November 17, 2020
Most Reverend Bernard Hebda, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and Chair of The Seminaries of Saint Paul Board of Trustees, announced today that Reverend Michael Becker will conclude his term as Rector of Saint John Vianney College Seminary (SJV) at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.
Father Becker, ordained for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in 1999, has served the college seminary since his assignment as formator in 2009. He was appointed rector in 2010. Prior to SJV, Father Becker served as Parochial Vicar of St. John the Baptist in New Brighton and Pastor of the Church of St. Michael in St. Michael. The St. Cloud native earned his undergraduate degrees in Theology and Economics from the University of St. Thomas (University) and a Master of Divinity from The Saint Paul Seminary. He is a member of the Companions of Christ, a fraternity of archdiocesan priests and seminarians.
“Father Becker has encouraged and inspired priestly vocations in each of his assignments,” Hebda said. “His devotion to our college seminarians at SJV has been remarkable. As Rector, he has always had my complete confidence and the support of our sending bishops throughout the country.”
During Father Becker’s tenure at SJV, nearly 200 men have been ordained to the priesthood. Hundreds of other SJV alumni serve their parishes and local dioceses as Catholic husbands, fathers, and leaders. Signature events to raise essential funds for SJV have flourished under Father Becker, including the annual Vianney Cup golf tournament and Spring Mass and May Crowning. In cooperation with the Department of Catholic Studies at the University, he secured a long-term residence at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome for seminarians who study abroad. Additionally, Father Becker established January Term mission trips to India, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.
Father Ryan Adorjan, a member of the SJV Class of 2014 and ordained for the Diocese of Joliet in 2018, recalls the impact his Rector made on him. “Father Becker saw something beautiful in me and pushed me to see it for myself,” he said. “He taught me that I am loved by God. Everything about who I am as a priest is rooted in that truth taught by Father Becker. He is one of the best men I have ever met.” – More – “Serving as Rector of SJV for the past 11 years has been a great privilege and blessing,” Becker said. “I am proud of our seminarians, past and present, who are saying ‘yes’ to the Lord’s call and will continue to do marvelous deeds on His behalf. I am also grateful to have been associated with talented and devoted staff, including the priests of SJV.”
Archbishop Hebda is grateful for Father Becker’s leadership and believes SJV is poised for success. “Our college seminary has been thriving under Father Becker,” he said. “I am confident that the next Rector will be able to build upon the strong foundation of formation prepared by Father Becker.”
Archbishop Hebda will grant Father Becker a sabbatical before he takes on a new pastoral assignment. A search committee has been formed to find Father Becker’s successor, who would begin next summer.
SJV was founded in 1968 and has been served by eight rectors throughout its 52-year history. To date, more than 500 SJV alumni are serving as ordained priests, including four bishops and one cardinal. Many more are serving as lay leaders and faith-filled witnesses to build up the Catholic Church throughout the world. Currently, 105 men are in formation from 18 dioceses. They receive their undergraduate degrees in Philosophy from the University of St. Thomas.