Father Tobías Rodríguez Lasa has been named the new rector of Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary of Denver.
Although the international seminary operates under the direction of Archbishop Samuel Aquila to form priests for the Denver Archdiocese, it also emphasizes missionary service. It shares a campus with the archdiocese’s other seminary, St. John Vianney, at the John Paul II Center in south Denver.
Father Rodríguez, 49, was born in Spain and became a seminarian in 1993 at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Kearny, N.J., a suburb of Newark. In 2002, he was named parochial victor at St. Mary Star of the Sea in Bayonne, N.J. He returned to the seminary in 2004 where he served as vice rector.
Father Rodríguez has also served as an adjunct professor at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seaton Hall University in New Jersey and has taught parish evangelization and pastoral Spanish.
“I am looking forward to the new experience,” he told the Denver Catholic Register. “I am delighted to be moving to Denver.”
Father Rodríguez began his new job on Nov. 25 and will work with about 30 seminarians who represent a variety of countries and cultures.
Pope John Paul II began the first Redemptoris Mater Seminary in 1987 in the Diocese of Rome as a way to prepare priests for missionary work worldwide. The Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Denver is one of six in American dioceses, including Boston, Dallas, Newark, Washington, D.C., and Agana, Guam. There are 100 Redemptoris Mater seminaries worldwide.
The Denver seminary was erected on March 25, 1996, by then Archbishop J. Francis Stafford and confirmed on Dec. 11, 1998, by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.
Father Rodríguez replaced Father Florián Martín-Calama who served at the seminary since its founding and as the rector for the last 16 years. Father Martín-Calama was reassigned to the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Rome in early October by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar of the pope for the Diocese of Rome.
“I am happy with the great grace that the Lord has given to me, being rector of the seminary at Denver during these 16 years, having 22 priests ordained for the archdiocese, knowing so many brothers and sisters who have shown to me the grace of the love of God the Father and Jesus Christ,” Father Martín-Calama wrote in an email to the Register.
Father Giovanni Capucci, vice rector of Redemptoris Mater in Denver and judicial vicar for the Metropolitan Tribunal, said the seminary is blessed to have Father Rodríguez.
“Florián was here since the beginning,” Father Giovanni told the Register. “He has left a beautiful spiritual inheritance to us in all the priests who have been formed and ordained from Redemptoris Mater. Tobías is the right person to come and serve now.”