From the rector: Laity plays crucial role in formation of Church leaders

Father Taphorn from Saint Paul Seminary
Father Taphorn shares with us the importance of laity in the formation of seminarians.

Dear Friends,

Recently, a talented young friend of mine who started a new job just a couple of months ago let me know that she is resigning her position. What was especially missing in her new work environment was the presence of a strong team, sharing common values and complementary gifts. As she seeks new employment, she told me that being a part of a good team is her priority.

In my years of priesthood, I have been blessed to be a part of and to lead great teams. The gifted men and women with whom I have served came from among those that we at The Saint Paul Seminary exist to form: priests, deacons and lay leaders.

As we form seminarians for the priesthood, we stress that a priest will not be fruitful in his ministry if he attempts to go at it alone. God gives charisms to all of His people. A wise pastor will foster the gifts of the laity in his parish and help his parishioners to discern and use them, such that they may build up the Church, the Body of Christ on earth. The laity, in particular, have the role of transforming the temporal order for Christ, to make our world a better reflection of the Kingdom of God.

We believe that the laity also have an important role in the formation of seminarians. We see this in many ways, especially in our teaching parish program. And after ordination, priests need the support and assistance of lay collaborators. The seminary’s new priest wellness coordinator, Susan Torborg, is one example of a talented lay woman who is now helping clergy.

The diaconate, meanwhile, one of the “orders” that make up the sacrament of Holy Orders, can be likened to a bridge or a connector between the priesthood and the laity. You can learn more about the permanent diaconate’s key place in the Church and how we form men to serve as deacons through our Institute for Diaconate Formation. One recently ordained deacon is Adelmo Garcia, who is now thriving in Latino ministry.

Please accept my gratitude and prayers as you continue to support our mission to form joyful priests, deacons and lay leaders. The Church, and the world, need them all.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Reverend Joseph C. Taphorn, JCL
Rector and Vice President
The Saint Paul Seminary

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