Forming joyful, Catholic leaders so your family, parish and community can thrive is not always an easy task. Those entering ministry today will encounter a world increasingly hostile to the message of faith.
But then again, this is nothing new.
It seems providential in our current time, which is described as “post-Christian” — and often antithetical to the values of our faith — that our seminary patron shared the Good News in an age when the Church was similarly opposed and persecuted. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, St. Paul himself was ultimately martyred by the sword.
Of all the Epistles (or letters) of St. Paul, the one that probably best summarizes his theological approach is his Epistle to the Romans. Paul wrote the letter from Corinth and had not yet been to Rome himself; in a sense, he was introducing himself to this early Christian community.
In Romans 12:1-2, St. Paul says:
“I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.
“Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.
St. Paul is exhorting us to think and act like Christ Himself; this is the fruit of a life given over to the Holy Spirit.
As you will read in this annual report edition of The Epistle, this is the life we seek to instill here at The Saint Paul Seminary in our seminarians, deacon candidates and lay leaders. It’s a life that will allow them to be Christ to those whom they lead – be it in a parish, another Catholic apostolate, their homes or their workplaces.
“Be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” — Romans 12:2
But we don’t walk alone. And neither do you. Right now on our website, you can read about how the saints and their intercession play a huge part in forming future Church leaders You can also learn about the saintly relics that grace our community and remind us that Christ and his witnesses remain present to us.
As we, with the Communion of Saints, journey through Advent and anticipate Christ’s coming, I may God bless you and your families as we all seek to allow Him to transform us by the renewal of our minds and hearts.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Joseph Taphorn
Rector, The Saint Paul Seminary