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Dear Friends of SJV!

After a wonderful weekend back home with their families for Thanksgiving, the seminarians returned ready for the final stretch of the fall semester. And we came back with a bang – one of our three parish houses, Christ the King, hosted a celebration for the feast last Sunday night.

Advent is upon us, and for so many, it is a favorite time of the liturgical year. These dark, quiet days are the perfect anticipation for the coming of Christ anew at Christmas. For us in the seminary, it is a privileged time of contemplative repose, where we again turn to Mary as our model for lovingly and pondering the mystery at the heart of our faith – God becoming man.

This month’s newsletter features a piece on our in-house seminary podcast, The Sons of Ars. Check it out to hear great stories of our men, their conversions to Christ and calls to the priesthood. Everyone is so remarkably unique. And as a long time podcaster myself, I’m proud of the guys for this great initiative. Likewise, it is great to hear from one of our alumni, Fr. Kevin Kasel, now serving locally at Our Lady of Loreto parish in Foxfield, Colorado.

Tis the season for final exams and semester end evaluations – so do keep the men in your prayers. And as always, thank you to our many, many benefactors who make our life possible. Your year end gives are gratefully received – and I personally remain astounded by your generosity.

Wishing you grace and peace this Advent season,

Fr. John

Sons of Ars Podcast

Before coming here, seminary seemed reserved for men much holier and smarter than I to be trained for the priesthood. My whole understanding of seminary expanded when a priest told me about the Sons of Ars podcast. During my daily commute to work I heard seminarians on the podcast who sounded like regular guys talking about normal things and who shared their joys and sorrows of seminary formation. This is what I wanted, so my discernment to the priesthood began again.

In Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis challenges Christians to rethink how we bring the Gospel message to our communities. The Sons of Ars podcast creatively answers this call by sharing our unique role as seminarians and how we came to be here. The podcast started in 2019 by Fr. Ian and Fr. Micah when they were seminarians. They aimed to share diverse seminarian stories and enlighten anyone interested about seminary life to inspire them to grow in their spiritual life, especially those discerning priesthood. We strive to continue that original mission. Along with discerners, our audience is mostly friends of the seminary, so we hope all our listeners continue to be edified by our seminary experiences.

The current team includes hosts John Cooney and Michael Sparks, along with editor Michael Salemi. Soon new seminarians James Joseph and Dave Napierkowski will join the team as we continue to witness Christ through the podcast culture.

You can find us on any major podcasting platform by searching for Son’s of Ars or Sons of Ars ( You can also email us at

Michael Sparks

Theology I, Diocese of Pueblo

New to the Priesthood

It feels odd putting on a priest stole and chasuble. Not that long ago, I first placed on the deacons stole and dalmatic for the first time. While each time I would vest as a deacon, I knew that I would one day place priest vestments on, it has not become ordinary even if I might be rushed to prepare quickly for the start of mass. I do not know if this novelty will last after a few months in the parish, though now it seems based in the new reality to which I am still adjusting, as an ordained man executing the priestly office through the celebration of the Holy Mass.

Back in the sacristy, many priests and deacons follow the time honor tradition of reciting the vesting prayers, those which are specific to the garments which clergy use in their vesting. While these prayers help to silence the mind from the outside noise and center oneself towards the sacred reality which is to be convened in the Mass, I have also found myself overflowing with gratitude to the formators, spiritual directors, and facility teachers who have aided in my preparation. One does not really prepare oneself for ordination as much as he is prepared by painstaking work and effort of those around him, especially through the workings of the Holy Spirit.

So, to all who tirelessly work, plan, and scrutinize at SJV, I echo the words “well done good and faithful steward(s)!”

Fr. Kevin Kasel

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