Father Joe Taphorn

Father Joseph Taphorn is Homilist for Opening School Mass

Published: Thursday, August 10, 2017

Father Joseph TaphornEach year, Benedictine College welcomes a priest alumnus back to campus as the homilist for the Opening School Mass. This year, the college was honored to have Father Joseph Taphorn, J.C.L., of the Archdiocese of Omaha, as the homilist. The Mass occurs each year before the Opening Convocation, the academic kick-off to the school year.


"Benedictine is an amazing place to live fully and encounter God," he said during the homily. "I had great mentors here at the Abbey and at the Mount."

Father Joe is the youngest of five children born to James and Joan Taphorn of Omaha. He attended Mary Our Queen Grade School and Creighton Prep high school before coming to Benedictine College in the fall of 1989.

While a student at Benedictine, he founded Ravens Respect Life, a right-to-life group that is still very active on campus today. It was also during his years at Benedictine that he discerned his vocation call and enrolled in seminary studies.

He graduated from Benedictine in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. After graduation, he attended the Pontifical College Josephina in Columbus, Ohio, earning a Master of Divinity degree and a Master of Arts degree in Theology. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1997. His first assignment as a priest was as associate pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Norfolk, Nebraska, where he served for three years. Archbishop Curtis then sent Father Taphorn to the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy, where he earned an advanced degree in canon law in 2002. Since that time, he has served in various roles in the central administration of the Archdiocese of Omaha.

Father Joe is currently the pastor and director of the St. John Paul II Newman Center in Omaha. He also serves the Archdiocese as Moderator of the Curia and as a judge on the Metropolitan Tribunal. Prior to his current duties, he was Chaplain of Campus Ministry for the University of Nebraska – Omaha, offering spiritual direction to missionaries and students. Through his duties at the JP II Newman Center, he still serves the student body at the university. He also serves on the advisory board to the FOCUS spiritual development program, and occasionally assists with their retreats.

The convocation speaker was Peter Robinson, a former White House speechwriter who wrote Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall” speech.  He is now an author and research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.