Fr. Raúl Gomez-Ruiz, SDS, has been named the next president-rector of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. He will succeed Fr. Thomas Knoebel as of July 1, 2019. His appointment is for five years.
Fr. Gomez, 65, recently completed a six-year term as vicar general and general secretary of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians) in Rome. Prior to his appointment in Rome, he served for nearly 25 years in a variety of capacities at Sacred Heart. From 1988-2004 he was director of the Hispanic Studies Program, one of the first seminary programs in the country to specifically address the pastoral concerns of the growing Hispanic population of the Catholic Church in the United States.
From 2002-2005 he was SHSST Vice-Rector, and from 2005-2012 he was Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of Intellectual Formation at SHSST.
Fr. Gomez left Sacred Heart in 2012 to become director of Accreditation and Institutional Evaluation for the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. But the job was short-lived; soon after settling in he was elected to serve his religious order in Rome.
He has a BA in Spanish from the University of Arizona in Tucson, an MPA in Public Administration from California State University in Sacramento, an M.Div in Pastoral Theology from the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkley, CA, and a doctorate in Liturgical Studies from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
He is originally from Bisbee, AZ, and professed his first vows with the Salvatorians in 1982; Fr. Gomez was ordained to the priesthood in 1987.
A well-published author, Fr. Gomez has written five books and has contributed to ten others. He has also published dozens of articles and book reviews.
“I am grateful for the service of Fr. Tom Knoebel to our seminary,” said Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, provincial superior of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. “Fr. Knoebel came out of retirement to serve as SHSST president-rector during a transitional period. He has a passion for seminary education, just as our founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon, did, and was instrumental in implementing several exciting initiatives, including this year’s Pope Francis Symposium.
“In that same spirit, I am very grateful that Fr. Gomez has accepted the position of president-rector. Fr. Gomez has demonstrated that same passion for Sacred Heart, and for seminary education in general. It is significant that he is a member of the Society of the Divine Savior, a religious community which has had a long partnership with our seminary.
“In many ways, I feel that I am welcoming him home.”
Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology is an apostolate of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians). It is one of three major seminaries in the world operated by the order; the other two are in Brazil and Poland. The Priests of the Sacred Heart have ministries in over 40 countries on five continents and are headquartered in Rome.