St. Thomas Academy theology teacher Joe Seidel is a 2018 Leading with Faith Award recipient

Joe Seidel

For his commitment to leading boys to become men of character and faith, and years of selfless service to the community, St. Thomas Academy theology teacher Joe Seidel is a 2018 Leading with Faith Award recipient. The annual awards program from The Catholic Spirit, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, honors men and women business and community leaders who integrate their Catholic faith in their workplaces. Seidel received the award from Archbishop Bernard Hebda at a ceremony on Friday, Aug. 10.

“Joe has been a strong Catholic role model and spiritual mentor for thousands of boys who have graduated from St. Thomas Academy, and a confidant and trusted friend to the Academy’s faculty, staff and volunteers,” said Headmaster Matthew C. Mohs. “He leads from the front, middle and behind. To him, faith isn’t just going to mass and saying the right things – it’s following Jesus’ example and living out the Gospel.”

Since 1987, Seidel has been a part of the St. Thomas Academy community. He works in various roles: a theology instructor, crime and justice instructor, CHOOSE coordinator and senior service project coordinator. In the absence of a full-time chaplain during the 2017-18 school year, Seidel led the Academy’s sacristan and liturgy committee, sustaining the community’s faith life through ongoing mass, reconciliation, confession and Eucharist adoration. He also leads the Academy’s hallmark senior service program, which requires seniors to volunteer 50 hours in a year and a concentrated 40 hours in the last two weeks of school. This requires him to work with more than 30 nonprofit and social service agencies to evaluate the organizations’ volunteer opportunities and the types of skills and dispositions needed to be able to effectively pair seniors with appropriate volunteer opportunities to ensure a positive experience for both the students and the organizations. He monitors the boys’ work and hours served and evaluates their required reflective writing on their experiences.

Outside of work, Seidel devotes himself to improving others’ lives through extensive volunteer work in his parish, St. Thomas More Catholic Community in St. Paul, and the community. He has been a part-time water patrol deputy for the Washington County Sheriff’s Department for 12 years. For more than 40 years, he has been a volunteer youth baseball commissioner for the Linwood Recreation Center in St. Paul, giving kids who may not be naturally gifted athletes the opportunity to experience the game and learn team-building skills. He also helps coordinate the annual Joe Finnegan Memorial Golf Tournament, which for 15 years has raised money for students attending St. Thomas Academy, Visitation School and Cretin Derham Hall who have lost a parent.

In the spirit of St. Joseph, Seidel serves as the guardian and surrogate father to 16-year-old Isabella.

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