SJV Response to COVID-19

13 April 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

Thank you for your expressions of caring and concern about our Seminary in these difficult and extraordinary times. Be assured we pray daily for you and your families in gratitude.

During this coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we have had to make changes to our daily operations. The health and wellbeing, both physical and spiritual, of our seminarians and priests in our Seminary has been our main concern as we decided the best way forward.  Something that makes St. John Vianney Theological Seminary unique is our Parish House Model that establishes small communities of seminarians who live together with a priest-formator.

Therefore, after consulting with our formation teams and vocation directors, we decided at the beginning of March the best way forward was to keep the Seminary open but confine the seminarians to their formation houses. They continue their academic preparation with online classes.  Each Parish House has a chapel, and meals are being provided.  This decision was met with the widespread support of our Board and sending dioceses.

Staying here in Denver, we believe, is healthier for the men. It allows us to continue with our formation program. The seminarians have access to the sacraments, the support of their formators, spiritual directors, counselors, staff and faculty, as well as their brother seminarians. Thanks to the efforts of some of our Board members and in collaboration with the Catholic Medical Association, we have a Catholic primary care doctor for SJV. Seminarians may, of course, arrange for their medical care.

I am happy to report to you that our priests and seminarians remain in good health and spirits. They are very supportive of each other. More than once, we have had to “adjust our sails,” but fortunately, things are going quite well.

We are sorry to share that all First Friday Masses, Vigil Praise, and other public events at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary have had to be canceled. We hope to welcome you back to our Seminary campus in the fall to join us in one of these events.

At Easter, we celebrate Christ’s victory over darkness and despair, doubt and death. Christ’s victory is also ours. After this “Good Friday” time that we are now living, we are reminded that these difficult times will pass, and there will be an “Easter Sunday.” Life and Love Hope and Faith, Truth, and Joy will triumph!

During this Easter Season, we will be praying for all of you for God’s protection and intercession.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Daniel Leonard, Ph.D. STL
Rector, St. John Vianney Theological Seminary