St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary gets new Rector
Published 4:21 am Thursday, November 9, 2023
This academic year, the eighth at the facility in Buckingham, opened for St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary with a big change: a new rector to lead the institution.
Fulfilling the roles of Academic Administrator, College Dean, President and Religious Superior all bundled into one, the Rector of a Seminary has a unique and multilayered set of duties. At St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, just north of Dillwyn, he oversees the staff of 9 priest-professors and 4 religious brothers, and the student body of about 100 seminarians.
As the only English-speaking seminary for the international Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary trains Roman Catholic priests in the traditional manner employed by the Church for almost 500 years, but largely ignored since the 1960s. Traditionally-formed Priests, who still teach and believe in the “old ways” are greatly needed all over the world to fill the demand for the work of the SSPX. Disturbed by the rapid changes which are sweeping away traditional norms of social behavior, many people are rediscovering the value of traditional religious practices and morality, and are looking for conservative priests to lead them to God.
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Seminary training extends to every aspect of a young man’s life. With only five employees for the whole campus, the students do much of the work themselves: all of the janitorial work and much of the food service, not to mention website maintenance, mailings to benefactors, care of the bees, chicken butchering and a whole host of other occupations which keep the Seminary in proper running order. They are also involved in the community, contributing to local blood drives and leading the County in the bi-annual anti-litter campaign. But the seminarian’s main formation comes through their life of prayer and silence which contributes to the quiet and peaceful atmosphere necessary for serious study. They complete a rigorous, 7-year academic program of philosophy and theology before being ordained Catholic priests. The Seminary, the only Catholic church in all of Buckingham County, also offers a public Latin Mass on Sunday for over 100 parishioners.
The former rector, a Frenchman, Fr. Yves leRoux, fulfilled the office of rector for 20 years and had a profound influence on the formation of the priests of the Society of St. Pius X who service about 120 chapels across the States and have a presence in 60 countries around the world. His time as rector was marked by a true fatherly care for the Seminarians, and a spirit of charity which drew others powerfully to follow his example of a Godly life. “If I had to describe Fr. leRoux in one word,” said Mr. Caleb Moss, a third-year Seminarian and graduate of Fork Union Military Academy, “it would be ‘father’.”
As Rector, Fr. leRoux possessed a penetrating understanding of the problems modern man faces today as well as a real talent for inspiring, instructing and preparing young men for the battles they will face in the world as priests. As American society, once known for its strong family values and moral decency, progressively succumbs to the ravages of anti-biblical immorality and a growing contempt for anything sacred, he succeeded in forming an elite corps who will keep alive traditional values. For his valiant efforts many souls will be eternally grateful. He has been re-assigned as the District Superior of the SSPX’s missions for Canada.
In the first weeks of August the Seminary welcomed their new rector, Fr. Michael Goldade. Raised in Kansas, he is the 6th rector to lead the Seminary since its founding in 1973. He was ordained in 2004, the first class to be ordained under the rectorship of Fr. leRoux, whose place he is now taking 19 years later. Most recently he was the prior of a large church and school in Kansas City, MO. While it is quite a different task that Father undertakes now, the transition has been smooth. In his first Letter to Friends and Benefactors, Fr. Goldade said he has found everything in good order and publicly expressed his gratitude that Fr. leRoux had “made the job of his successor as easy as possible.”
The Seminary looks forward to many fruitful years under the leadership of Fr. Goldade. For a chance to meet the new Rector, see the Seminary from the inside, and hear some incredible music from some of the most talented musicians in Buckingham, plan to attend their annual Christmas Concert on New Year’s Eve at 2:30 pm. RSVP required. RSVP and Find out more about the Seminary at stas.org.