V8 For Vocations

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Fr. Matthew Keller, at the time the vocations director for the Diocese, had the idea to merge his love of classic cars with the duties of overseeing the education of the Gallup seminarians. He calls the new program “V8s for Vocations”.

“The idea was, I’ve always liked cars. I learned how to work on them in high school – I learned how to do autobody for a year,” said Fr. Keller. “I restored my own car after high school and helped my brother-in-law paint several vehicles. So it’s always been an interest of mine, but something I thought I had to give up as a priest.”

Then one day, some parishioners provided Fr. Keller with inspiration.

“Some friends said, ‘you should get a car and get the seminarians to help you fix it up.’ I thought, ‘Wait a minute, that’s a great idea, but let’s use it for a fundraiser.’ And so right away I talked about it with some other friends, and a high school friend of mine said ‘You know what, I’ve got a car for you, I saw it in an ad in Bloomfield at a reasonable price.’”

The car in advertised in Bloomfield turned out to be a 1972 Chevelle Super Sport. A donor offered to buy the car, and so the first phase of the project was kickstarted. While it needs a lot of work, Fr. Keller enlisted the help of volunteers and seminarians to restore the Chevelle, which was raffled off in a very successful program.

The response to the Chevelle drawing was so great that the team then began to restore a 1969 Pontiac Firebird, until it was raffled this past June 2017. Up next is ’78 Pontiac Trans Am.

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