as well as the wall surrounding the structure. The church was completed in 1918 and was dedicated on February 23, 1919 by the Most Reverend John J. Cantwell, Bishop of Los Angeles. It was this time the St. Thomas Aquinas Chuch was designated as an independent parish.

The Reverend Fathers Killian, Verhallen, and Moclair succeeded in Father Ylla, shepherding the flock until 1924 when the parish of St. Thomas Aquinas was canonically entrusted to the Augustinian order as part of their agreement with the Diocese of Los Angeles and San Diego to found a Catholic boarding school for boys. Villanova Preparatory School, which admitted students this same year, became the center of parish activities. Until 1944, the pastor of the church served as headmaster of the school as well.

In 1951, under the leadership of Father Phillip Holland, O.S.A., the rectory/parish hall was built; St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School was constructed in 1955; the convent to the house the Sisters of Bethany was added in 1958. The center of church activities thus shifted from Villanova to downtown Ojai.

By the 1950's, the Catholic population in the Valley (700 families) had outgrown the little church. In 1958, therefore, Father Holland purchased ten acres of land in nearby Meiners Oaks on which to build a larger church. His successor, John F. Blethen, O.S.A. assumed responsibility for the building program. Ground was broken in 1962 and the new church, with a seating capacity of 700, was dedicated on August 25, 1963.

The little church that had served the Catholic community of Ojai so well for half a century was known as St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel and remained so for thirty years until it was sold to the City of Ojai in October 1992. The final mass was celebrated in December the same year. Today the old chapel now houses the Ojai Valley Museum, Ojai Valley Historical Society, and the Ojai Valley Museum Research Library.

Today our congregation has grown to more than 960 families under the leadership of our Pastor, Rev. Thomas Verber, O.S.A. and Associate Pastor, Rev. Fernando Lopez-Castillo, O.S.A.

Saint Anthony of Padua

"Tony, Tony, look around. Something's lost and must be found!" Today is the feast of our favorite finder the great St. Anthony of Padua! May he continue to intercede for us to God in heaven! St. Anthony pray for us! June 13. An Augustinian monk who was inspired by the martyrdom of Franciscan missionaries, Saint Anthony of Padua joined the Franciscans hoping to be a missiona

Angelus News

Most Reverend José H. Gomez is giving away blessed images of Mary to place in your home. Sign up to receive yours!

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus!

At Jesus' crucifixion, the soldier pierced the Sacred Heart of our Lord — and out flowed his Precious Blood and the fountain of living water — the signs of Baptism and the Eucharist. Let us thank Jesus for his great love. And let us entrust ourselves to his Sacred Heart.

Vatican News

Our Holy Father’s prayer intentions for the month of June.

Pope Francis has released this video with his June prayer intention, which is for "inclusive and respectful social networks".

Welcome! Please join us for Mass! For any questions please call the parish office at (805) 646-4338 or visit our website at

This evening at the 5pm Mass, these 34 candidates were Confirmed by His Eminence Roger Cardinal Mahony! Strengthened now by a greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit may they always be close to Christ and His Church and set this world on fire with the love of God!

This weekend May 19 & May 20 we will be celebrating the great solemnity of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church! As part of this special day, the faithful are encouraged to wear red which is the color of the Holy Spirit, or wear something that reflects one's national ancestry to celebrate the diversity of the Catholic Church. Come join us in celebrating this great day!

Next Saturday at the 5pm Mass during Pentecost weekend, these young people along with 14 adult candidates will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Please remember them in your prayers this week that they will be ready to receive a greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit!


St. Teresa of Avila says, "You pay God a great compliment by asking great things of Him."


Thanks, Chris Stefanick, for this Real Life Minute!

This weekend we were so blessed to celebrate First Holy Communion at the 5pm Saturday, 7:30am, 9:30am, and the 11:30am Sunday Mass celebrations. Here are the First Communicants from the 11:30am Sunday Mass. Please pray for all of our First Communicants that they may fall deeper in love with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist each and every day!


Here's a powerful weapon for your prayer arsenal!

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday!

Friends, today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday during this joyful of season of Easter.

Last Saturday night at the Easter Vigil we were so happy to welcome Patricia and Susie to the Catholic family. That night they were fully initiated into the Catholic Church having received Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist from our pastor Fr. Tom Verber. Please remember them in your prayers this Easter season and the 150,000 people who were initiated into Catholic Church in the United States (3,000 in the LA Archdiocese alone)!

We wish everyone a very happy and blessed Easter! May the Lord Jesus draw guy closer to Him this Easter season!

Please join us for the celebration of Mass today at 9:30am in English and 11:30am in Spanish. All are welcome!

We adore you O Christ, and we praise you! Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world!

Join us as we commemorate our Lord Jesus’ Passion and death. 3pm Solemn Stations of the Cross in English immediately followed by the Good Friday liturgy in English.

We will also have a dramatized Stations of the Cross in Spanish at 6pm, which will be followed by the Spanish Good Friday liturgy.

Today we celebrate Holy Thursday, the day when the Lord Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist and the priesthood and washed the feet of His disciples to give them a model of Christian servant leadership. Please join us this evening for the Mass of the Lord's Supper, the ancient liturgy where the church commemorates and celebrates these mysteries. The Mass begins tonight at 7:00pm and will be celebrated bilingually. All are welcome!

