My name is Br. Sergio Emmanuel Perez, OSJ, and I graduated from CSUB in the summer of 2005 with a degree in History and a Minor in Chicano Studies. I immediately entered the Roman Catholic religious congregation of the Oblates of St. Joseph (www.osjoseph.org). In my last year at CSUB I had attended many vocation retreats with the Oblates and had started the application process. I was accepted in January 2005 and my first assignment as a seminarian was to represent our California Province at our International Youth Congress in Asti, Italy. It was very significant because it was my first time out of the country (besides Mexico) and the Motherhouse of the Oblates is located in Asti, which also houses the tomb of our founder, St. Joseph Marello. After spending two weeks in Asti, located in northern Italy, I jumped on a plane to Germany to greet Pope Benedict XVI at World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne. Soon after that great experience, I reported to our minor seminary in Loomis, CA and started our formation program.
I spent a year in Loomis as a pre-Postulant, living within the community to get an understanding of their way of life. In the fall of 2006, I was accepted into the Postulant program in our house of studies in Oxnard. I spent a year in Oxnard and entered the Pre-Theology program at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, CA. The Pre-Theology program is a one-year introduction for new seminarians to the fields of philosophy, theology, biblical studies, languages, and Catholic culture. After completing the Postulant stage, referred to as a “spiritual boot camp,” and a year-long retreat, I was accepted into the Novitiate in the fall of 2007. During the Novitiate, the novice is to remain in the novitiate house and study under the guidance of the Novice Master the spirituality and history of the Oblates of St. Joseph. I am glad to say that after a year of the novitiate, I was allowed to profess my vows of Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience, which are the evangelical counsels that all religious accept and profess as a way of life. My profession was on July 31, 2008, the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
I am now residing in Oxnard, attending St. John’s Seminary in their Theology program. This is a four-year program toward the Master’s Degree in Divinity for all seminarians studying for the priesthood. I am also considering applying for a Master’s Degree in Church History. Some of my history professors at CSUB may remember that most of my papers were on this subject. I hope in the spring of 2012 to graduate, if not with two, at least with one Master’s Degree from St. John’s and be ordained to the Sacred Priesthood. I am very happy and excited to be where I am and although I am ready to minister to all people, I still have a love of learning and, ‘most importantly,’ of history. Maybe in the future I will also be able to work on my doctorate, but for now I think I can handle a Master’s Degree. Many of my confreres understand my love for history, which was developed by the professors at CSUB. Hopefully, I can have that similar passion and desire within my ministry and community.