Chair of the Saint John Vianney College Seminary (SJV) Board of Trustees, Archbishop Bernard Hebda, announced that he approved the board’s recommendation to appoint Father Jonathan Kelly as the ninth rector of SJV. He will succeed Father Michael Becker, who concludes his term as rector at the end of the 2020-21 academic year. The Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens led a search committee, composed of lay and ordained board members and seminary staff, to find Father Becker’s successor.
A native of southern Minnesota, Father Kelly, 47, earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business. There he competed on the Division I men’s golf team. After graduation, Father Kelly briefly played on the professional tour in South Africa and Canada before starting a career as an investment banking analyst at Piper Jaffray and working in private equity on the East Coast. He returned to the Twin Cities and entered The Saint Paul Seminary in 2005.
Father Kelly was ordained for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in 2011. He first served as parochial vicar of All Saints Catholic Church and School in Lakeville, Minnesota. Father Kelly was assigned as formator and spiritual director at SJV in 2014. He is also a member of the Companions of Christ, a fraternity of priests in the archdiocese.
“Father Kelly has excelled in each of his assignments,” said Archbishop Hebda. “The search committee recognized his generous priestly heart, keen intellect and relevant experience. It is obvious that he is joyful in his priesthood and will provide an excellent example for the young men discerning their call at the college seminary. I am grateful for his willingness to accept this important ministry in the Church.”
During his time at SJV, Father Kelly furthered his formation training by earning certificates in spiritual direction and seminary formation at the Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF) in Omaha, Nebraska, and the Seminary Formation Council in Boynton Beach, Florida, respectively. He has served as a formator and adjunct faculty during the summer programs of the IPF for priests and seminarians. While at SJV, Father Kelly also served as an adjunct faculty in the Theology Department at the University of St. Thomas. He regularly directs retreats and serves as a spiritual director for priests and seminarians, for lay Catholics from the archdiocese, and for religious sisters. Father Kelly has led several groups of seminarians on mission trips to the Motherhouse of the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, India, where the men follow in the footsteps of and experience the spirituality of St. Teresa of Kolkata and serve at her home for the dying and leper colony.