A soldier for the Lord
The chaplain of Legatus’ Denver Chapter is also rector of the diocesan seminary . . .
Monsignor Michael Glenn
Had he pursued a military career, Monsignor Michael Glenn, 47, might be a full Army colonel now. Instead he broke ranks to follow God’s bugle call, and today holds officer status in the Church. After filling a series of important posts in the Denver archdiocese, he became rector of Denver’s St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in 2001. And last year he was named a monsignor by Pope Benedict XVI, a rank that bears the title “Chaplain to His Holiness.” The Denver chapter is honored to have him as their chaplain.
Tell me about your call to the priesthood.
When I was 12, my oldest brother went to West Point, and from that time forward, I always dreamed of attending. Then at the age of 16, the idea of a priestly vocation came into my life after I underwent a deepening in my faith. I did end up getting a vice-presidential nomination to attend West Point. But only upon arriving there did I realize that my desire for priesthood was stronger than my desire to become an Army officer. I went to boot camp and stayed most of the first semester, but left to attend Franciscan University in Steubenville. Eventually I made the decision to become a priest back home for the Denver diocese.
How did you get involved with Legatus?
The previous chaplain was also the previous rector of our seminary. And when Monsignor Samuel Aquila left to become bishop of Fargo, N.D., in 2001, I took over his position as rector as well as chaplain. Since our Legatus meetings are always hosted at the seminary — we have Mass in the chapel, then meet in the refectory for dinner — it’s become traditional for the rector to serve as chaplain.
How does being chaplain compliment your role as rector?
I really enjoy being chaplain because it gives me a chance to pastor a group of people beyond the seminary — lay people whom I work with in a variety of ways. Some members serve on the seminary’s board, for example, and others are involved in other roles in the community. Being chaplain has provided me with great friendships as well, and I hope they’ll grow and endure. Oh, and almost every year when the semester is over, the men of Legatus who ski — and that’s most of them — meet me for a day of skiing in Vail. That’s really fun.
What has Legatus brought to your diocese?
Legatus has provided an opportunity for members to network and rally behind the bishop [Archbishop Charles J. Chaput]. There are a number of initiatives where they’ve chosen to exercise their political responsibilities, guided by their faith.
Legates also support the Colorado Catholic Conference on political legislation. So Legatus provides great networking opportunities for Catholics across the diocese to support Catholic views in the public square.
Our members’ leadership roles in corporations and civic organizations give them enormous influence — a big opportunity to be a strong voice affecting public opinion and discourse. It’s important to encourage them to be clear and stand up for the faith, especially in this secularized society with a hostile media culture.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
In summers I like hiking, backpacking and biking. In winter, it’s downhill and telemark skiing, which is sort of like backwoods skiing. I also love to read and pray whenever I can, though I don’t have as much free time as I’d like.
I just finished a six-month sabbatical, and an eight-day retreat in Assisi. I spend time in Italy almost every year because our seminary grants degrees through the Pontifical Lateran University. I ended my sabbatical with a 30-day stay at a Trappist monastery in Spencer, Mass., which was a very prayerful time.