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Greetings from SJV! May is the month of Mary. At the seminary, it  began with a traditional “May crowning” on the first of the month and concluded with yesterday’s feast, the Visitation. One is reminded of the beautiful poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins:

May is Mary’s month, and I / Muse at that and wonder why: / Her feasts follow reason, / Dated due to season … What is Spring?— / Growth in every thing—

Just as it is a season when things come to bloom, so too are the first hints of summer coming to be. In particular, these first weeks after the semester are what we call “ordination season,” the new blooming of vocations to Holy Orders. During these weeks seminarians at the end of theology studies are ordained to the diaconate and priesthood. A heartfelt congratulations to the newly ordained of Denver, Phoenix, Helena,  and Kansas City!

For the rest of the men, summers in seminary are spent doing a variety of pastoral  assignments. Our younger men are off to a variety of apostolates – Totus Tuus, Camp Wojtyla, Frassati Sports, to name a few. The old guys in theology studies are working in parishes all throughout Colorado and the western United States. It is a time for rest and prayer, as well as formation by immersion in pastoral life. We rely greatly on a number of fine pastors who mentor the men during these months.

Wishing you all a blessed and joyful beginning of summer!

– Fr. John


My name is Scott Powell, and I am a (relatively) new professor here at SJV. I teach in the theology cycle, where my focus is the Bible, namely the New Testament. Teaching at the seminary has felt a bit like a homecoming for me. I grew up near Boulder and am a proud product of Sacred Heart of Jesus school. I later became one of the early FOCUS missionaries and was part of the second graduating class of the Augustine Institute. My wife Annie and I later launched an apostolate called Camp Wojtyla, where we teach young people about the beauty of Jesus Christ in his Church through outdoor adventure. Most recently, I directed an outreach at the University of Colorado called the Aquinas Institute for Catholic Thought, where I taught classes, and helped promote the Catholic intellectual tradition at CU. It has been a tremendous blessing over the years to have been able to be a part of so many of the wonderful movements happening in the Archdiocese of Denver. Forming our future priests therefore, seemed like a fitting next step.

I am passionate about teaching the Bible. My doctoral studies at Liverpool Hope University in England focused on St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, and the role of nature (both symbolically and literally) in Second Temple Jewish expectations about the Messianic age. My dissertation was recently published by Cambridge Scholars Press under the title, An Environmental Ethic for the End of the World. In the classroom, I love bringing the world of the Bible (particularly that of Jesus and St. Paul) to life; namely, the politics, language, economics, and unique social realities that would’ve formed the background music to Jesus’ world. I hope that this teaching will make our seminarians both disciplined students of the Bible and our tradition, but also, effective and dynamic preachers and teachers.

– Scott Powell Ph.D.


It’s Holy Thursday. The Gospel is proclaimed, the rest of the church sits down…except for me. I approach the ambo, hands shaking, praying to the Holy Spirit that He would give me the words that He wants me to speak to His people. These people that I am preaching to, are my spiritual children, I am the one whom they call “Father.” I have been preaching to these people for 9 months… majority of the time I have no issue preaching to them, but tonight it’s different…

My pastor asked me, the young newly ordained Priest, who has no idea what he is doing, to preach the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. I was the most nervous that I have ever been while preaching. Why? Because Our Lord asked me to reveal a rather intimate side of myself: what it means for me to be a Priest, rather what it means for me to be a Father.

Fifteen years prior to this evening, my childhood pastor preached to his children what it meant for him to be a priest and it was the first time I felt called to the priesthood. Here I was, that same very night, in fact wearing the exact vestment he did, preaching to my children what it meant for me to be a Father to them.

St. John Vianney once said that “the Priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus.” This saying is twofold: as a priest, rather a “Father,” I am called to love my children with the heart of the Eternal Father. When I was ordained my heart was configured to Christ’s heart and I am called to love each and everyone of my spiritual children as Christ loved them…and that is no easy task. Secondly, the Eucharist has been proven time and time again, through Eucharistic Miracles, to be the heart tissue of Jesus. Each and every day, I have the great honor to consecrate ordinary bread into the heart of Jesus in my very hands.

To be a priest is to love Eucharist and to love the people. These two things make up the heart of a Father and I am honored and astounded that Our Lord has called me to this very ministry…that is to be a Father to His children.

-Father Gaffney