Pirate Press sat down with Father John Butler, M.A./ M.D.M. ’14, who
found his true calling after practicing corporate law. Father Butler has
been an active member of the campus community as both a seminarian and
as an alumnus of the University.
You recently completed your education at Seton Hall and became a priest. What made you choose Seton Hall?
I attended Seton Hall Prep from 1973 to 1977, back when the Prep
was located on campus. After that, I attended Columbia University and
Fordham Law School. In 2008, I called Monsignor Anthony Kulig from the
Immaculate Conception Seminary about a vocation to the priesthood. He
explained to me all that I had to consider and explained
priesthood/seminary life. I chose to apply within the Trenton Diocese,
where a joint decision was made that I would attend Seton Hall due to
the quality of education, training and the proximity of campus to my
How long were you on campus studying?
I was on campus for 5 years as a resident in Lewis Hall from
2009-2014. A typical seminarian is on campus studying for 4-6 years. A
key word in understanding our experience is “formation” which is a word
that is not typically heard in the training of doctors and lawyers for
example. It involves spiritual/theological training of an individual.
Did anyone on campus have a special impact on your experience?
Monsignor James Turro was my spiritual director for the five
years I was in the seminary. He is a brilliant, wise, and very holy man
and I was blessed when another priest gave me a one-word answer "Turro"
when I asked for a recommendation for a priest to be my spiritual
You mentioned that you attended Seton Hall Prep in the 70’s. Did returning to campus bring back any memories?
I had my seminary Metaphysics class (Professor Fortin) in the
same classroom in which I had my high school Chemistry class (Sister
Regina) in Duffy Hall 34 years apart. And, similarly, I had my seminary
Graduate Seminar class (Father Guarino) in the same classroom in which I
had my high school Physics class (Mr. Theroux) in Duffy Hall 39 years
apart. Duffy Hall belonged to Seton Hall Prep back in those days in the
1970s. In fact, I think the desks and not just the classrooms were the
same though separated by over three decades.
You were involved with Pirates of Irish Persuasion and Extraction
(P.I.P.E.) on campus as a seminarian. What was your role in the club?
I became a P.I.P.E member during my second year on campus. I was
the corresponding secretary from my third year until I graduated. I was
able to participate in many events with the group, including marching
in the 2013 New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The weather was not
great, but we came to the consensus that this was an event we wanted to
see Seton Hall attend for many years to come.
How has your P.I.P.E. involvement translated into post-grad life?
I am now the Chaplain of the PIPE Alumni Club. We typically
start and end our meetings with a prayer, which I lead. I will also be
involved with events such as the Irish Mass, which is celebrated in the
What events do you hope to see organized by P.I.P.E. Alumni Club this year?
There are many. There are plays that touch on Irish drama and
the Church that are put on in New York. I’d also like to see us take
cultural trips to museums and ensure we have social events as part of
our meetings during the year. We have not had many events thus far, but I
recently attended an Irish themed baseball game with some P.I.P.E.
Alumni Club members in the area, which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Have you been assigned to a parish since your recent ordination?
I began my role of parochial vicar on July 2014 at the Cathedral
of Assumption of St. Mary in Trenton. I celebrate Mass every day,
mainly for state, city and county government officials. I also celebrate
three Masses on the weekend.
What is your favorite part of your new role?
Meeting all of the new people of my parish and learning how I can help them grow their faith and be good Catholics.
Is there anything else you would like me to add?
I enjoyed all of my time at Seton Hall. I learned a great deal
from excellent teachers and am forever indebted to Seton Hall for an
Learn more about alumni clubs like P.I.P.E. by visiting our Alumni Clubs webpage or contact Robert Mayers, Associate Director of Alumni Clubs at Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org or (973) 378-9821.
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