Fr. Raúl Gómez SDS has now been appointed the president-rector of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology (SHSST) in Franklin, WI. Gómez is not only the first Hispanic to serve as rector and president of SHSST but also the first native-born one of a major Roman Catholic seminary in the US. He will assume the duties of this position July 1.
Milwaukee, WI, July 01, 2019 — Fr. Raúl Gómez has returned to the USA after serving six years as vicar general and general secretary for the international Society of the Divine Savior, in Rome, Italy. He has now been appointed the president-rector of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology (SHSST) in Franklin, WI. Gómez is not only the first Hispanic to serve as rector and president of SHSST but also the first native-born one of a major Roman Catholic seminary in the US. He will assume the duties of this position in early July.
Professing his first vows with the Salvatorians in 1982, Gómez was ordained to the priesthood in 1987. Prior to his term in Rome, Gómez had served nearly 25 years at SHSST in a variety of capacities including more than 15 years as director of Hispanic studies, which was one of the first programs of its kind in a seminary setting. His roles at the seminary also included service as vice rector and as vice president for academic affairs and director of intellectual formation. Gómez has an MDiv, MPA, and PhD.
Asked about how his background may play into this new role, Gómez responded, “Hispanics represent fifty percent of the Roman Catholic population in the US. This is a sign that we are able to serve at all levels, and that the Church is opening up new ways. I pray that my international experience and cultural diversity will bring further direction to what Sacred Heart represents, what it needs to be and where it is going.”
Intellectual, pastoral and spiritual formation, are the foundations of what it means to be a priest. “The fourth component, human formation, which is to learn those aspects of how to live celibately, treat and work with people well, and to resolve conflict, needs to dovetail with the intellectual, the spiritual or prayer life, and pastoral abilities of these men in formation who will go on to serve in the Church,” said Gómez. “This component is the weakest right now. We need to pay attention to it with our feet on the ground.”
Salvatorians have a rich history at the Seminary. “When I began in 1988 there were already Salvatorians on staff and others had studied there in preparation for ministry,” said Gómez. “Since then, about 15 members of the US Province as well as Salvatorian Sisters have served as full-time and adjunct professors. At one point there were more Salvatorians on staff than members of the order that owns and operates Sacred Heart!”
Salvatorian priests and brothers are members of the Society of the Divine Savior, a Catholic religious community founded in 1881 by Fr. Francis Jordan. The U.S.A. Province is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis. and led by Fr. Jeffrey Wocken SDS, U.S.A. provincial superior. As men of prayer and action, Salvatorians are encouraged to use their unique and diverse talents through “all ways and means that the love of Christ inspires” to spread the word of God. They work as equals within the family of Salvatorian sisters, lay, priests and brothers.
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