In 2016, Fr. Matthew Keller raffled off the first car restored under his V8s For Vocations program, which turns classic cars into a source of funding for diocesan seminarians. Five years later, on May 1, 2021, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, Fr. Keller and friends and supporters of V8s for Vocations were present as Bishop James Wall blessed a new garage, which will serve as the future headquarters of the program.
It is a common practice to place Catholic missions and program under the special care of a Saint, and after some deliberation, Bishop Wall chose St. Joseph the Worker as the patron of the new garage.
“Manual work is taking place for a missionary and sacred end – which is to form priests,” Fr. Keller said. “So, being the Year of St. Joseph, and [the garage] a place where labor takes place, it just made sense.”
Thanks to financial help from local Catholic organizations Southwest Indian Foundation and the Catholic Peoples Foundation, the garage has been erected at site of former site of a children’s home run by religious sisters.
“[That site] is something that we’ve talked about for a long time,” said Fr. Keller, acknowledging that the organizations’ funding turned the idea for the new garage into a reality.
When completed, the garage will be large enough for several cars to have restoration work done concurrently. Fr. Keller said he’s excited for the installation of a lift, which couldn’t be installed in the small garage at Sacred Heart Cathedral, where the bulk of V8s for Vocations work has previously been done.
And although the program holds a special place in Fr. Keller’s heart, the St. Joseph garage will help V8s for Vocations to grow beyond one person and ensure its long-term success.
“In the future it won’t just depend on me, or me being stationed at the Cathedral,” Fr. Keller said.
Still, he hopes to keep at least one car in the Cathedral’s garage to work on in his spare time.
“It’s easier to do when it’s right out your back door.”
The next V8s for Vocations raffle will take place on June 5, 2021. The car is a 1970 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler. The diocese pays the taxes and all proceeds fund the education of future priests. Buy tickets or learn more at v8sforvocations.org