Father Taphorn to become seminary rector in St. Paul, Minn.
April 18, 2019
Father Joseph Taphorn, founding pastor and director of the St. John Paul II Newman Center in Omaha, will leave his post to become rector of The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul, Minn., effective in January.
In his new position, Father Taphorn, 47, will guide the formation of men from 16 U.S. dioceses and three international dioceses. Currently, 79 men are studying for the priesthood at the seminary.
“I am both humbled and honored for the opportunity to form men for the priesthood of Jesus Christ,” Father Taphorn said. “I am grateful for the support and encouragement of Archbishop (George J.) Lucas in accepting this appointment.”
Located at the University of St. Thomas, the seminary offers a four-year graduate program in theology, which concludes a seminarian’s training before his ordination as a priest. It also offers a two-year pre-theology program for men who have completed a bachelor’s degree but have not attended college seminary.
An Omaha native, Father Taphorn grew up in Mary Our Queen Parish. He was ordained in 1997 by then-Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss, and served his first assignment as associate pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Norfolk. He also was administrator of the former St. Ann Parish in Omaha and St. Francis Borgia Parish in Blair.
He also has served the archdiocese in numerous administrative capacities – as vice-chancellor, chancellor, judge of the Metropolitan Tribunal, judicial vicar, vicar for clergy and moderator of the curia.
Father Taphorn received certification in the Spirituality of the Diocesan Priesthood and Spiritual Direction from the Institute of Priestly Formation in Omaha, and currently serves as spiritual director for the institute’s summer program for diocesan seminarians.
He was instrumental in planning and developing the St. John Paul II Newman Center, which opened in 2016 near the campus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), and became its first pastor and director.
The center offers housing for up to 164 students and a spiritual environment for students from across the UNO campus and several other metro-area colleges.
Continuing his duties at the Newman Center until January, Father Taphorn will be assisted during the transition by Father Jake Anderson of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, who will serve as pastor and director at the Newman Center for one year.
In addition to his parish assignments and extensive work at the diocesan level, Father Taphorn has held board positions or committee assignments with the Nebraska Catholic Conference, Archdiocese of Omaha Deposit and Loan Board, Catholic Cemeteries Board of Directors, Catholic Mutual Group, College of Consultors, Presbyteral Council, Finance Council, and Archdiocese of Omaha Sexual Abuse Review Board.
Father Taphorn has collaborated with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) and Franciscan University of Steubenville Youth Conferences to provide retreats and conferences on college campuses at local, regional and national levels.
At Saint Paul Seminary, Father Taphorn will succeed Msgr. Aloysius Callaghan, who has served as rector since his appointment in 2005.
“Father Taphorn’s talent and experience have prepared him to take on this important responsibility,” Archbishop Lucas said. “I pray that his time at Saint Paul Seminary will bear good fruit in the church.”
“The work of directing the formation of priests has a profound effect on the future of dioceses, parishes and families,” the archbishop said.
Father Taphorn said he will miss serving the Archdiocese of Omaha.
“I will especially miss my daily interactions with college students and staff at the Newman Center,” he said. “It will always hold a special place in my heart.”