Official Trailer from Pope Francis: A Man of His Word (2018)

This movie about our dear Pope is not coming out until May but we thought you might enjoy watching the trailer. God bless our Holy Father, Pope Francis! Long may he reign! 'Pope Francis - A Man of His Word' is intended to be a personal journey with Pope Francis, rather than a biographical documentary about him. The pope's ideas and his message are central to this documentary, which sets out to present his work of reform and his answers to today's global questions.

Catholic News Agency

A beautiful reflection from our Holy Father, Pope Francis.

Pope Francis said the crucifix is for prayer, not decoration. Then he offered this practical advice for the next time you see or wear a crucifix!

Catholic News Agency

Pope Francis doesn’t want us to be intimidated by confession. In a recent daily homily, he compared confession to God inviting us to coffee. “This is how the Lord calls us…Let’s talk this over, let’s discuss it. Don’t be afraid,” the Pope said.

We have a special connection to these two because the relics of these two great saints are in the side altar in our chapel. May they continue to watch over our parish and intercede for our church!

Sts. Perpetual and Felicity pray for us!
Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints!

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

In solidarity with our bishops and our Catholic brothers and sisters across the country, we urge you to call our local representatives and urge them to protect the Dreamers!

Spread the word - Monday, February 26 is a National Call-In Day for the protection of DACA youth. Contact your representatives at 855-589-5698. For more information, visit #ShareJourney

Vatican News

God bless our Holy Father, Pope Francis!

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, was named a Cardinal by Pope St. John Paul II on 21 February 2001. To mark the 17th anniversary, we bring you this video of several important moments in the Pope's life.

Best Lent Ever | Dynamic Catholic

Matthew Kelly and his team from Dynamic Catholic are posting new Lenten reflections for each day of Lent again! Sign-up and make this the best lent ever! It's free and it will help you prepare for the great joy of Easter! Do something different. Experience Best Lent Ever! Everyday during the 40 days of Lent we’ll send you an email with a short video, inspirational content, and practical tips that will help you have the best Lent of your life.

Tomorrow, Wednesday February 14th, we mark the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday. Please join us in marking this solemn day:

9:00am Mass in English
3:30am Ash service with Religious Education. All are welcome.
6:00pm Ash service with Religious Education. All are welcome.
7:30pm Bilingual Mass

Word on Fire Catholic Ministries

The rise in the new atheism and Biblical literalism have made it a commonplace that science and religion are in conflict. But Catholicism is a science-friendly religion, and many Catholics have been leading scientists themselves. Today Matt Becklo discusses a recent interview in which Neil deGrasse Tyson acknowledges the impact that Catholics have had on modern science. >>

This year’s First Communicants will be touring the church tonight and will be learning about all the things inside a Catholic church!

Our hearts and prayers go out to our neighbors to the north in the Montecito and Carpinteria areas especially our brothers and sisters at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish who suffered the loss of a parishioner and still have parishioners missing at this time. We pray for all the beloved dead that they may rest in the loving embrace of our Father in heaven, for the safe recovery of all those still missing, and for strength and consolation for all those affected by these mud slides. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel & St. Barbara, pray for us!

Vatican News

Let us join our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and pray for his special intentions for January.

Pope Francis has released a video message of his prayer intention for January 2018, which is for "religious liberty in Asia".

Find out more here:

Bishop Robert Barron

Friends, to celebrate Pope Francis' birthday today, my Word on Fire team has pulled together many of the resources we've produced over the years on Pope Francis, from his encyclicals and teachings to his strategies for evangelization.

It's a great website to send any friends who want to learn more about the Holy Father >>

Say a little prayer for our dear Holy Father, Pope Francis, today as he celebrates his 81st birthday! Happy Birthday Pope Francis! Ad multos annos!

We commend his soul into the loving arms of our Father in heaven. May God also be a source of consolation and strength for his family and friends that he leaves behind. God speed and rest in God’s peace, Cory Iverson.

We warmly wish our Jewish brothers and sisters, our elders brothers in the faith as the great St. John Paul II once said, peace and abundant blessings as they begin the celebration of Hanukkah tonight. Chag Sameach!

Today we celebrate our most Blessed Mother in her title as Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas! Our celebration began this morning with the traditional mañanitas and will conclude with a solemn procession at 6:30pm, a Bilingual Mass at 7:00pm, and a special reception in Aquinas Center immediately following the Mass! Please join us, all are welcome!

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most Holy!
Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints!

May our Ojai and Ventura County community be strengthened by the prayers of our brothers and sisters throughout the country who have been asked by their bishops to pray for us!

Please invade heaven with your prayers for us here in Ventura County, that the Lord our God will help quench this horrific fire and keep everyone safe especially our firefighters and first responders. Lord Jesus hear us! St. Florian , patron saint of firefighters pray for us!

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185 St Thomas Dr
Ojai, CA
Other Catholic churches in Ojai (show all)
STAC Religious Education - Ojai, California STAC Religious Education - Ojai, California
185 St Thomas Dr
Ojai, 93023

page for Religious Education of St. Thomas Aquinas Church