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Spiritual Life

The Mission of the SJV Lay Division

By September 6, 2023No Comments

As the Director of the Lay Division at St. John Vianney Seminary for the Archdiocese of Denver, I have the blessing of overseeing unique programs of study. Unique because our seminary is not only concerned with the formation of clerics, but also the laity. Our mission is to put people in contact and communion with Jesus, Who alone leads us to the heart of the Father in the Holy Spirit. In essence, we’re all about making and maturing disciples. We do this through various offerings that study God’s call to each and every person to have a personal relationship with Him in the Church that He established with the Precious Blood of Jesus. Our two flagship programs are the Denver Catholic Biblical School, a four-year study of the Sacred Scriptures, and the Denver Catholic Catechetical School, a two-year study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We also offer other programs of study: year-long “Enrichment Courses” in different topics, Short Courses throughout the year, Lecture Series throughout the liturgical seasons, and day long Workshops/Conferences. Wherever you’re at in your faith, we have something for everybody!

The first step towards being a disciple is to know the faith. This is because we cannot love what we don’t first know. How could we ever think of loving Christ, no less with all of our heart, soul, and mind, without first knowing Him? So the first element of fulfilling our mission lies in bringing people the knowledge of Jesus, without which we cannot love Him.

But of course, it doesn’t end there. Because as Saint Paul writes, the greatest of all virtues is charity, without which our knowledge bears no fruit for the kingdom of God. As such, we think of our teaching as not so much academic as formative. I don’t mean that our teaching is not intellectually robust…far from it, for I think our programs challenge the mind in ways that it has never been. I mean formative in the sense that our teaching is meant to transform, not just the mind, but also the heart. For as the Scriptures tell us, we must be doers of the Word, not hearers only. What good is our teaching if it doesn’t actually transform lives?

To round this out, not only can we not love what we don’t first know, but we also won’t share what we don’t first love. Which is the culmination of our formation: to bring the student not just deeper into relationship with Christ, but to give the desire and confidence to testify to Him, whether by word of mouth or the simple witness to a silent life transformed in Christ. We cannot love what don’t first know, and we won’t share what we don’t first love. And that is our mission: to bring the faithful to know, love, and share in Christ, just as the apostles did. God willing, our students may one day say, as we read of Saint Paul in Galatians 2:20, that “it is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me”.

As we begin to start another Academic Year next week, I invite you to join us in our mission of discipleship! Our much beloved Biblical School, Catechetical School, and year-long Enrichment courses, which have changed the lives of thousands, are available to all with both in person and online options. Check out our class options (starting Monday, 9/11) at sjvlaydivision.org and get ready for your life to change in studying the faith with us!

Daniel Campbell

Daniel Campbell graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Preprofessional Studies from the University of Notre Dame. After graduation, he worked in medical research for five years in preparation for medical school. However, God called him to a different life when he entered the Catholic Church and received the sacraments of Confirmation and First Eucharist in 2008. Daniel completed his Master's Degree in Systematic Theology at the Augustine Institute in 2012, focusing his studies on the works of St. Thomas Aquinas. He is the Director and Coordinator of Curriculum Development for the Lay Division. In addition to teaching for the Biblical School, Daniel has developed and taught The Art of Living and The Wisdom of the Saints Enrichment Courses. Daniel is married, and he and his wife have four children.

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