The Denver Catholic Catechetical and Biblical schools will say farewell to its director of six years and welcome a new leader in August.
Ben Akers, director of the two schools overseen by St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, will leave his position in July. But he won’t be going far.
Akers is currently working on his doctoral dissertation and will join the Augustine Institute in Englewood as an assistant dean and associate professor of theology starting Aug. 1.
“I’m excited to continue working in the new evangelization for the Archdiocese of Denver,” Akers said. “It blows me away how blessed we are in this archdiocese with so many wonderful opportunities to grow in knowledge and love of the faith.”
Akers became the director six years ago after studying in Rome and leading a study abroad program for Christendom College.
While director, he increased enrollment in the schools from 660 to more than 1,000 students, he said, and increased the number of teachers to four full-time instructors and 12 adjunct instructors.
He also initiated the weekly practice of Lectio Divina, or prayerful reading of the Scriptures, among students enrolled in classes.
“The Biblical school and Catechetical school are incredible jewels of the archdiocese,” Akers said. “It’s been a wonderful experience to not only work with great people but especially to get to know the students from all walks of life and see how the word of God impacts their life. It’s been really encouraging and edifying for me.”
Akers said he’ll continue to attend St. Vincent de Paul Parish with his wife and children and will give talks at parishes across the archdiocese.
“I’m still in the archdiocese working for the new evangelization just down the road,” he said.
The schools announced Nicholas Lebish will succeed Akers as director starting Aug. 17.
Lebish holds a doctorate of ministry in theological studies and is finishing a second doctorate in education, both from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Indiana.
After converting from evangelical Protestantism to the Church while studying at San Diego State University, he moved to Italy to study philosophy and sacred theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.
Lebish lived in Italy for five years and met his wife in Rome. They have a daughter and a son.
He brings with him 10 years of experience in Catholic ministry and education and is the founder and director of an adult education apostolate “Splendor of Truth Ministries” that offers free talks, mini-courses and retreats for adults.
“He has a special passion for adult faith formation,” said Akers, who knew Lebish when he lived in Rome. “He’s going to bring that to this archdiocese, and I think we’ll be really blessed with what he brings. I expect a really smooth transition.”
Lebish is moving to Denver with his family from Kentucky.
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Denver Catholic Biblical and Catechetical Schools