St. Mary Magdalen Chapel nears 100th anniversary event

St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, located on a hill at the east end of Old Town Camarillo, will mark its Centennial Mass and Celebration on July 4. (Mike Nelson)

Known affectionately in and around the Camarillo community as The Chapel On the Hill, St. Mary Magdalen Chapel will mark its Centennial Mass and Celebration on July 4.

A series of events are planned prior to the celebration, including the Juan and Adolfo Camarillo Dinner on April 26 in the Chapel Courtyard.

Coming up on May 9 and 10 (10 a.m.-7 p.m.) is a Plein Air Art Event hosted by Studio Channel Islands Art Center, also in the Chapel Courtyard in Old Town Camarillo. On June 7, Studio Channel Islands Art Center will host “Historic Camarillo” an art exhibit and reception (4-6 p.m.), and the Chapel Courtyard will host a June 20 “Wine and Dine.”

The July 4 Centennial Mass and Celebration, with Archbishop José Gomez presiding, will begin at 10 a.m., and will culminate a year-long celebration in which the chapel has hosted public tours, art contests and lectures on St. Mary Magdalen. 

The celebration began a year ago with the rededication of the chapel cornerstone, which originally was laid on July 1, 1913. The chapel itself — built as the fulfillment of a dream shared by brothers Juan E. and Adolfo Camarillo — was dedicated on July 4, 1914. Its stained glass windows, shipped from Germany, were installed in 1919.

In 1940, four years after the death of Juan Camarillo, the family chapel of St. Mary Magdalen was given to the Los Angeles Archdiocese to use as a parish church, one year after 100 acres of Rancho Calleguas (bequeathed to Adolfo and Juan by their father) was deeded to the archdiocese to build St. John’s Major Seminary (which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year).

St. Mary Magdalen Chapel is located at 2532 Ventura Blvd., adjacent to the parish offices and parish school (60 years old in 2014), and is used for Sunday Mass as is a newer, larger church, opened in 1975 and located at the corner of Las Posas and Crestview.

For news on SMM Centennial events, call (805) 482-0532 or visit the Centennial website at smmchapel100.org


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