A Message from Rector Father Joe Taphorn

[This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 issue of the Oracle]

Father Joseph Taphorn, Rector of the Saint Paul Seminary

Dear Friends,

As summer finally rolls around, I hope that we are all taking some time to rest, pray and reflect upon the past few months, which have been challenging indeed.

In March, our world recognized the threat of the novel coronavirus and the resulting COVID-19 pandemic, which drastically affected all of our lives. As most universities, colleges, and seminaries moved to send students home and conduct all classes virtually, I am proud of the way our men responded to being one of the few seminaries in the United States to remain open. While a challenging time for sure, the Lord blessed our time together and permitted us to enter into the work of priestly formation in an even deeper way. Now that our seminarians have departed for summer assignments, seminary leadership will use this time to plan to re-open again in the fall in a safe manner, knowing that the COVID-19 virus will be with us for some time.

As the school year came to a close and we celebrated our lay graduates and newly ordained deacons and priests, yet another crisis struck our nation: the death of Minneapolis resident Mr. George Floyd at the hands of four local police officers on Memorial Day. This act of violence, just a few miles from our seminary, launched nationwide protests against racism, an urgent and important message to be spoken and heard. Sadly, in some cases, these protests led to more violence and unrest, affecting many innocent people.

As I reflect both on the pandemic and the civil unrest in our country, I am convinced more and more of the basic truth of our faith: that we need a Savior, who is Christ our Lord. Our mission
of forming priests, deacons, and lay leaders who can proclaim the Good News with compassion and zeal is needed more than ever in our broken world, so that we can fully realize our vision of “the Church on fire with the Holy Spirit, a world transformed in Jesus Christ.”

Thank you for partnering with us in this most important mission.

Sincerely yours in Christ

Reverend Joseph C. Taphorn, JCL
Rector and Vice President

“The waves of death rose about me; the pains of the netherworld surrounded me. In my anguish I called to the Lord, and from his holy temple he heard my voice.”

(The Roman Missal, Entrance Antiphon for Mass in Time of War or Civil Disturbance, cf. Ps.18:5-7)

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