A transition in leadership at SHSST

Fr. Tom Cassidy, SCJ, has been named as the interim president-rector of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, beginning July 8, 2024. It is a position that he previously held from 2004-07 prior to being elected as provincial superior of the US Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians) in 2007.

The current president-rector, Fr. Raúl Gómez-Ruiz, SDS, was recently elected to leadership in his religious community, the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Due to the time commitment of the new position, he asked to complete his term at SHSST in June, a year earlier than originally planned.  

Fr. Steve followed Fr. Tom as provincial superior of the US Province. The two are pictured here, receiving a blessing from the province following Fr. Steve’s election in 2013.

“With the approval of the SHSST Board of Directors and the Provincial Council, I was delighted to present Fr. Tom as the interim president-rector,” said Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, provincial superior of the US Province.  “Fr. Tom has extensive experience in education and leadership. He served two terms on our General Council in Rome, was provincial superior of the US Province, provincial councilor, principal and superintendent of our schools, worked in formation, and served as president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men in the United States.  

“His extensive experience, commitment to forming men and women for church ministry, and his deep knowledge of the apostolate make him an excellent choice for this role.”   

With the announcement of Fr. Tom as interim president-rector, Fr. Vien also announced the appointment of Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ, as president-rector beginning with the 2025 academic year. Fr. Steve is currently completing his second term on the Dehonians’ General Council in Rome. When he returns to the United States this summer, he will be a member of the Sacred Heart Monastery Community, which will allow him to familiarize himself with SHSST while taking some well-earned sabbatical time.   

A Milwaukee native, Fr. Cassidy professed his first vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart in 1962 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1971. Fr. Cassidy retired in 2013, but he has been anything but inactive. Since completing his second term as provincial superior he has regularly done extended periods of service in Asia assisting with formation and leadership development of some of the Dehonians’ youngest religious entities.  

Indiana native

Fr. Steve

Fr. Steve professed his first vows with the Dehonians in 1982 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1989. Similar to Fr. Tom, he was elected to two terms on the General Council and also served as provincial superior of the US Province.

Originally from South Bend, Ind., Fr. Steve studied at and earned degrees from Loyola University and Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.  At CTU, he received a D.Min. in Theology and a D.Min. in Cross Cultural ministry.

Fr. Steve has served in pastoral ministry in South Dakota, as well as at St. Joseph’s Indian School, where he was executive director from 2004-2013. He also directed the province undergraduate formation program from 1997 to 2001.

Click here or on the image at the top of the page to view a video message from Fr. Vien Nguyen regarding the leadership transition.