Fr. Jim Swift Has Devoted His Career to Seminary Work

In the many conferences that St. Vincent de Paul gave to his confreres, he often reflected on the various ministries the Congregation had undertaken, including the work the confreres were doing in seminaries.  In one conference he exclaimed:

Ah, Messieurs! What an important phrase ‘to make better priests’! Who could understand the loftiness of this ministry? It’s the most elevated one there is. (CCD, 11:7)

Over the past four centuries, many men have joined the Congregation of the Mission to carry on that same ministry: forming men for the priesthood. One of those is Fr. Jim Swift, C.M.

Fr. Jim began his journey to priesthood as a diocesan seminarian at St. Thomas Seminary in Denver. There he came to admire the Vincentians who were in charge of his education and formation. It wasn’t long before he realized that God was calling him to that very distinct and very Vincentian ministry.

Since his ordination in 1978, Fr. Jim has spent most of his priestly ministry teaching theology and forming  both diocesan and religious order priests. He says:

“God’s holy people want and have a right to priests with affirming pastoral hearts and personalities, a spirituality rooted in their intimate friendship with Jesus, a knowledge and love of our Catholic intellectual tradition and an ability to teach and preach well. To be a co-worker with the Holy Spirit in forming such future priests is what seminary ministry is all about.”

Currently, Fr. Jim is the rector of Holy Trinity Seminary, the undergraduate diocesan seminary in Dallas, Texas. For the past eight years, he has helped many men discern their vocation to the priesthood but also helped many who discerned that this was not God’s call for them.

“One of the joys of seminary ministry is seeing the men whom you were blessed to accompany through discernment and formation in their seminary years make a total gift of self in being ordained priests. And it’s the same joy in seeing those men who have discerned out and are also making a total gift of self in marriage.”

Father Jim is now wrapping up his term at Holy Trinity Seminary, but he is not leaving this very Vincentian ministry. In July he will head across the state to Houston, where he will assume the position of Spiritual Director at St. Mary’s Seminary. God bless you in your new position, Fr. Jim!