Next President Named for Aquinas Institute
ST. LOUIS, MO -- March 26, 2007 -- A
former French teacher, author, moral theologian and amateur genealogist
has been named the seventh president of Aquinas Institute of
Fr. Richard Peddicord, O.P., begins as president on Jan. 1. He
was chosen from a narrowed field of four Dominican priests by the
governing body of priests and religious brothers in Chicago that
sponsors Aquinas Institute. He succeeds Fr. Charles Bouchard, O.P.,
president since 1989.
Peddicord, 48, is a native of Howell, Mich., and a Dominican priest
since 1986. He began his priestly career as a French and theology
teacher at Fenwick High School near Chicago. That opportunity to
delve into "every conceivable moral issue and dilemma" with high
school juniors set the stage for him to pursue a doctorate in moral
theology at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada.
He joined the faculty of Aquinas Institute of Theology in 1994
as associate professor of moral theology. He is especially interested
in the relationship between faith and ethics as well as helping
Catholics understand the Church's social teaching.
Peddicord said he plans to build upon the school's strengths when
he assumes the presidency, which will include educating preachers
and raising awareness about the importance of great preaching.
"This school is built upon the rich Roman Catholic tradition and
the lives and thoughts of such greats as St. Thomas Aquinas and
St. Catherine of Siena," Peddicord said. "I am humbled by the role
I will play in keeping alive this tradition and perpetuating the
ideas of such great models."
In 2005, Peddicord published The Sacred Monster of Thomism, a book
about the life and thought of Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, an influential
20th-century theologian. He recently edited a collection of essays
compiled into a book in honor of the oldest living Dominican priest
in the Chicago province, Fr. Benedict Ashley, O.P.
Peddicord also describes himself as an amateur genealogist, having
mastered the basics of French-Canadian genealogy.
He will remain in his current role as faculty member at Aquinas
Institute and student master of Dominican priesthood candidates
until July 1. He and Bouchard will begin his transition into the
presidency in the fall.
"Rick is assuming this role during a critically important moment," Bouchard
said. "In our first 25 years in St. Louis, it is as if we have
left the first hint of a footprint in the metropolitan area and
national Catholic community. In the next 25 years, with so many
critical developments in the Catholic Church, Aquinas Institute
will be in a position to more firmly make its mark in preparing
leaders for the Church."
Aquinas Institute, which is sponsored by the Dominican order, or
the Order of Preachers, prepares priesthood candidates for ordination.
They study alongside vowed religious women and laypeople who want
to pursue careers in the Catholic Church or simply better understand
their faith tradition.
The graduate school moved to St. Louis in 1981 and had 55 students
its first year. Today, enrollment has climbed to more than 300
as Aquinas Institute has responded to needs of the Church. In addition
to becoming priests, graduates pursue ministries as vowed religious
women, administrators in parishes without resident priests, CEOs
in Catholic health care, principals in Catholic high schools, campus
ministers, hospital chaplains and theology teachers, among other