December 2023 - Christmas at the Seminary

Dear Friends and Benefactors,


As we approach the joyous season of Christmas, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the peace and serenity that can be found in the sacred halls of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, nestled in the heart of Virginia. In a world that often seems filled with chaos and uncertainty, our seminary stands as a beacon of tranquility and purpose.


1. The way the world celebrates Christmas as opposed to the way the church would have her children celebrate it, is not an opposition of restless activity to a sedentary calm. In fact, at the seminary, decorating, preparations, and practicing for the ceremonies make a schedule which rivals that of a busy holiday household. But, in spite of these external activities, the church, through her liturgy, lovingly puts before us for our wonder and contemplation the face of the newborn Christ, so that through visible things we might understand somewhat, the innocence of God.


A Sanctuary of Peace

Within our seminary's walls, a profound sense of peace envelops our seminarians and staff. The daily routine of prayer, contemplation, and study allows us to find solace in the midst of life's storms. It is in these moments of reflection that we connect with the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.

2.       How are we to dispose ourselves to receive the lesson of the Infant King? In order to learn, one must listen. The silence of wonder is necessary for learning. In order to be fascinated by the mystery of the Incarnation, one must stoop into the cave of Bethlehem, leaving behind everything that would prevent him from entering. Silence leads to adoration.

The Chaos of the World

We cannot deny that the world outside our seminary gates is marked by turbulence and division. There is a constant clamor of conflicting voices, distractions, and hurried schedules. Yet, in the stillness of our seminary, we find the strength to navigate these tumultuous waters and offer a counterbalance to the discord of the world.

3.       “While the world spins, the cross stands firm.” And truly the world is spinning more and more today in disorder as it flees from God. Here at the seminary, in the shadow of the Cross, we have a firm standard to which to hold. Here, in the cross, we find our peace, our tranquility of order, a tranquility not just of exterior silence, but one of a soul in silence, realizing its nothingness and in awe in the presence of its God, its everything.


4.       Peace is founded on order, and order on direction. Peace was found in the manger, for despite its poverty, all had their attention directed to the Christ Child. Chaos has been found in the world, for despite its wealth, it has not right purpose or direction. Tranquility is found at the seminary, for despite its failings, all is directed to Christ-----Eternal High Priest. 

The brotherhood and unity among our seminarians is a testament to the power of faith and community. We share not only our studies and daily lives,  but also our hopes, dreams, and the desire to bring Christ to a troubled world. The bonds formed here are lasting and provide unwavering support as we prepare for our sacred callings.


This Christmas, we will come together as a family to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The joy and peace that fill our seminary will be magnified during this holy season, reminding us of the true gift that Christ's presence brings.


In closing, we want to express our gratitude to all of you who support our mission. Your prayers and contributions enable us to continue our sacred work, nurturing future priests who will bring God's peace and love to a world in need.


May the peace of Christ's birth fill your hearts and homes this Christmas. 


In the hearts of Jesus and Mary,


Rev. Michael Goldade

Rector, St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary