December 21, 2019 - For Unto Us a Child is Born, Unto Us a Son is Given
St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary would like to express our sincere gratitude to all of our friends and benefactors for their continued kindness and generosity. Seminarians offer their personal thanks and discuss the Seminary as a kind of Advent; a preparation to receive the priestly character of Christ.
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
During the days of Advent, we have carefully prepared to receive the newborn King into our hearts at Christmas. As Advent was a kind of novitiate, a real preparation for the birth of Christ, so also the Seminary is like a novitiate, a preparation with Our Lady, for the reception of the priestly character. In this Christmas newsletter, we have opened a window to look inside St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary by speaking with a few seminarians about this preparation, allowing them the opportunity to express directly their great appreciation of your goodwill towards them.
Please accept as well, my own heartfelt gratitude for your continued kindness in support of the Seminary. In return for your charity, may the Christ Child fill you with His abundant gifts at Christmas and always.
In Christo Sacerdote et Maria,
Rev. Fr. Yves le Roux, Rector
St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary
Thus the priest, as is said with good reason, is indeed 'another Christ'; for, in some way, he is himself a continuation of Christ. 'As the Father hath sent Me, I also send you,' is spoken to the priest, and hence the priest, like Christ, continues to give 'glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will.'
- Pius XI, Ad Catholici Sacerdotii
What influenced you to enter the Seminary?
“The apparent joy and peace of the seminarians left a deep impression on me upon my first visits to the seminary. I desired that. And I found that I had not that peace, nor joy. And so with the help of Our Lady, and many words of advice from those elder to me, I made the decision to give God the first place in my life.” Damian-2nd year, Spirituality.
“The constant pull of God influenced me to enter the seminary. Through all trials and failures of life, God has always been pulling me to be closer to Him. I don’t know what event or trial has been the most influential, but I believe I was being prepared since I was young. The first time I had the idea to become a priest was when I was 8 years old, though I was not Catholic yet.” Austin-3rd year, 1st Philosophy.
“Deciding to enter the seminary was helped by having daily Mass and meditation, speaking and spending time with priests, going on retreats and spiritual reading. I wanted to be in a position where God could best use me as an instrument in the sanctification and salvation of souls, the priesthood.” Joseph-4th year, 2nd Philosophy.
“I have always been drawn to the Mass, the priesthood, even in the Novus Ordo as a very young boy. I have always had a very special love of serving at the altar. However, it was the Ignatian retreat preached to our senior class ...that really re-awakened my desire to celebrate the Holy Mass and work for the salvation of souls. I credit this week of grace with what is, in all probability, the greatest grace of my life up to this point.” Jonathon-6th year, 2nd Theology.
“The thought of being a priest has always been a part of my memory. I can’t remember ever not desiring it. My father was a seminarian, spending much of his youth in a seminary, and he filled my head with fond thoughts of the seminary and a profound respect for the priesthood from my youngest years. As I grew up, I followed a chain of graces into Tradition and I discovered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according to the Traditional Roman Rite.” Rami-7th year, 3r Theology.
What has been helpful for you in pursuing the Priesthood?
“My visits to the seminary were extremely fruitful, especially when you have the priests there always willing and ready to answer your spiritual questions. But also upon returning home, I continued to seek the counsel of those whom I trusted, and through this, God’s grace greatly worked.” Damian
“Trials and especially failures. Our Lord is meek and humble of heart, and priests must be the first to imitate Him. The fastest way to humility and meekness is failure. I’ve learned this the hard way, but I know that it’s a long road ahead. It is very hopeful.” Austin
“It becomes a matter of generosity in the seminary, generosity in the giving of myself to my duty of state for whatever the day brings. Even though I may fail and have to start anew every day, so long as the generosity is there, God will manifest His will through the superiors.” Joseph
“The guidance and encouragement of my spiritual directors, the priest professors, and Father Rector have been most helpful throughout my time at the seminary. I guess that I could say that the most important step for me was beginning to understand that a vocation is nothing more than a gift of oneself to Holy Mother Church for the salvation of souls. If She accepts the offering, then She "calls" that one to Her service in the liturgy of ordination. If not, then the gift of self is extremely pleasing in the sight of God and the time of spiritual growth in the seminary is absolutely priceless no matter how long one stays.” Jonathon
“What solidified my desire to persevere at the seminary was the example of holy priests who were for me another Jesus Christ. Their example of sacrifice and devotion became for me the impetus I needed to give my life to the service of Our Lord in imitation of them, who are themselves imitators of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” Rami
What effect has the Seminary in Virginia had on your formation?
