Diocesan News

Omaha priest to lead Minnesota seminary

OMAHA – Father Joseph C. Taphorn is leaving his post as pastor and director of the St. John Paul II Newman Center in Omaha to become rector of The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul, Minn.
Founded in 1894, St. Paul Seminary is currently preparing 79 men for the priesthood. It serves over 16 U.S. dioceses and three international dioceses.

Taphorn will take over as rector in January 2019. He will remain pastor and director of the Newman Center until then, but plans to make extended visits to the seminary this fall to acquaint himself with seminarians, faculty, staff, and leadership.

Father Joseph Taphorn of the Archdiocese of Omaha preaches a retreat for Lincoln Diocese employees in 2017 at Our Lady of Good Counsel Retreat House near Waverly. SNR photo/Cathy Blankenau Bender

“I am both humbled and honored for the opportunity to form men for the priesthood of Jesus Christ,” Taphorn said. “I am grateful for the support and encouragement of Archbishop Lucas in accepting this appointment.”

Taphorn is the founding pastor and director of the St. John Paul II Newman Center at the University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO). He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1997. He received his theological formation at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, earning both a master of arts in theology and master of divinity degrees. His bachelor’s degree is from Benedictine College in Kansas in 1993.

Taphorn, 47, earned his licentiate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 2002. He has served in various administrative roles in the Archdiocese of Omaha under Archbishop Elden F. Curtiss and Archbishop George J. Lucas. His assignments include vice-chancellor, chancellor, judge of the Metropolitan Tribunal, judicial vicar, vicar for clergy, and moderator of the curia.

“The work of directing the formation of priests has a profound effect on the future of dioceses, parishes and families,” Archbishop Lucas said. “Father Taphorn’s talent and experience have prepared him to take on this important responsibility. I pray that his time at St. Paul Seminary will bear good fruit in the Church.”

In 2017, Taphorn received his certification in the Spirituality of the Diocesan Priesthood and Spiritual Direction from the Institute of Priestly Formation in Omaha. He serves as a spiritual director for the institute’s summer program for diocesan seminarians.

In addition to his parish assignments and extensive work at the diocesan level, 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.

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 on local, regional and national levels.

Taphorn will succeed Msgr. Aloysius Callaghan who has served as rector since his appointment in 2005.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis will send one of its priests, the Rev. Jake Anderson, to assist at the Newman Center for one year. He will help Taphorn with the transition this fall at the Newman Center and provide pastoral leadership after Taphorn assumes his new duties in January.

A native of Omaha, Taphorn said he will miss serving in the Archdiocese of Omaha and his ministry on the UNO campus. “I will especially miss my daily interactions with college students and staff at the Newman Center. It will always hold a special place in my heart.”

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