SPS Rector: Joyful Catholic leaders are exactly what the world needs today

Father Joseph Taphorn, Rector of the Saint Paul Seminary

Dear friends,

As many of you know, former Delta Airlines executive Bill Lentsch was recently named chief operating officer for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Bill, who is also a member of the seminary’s Board of Trustees, shared some of his wisdom this fall with clergy from the Twin Cities area and beyond at our “Pastor Workshop,” a signature program of the seminary’s Institute for Ongoing Clergy Formation.

“Leadership,” Lentsch explained, “is a contact sport.”

That statement is true at the seminary these days, as well. There have certainly been bruises along the way – both figurative (COVID-19, political and social unrest… you know the list) and literal. Examples of the latter include injuries sustained by
our seminarians on the flag football field, and even yours truly and a few seminarians and alumni priests limping across the finish line at this year’s Twin Cities Marathon.

But despite the obstacles before us, I am pleased to share we are coming out of challenging and turbulent days stronger than ever before.

The Saint Paul Seminary has seen tremendous growth. Last year, we had 70 seminarians in formation; there are 90 here this year, which represents the largest one-year jump in enrollment since 1975. There are 44 new men, which is also believed to be a seminary record. All thanks be to God for these new vocations!

All told, including our lay certificate and degree programs, as well as the work of our various institutes, we have more than 1,000 clergy and lay leaders receiving formation at The Saint Paul Seminary to serve your parishes, schools, communities and families.

These joyful, Catholic leaders are exactly what the world needs today: men and women who are not afraid to enter into the messiness of life to accompany souls to Christ, even if it means hitting some bumps along the way. That’s the real “contact sport” that Mr. Lentsch was speaking of!

You can read about some of them in this edition of the Oracle. Here, we take a deeper dive into our unprecedented growth; feature the impact that renowned evangelist and catechist Jeff Cavins continues to have on the seminary; hear stories about our outstanding faculty, as well as an alumnus and current diaconate candidate ministering to the Hmong community in the Twin Cities. We also look to the future as we continue to enhance our mission of forming joyful, Catholic leaders, and how you can help support this vital work.

As always, be assured of my prayers and those of our entire community. Thank you for being a member of The Saint Paul Seminary family, and may God bless you.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Reverend Joseph C. Taphorn, JCL
Rector and Vice President


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