“Its effect has been very apparent to me. The weekly meetings with your spiritual director and the classes with the professors never cease to implant wisdom and the desire for the Good for all who eagerly wait. The seminary has shown me how to “…think thoughts of peace and not of affliction.” Damian
“In order to become another Christ, we must study Christ’s life, and know Him intimately in order to practice all His virtues. The rule and the life in a religious house immersed in silence help immensely in the formation also, for God’s will for each day is in the following of the rule. He speaks to each soul in the silence.” Joseph
“The seminary teaches docility and obedience through the common life and the rule. I believe this is one of the most valuable effects of the formation.” Austin
“In the Seminary, being able to live the liturgical cycle – which is nothing other than the life of Christ - year after year to the fullness by having Solemn High Masses, vespers, Holy week ceremonies etc. is the greatest formation I can receive and the best preparation for the priesthood. If Christ is not in me I cannot bring Christ to souls.” Joseph
“I have had the benefit of experiencing life both in Winona and here in Virginia and I can say that the time that I have spent here in Virginia has been one of greater growth. Why that is is difficult to say, but I think that there are two things in particular that make this seminary more conducive to priestly formation. Firstly and primarily is the fact of the very structure itself. Our building is one of extreme beauty, of great dignity, one that inspires a certain pride in being a member of this house. What is more, it is intended to lead souls to prayer, in particular the cloisters, which are areas of silence, a feature that was surprisingly absent in Winona. The second factor is the surroundings. Here in Virginia, we are in the midst of incredible beauty: the Blue Ridge Mountains with the awe-inspiring sunsets which are ever new, the rolling hills, the imposing evergreen trees, the wildlife that is everywhere evident...and on and on. We are out in the middle of nowhere, where the nearest city is approximately 40 minutes away. We are alone with God as He is seen through His creation, situated on our little hill, overlooking the broad expanse of much of the county.” Jonathon
“At the seminary, my faith life has found a marvelous unity in centering everything on Our Lord Jesus Christ, especially in His Sacrifice on the Cross, the Holy Mass. Now that I am learning to say Mass every day, this is one of the most important parts of my day.” Rami
What would you like the Seminary benefactors to know?
“The benefactors are a great joy to the seminarians. Without them we would not be able to purchase the cassocks we wear and by which we represent the one true church of God, nor the books which further us in our solid Catholic formation … in short, we would not have the formation we have.” Damian
“I would like the benefactors to know that money is great, but the prayers are the most valuable and appreciated aids. I know that a lot of past, present and future trials that would be “career-ending” for myself or other seminarians (or even priests) have been turned for the good by God due to the generous and abundant prayers of our benefactors. Please keep it up, it is working!” Austin
“You are first and foremost in our prayers every day at Holy Mass, the divine office and the rosary. Without the prayers and sacrifices you make we would not have the continuation of tradition nor the formation of the next generation of priests for the Church. The priesthood is essential to all our lives.” Joseph
“Without your prayers and sacrifices, there would be no vocations for Archbishop Lefebvre has told us, "each vocation is a miracle", and miracles only happen through prayers and sacrifices. In return, your acts of charity toward the seminary will not be forgotten, whether in this life or in the next, and they will be rewarded a hundred-fold by Our Lord Jesus Christ in Heaven.” Jonathon
“St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Virginia is an amazing place. It is truly a school of the Heart of Our Lord, where our Holy Faith is lived and taught in theory and in practice. The priests stationed here, as well as the priests who are made here, are men after God’s own heart.” Rami
What greeting would you like to offer your benefactors at Christmas?
“Merry Christmas and know that we never stop praying for you and making sacrifices for you.” Austin
“I would like to thank you for all the sacrifices you make for us and the continuation of the priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ and to wish you a very happy Christmas.” Joseph
“May the joy of this celestial season be for you a true foretaste of the eternal bliss of heaven, and may the Christ Child grant you His choicest blessings and favors now and in
“May our Lord, the expected of the nations, the delight of the blessed, and the marvel of the Angels fill your hearts with the Joy of His coming with the special grace of this Christmas: that by the light of faith, knowing the Lord Our God who became visible by His Incarnation, we may be taken up with the love of those things that are invisible.” Rami