Category Archives: Priesthood

First native Irishman ordained since 2007

May many more Irishman follow suit.  More St. Patricks must be raised in the Emerald Isle, so overcome by the current cataclysmic crisis in the Church.  We pray for that grace & rejoice when even one soul is heroically able to keep the unblemished faith in a Church & world gone so wrong.

May the Immaculate Heart, whose Feast it is today, shield all good priests within the folds of her motherly heart.

On June 22, 2018, in Dillwyn, VA, Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais ordained Fr. Thomas O’Hart, a native of Ireland. This was the first Irish ordination for the SSPX since Fr. David Sherry’s in 2007.

On Sunday, July 29, Fr. O’Hart celebrated a Solemn High First Mass in his county in Athlone, at the Corpus Christi Church.

One week later, the new priest celebrated another first Mass in the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Dun Laoghaire.

The Church attaches many graces to these Masses, and the faithful can receive a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions.

O Lord, grant us priests, many holy priests!

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2018 Ordinations in Econe

Congratulations to the three new Priests ordained at the hand of Bishop Fellay, in Econe, Switzerland. More Fathers in the vineyard of the Church, to lead souls to heaven & save them from the pits of hell. Pictures of the beautiful ceremony can be found below.

“In explaining [the Sacraments], pastors should keep in view principally two things, which they should zealously strive to accomplish. The first is that the faithful understand the high honor, respect and veneration due to these divine and celestial gifts. The second is that, since the Sacraments have been established by the God of infinite mercy for the common salvation of all, the people should make pious and religious use of them, and be so inflamed with the desire of Christian perfection as to deem it a very great loss to be for any time deprived of the salutary use, particularly of Penance and the Holy Eucharist. These objects pastors will find little difficulty in accomplishing, if they call frequently to the attention of the faithful what we have already said on the divine character and fruit of the Sacraments: first, that they were instituted by our Lord and Savior from whom can proceed nothing but what is most perfect; further that when administered, the most powerful influence of the Holy Ghost is present, pervading the inmost sanctuary of the soul; next that they possess an admirable and unfailing virtue to cure our spiritual maladies and communicate to us the inexhaustible riches of the Passion of our Lord.”   ~Catechism of the Council of Trent

 

Congratulations to the 7 newly ordained Priests for the US District!

 

On Friday, June 22nd, sever Priests were ordained to the Sacred Priesthood at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary. Remember in your prayers Fr. Thomas Buschmann, Fr. Samuel Fabula, Fr. John Graziano, Fr. Michael Sheahan, Fr. Thomas Tamm, Fr. Nicolas McManus, and Fr. Thomas O’Hart. Many congratulations to our seven new priests, who are now taking on the apostolic mission of preserving the Catholic Priesthood & the Mass, transmitting the fullness of the Faith to a starving people, for that is truly the Priest’s mission in the Church today.  May they lead many more to the fold of the Church, by their zeal, faithfulness & Godly example.

https://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/sspx-ordinations-2018-7-new-priests-ordained-virginia-38879

“Our Lord saw the multitudes ‘lying like sheep that have no shepherd.’ Such multitudes are to be seen today not only in the far distant lands of the missions, but also, alas! in countries which have been Christian for centuries. How can a priest see such multitudes and not feel deeply within himself an echo of that divine pity which so often moved the Heart of the Son of God? – a priest, we say, who is conscious of possessing the words of life and of having in his hands the God-given means of regeneration and salvation?” ~Pope Pius XI, “Ad Catholici Sacerdotii”

St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary saw 6 men from the United States and one from Ireland raised to the Eternal Priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

For the last seven years, 2011-2018, the priestly candidates of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary have meticulously prepared for their priestly ordination through study, prayer, and the discipline of a rigorous seminary formation. These seven deacons were ordained to the Eternal Priesthood on Friday, June 22nd, 2018, by Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais at the Seminary in Dillwyn, Virginia.

As hundreds of faithful watched, Bishop Tissier called each Deacon by name, marking the sacred moment the Church officially recognizes the priestly vocation of each candidate. Each  candidate then answered the call of the bishop thus fulfilling the priestly intent of the last seven years. The candidates then, lying prostrate on the ground, called upon the saints in heaven to help them in that most solemn time.

Following this invocation, the Bishop then loosened their chasubles to show that the Church visibly permits Her new priests to absolve sins through the sacrament of Confession. The Bishop lastly placed his hands on the head of each ordinand, in sign of approval of the candidate, as did every priest present, with likewise approval.

Each received the Holy Oil upon their hands in the act of consecrating themselves entirely to their new apostolic mission of saving souls for Christ, as an ‘Alter Christus’. The newly ordained priests offered their first Mass in unison with the Bishop and with the help of an assistant priest.

Six new priests from the United States and one from Ireland were ordained: Fr. Thomas Buschmann, Fr. Samuel Fabula, Fr. John Graziano, Fr. Michael Sheahan, Fr. Thomas Tamm, Fr. Nicolas McManus, and Fr. Thomas O’Hart.

Following this event, Bishop Bernard Fellay will ordain three priests on Friday, June 29th in Econe, Switzerland. The next day, Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta will confer the Holy Priesthood on six more candidates in Zaitzkofen, Germany – totaling sixteen new priests for the Priestly Society of St. Pius X. These ordinations mark the continued growth of the Society (towards) preserving the Catholic priesthood and drawing down God’s grace to souls through the sacraments and the Mass.

Report about Fr. Daniel Cooper’s Funeral

Fr. Daniel Cooper, beloved priest of the Society for 31 years, was laid to rest on May 8th. The Solemn Requiem Mass was held at his beloved Queen of Angels and, per request, he was laid to rest in Dickinson, at Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetary. Read the following report, from the SSPX website:

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/gallery-and-report-funeral-fr-daniel-cooper-may-8-2018-37686

Fr. Daniel Cooper, who reposed in the Lord on May 1, 2018 (Feast of St. Joseph the Worker), was laid to rest on Tuesday, May 8 at Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetery in Dickinson, TX.

Prior to succumbing to cancer, Fr. Cooper faithfully served the U.S. District for many years. A man regarded for his kindness and dedication to the priesthood, it should come as little surprise that Fr. Cooper fought his cancer with patience, acceptance, and a joyful spirit.

A Solemn Day

Prior to Tuesday’s funeral Mass at Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Dickinson, a public Rosary was held for Fr. Cooper’s soul with the faithful filling the building. The Rosary was followed by all-night prayers.

When the time came to serve the solemn Requiem Mass for Fr. Cooper, over 20 priests were present in addition to the larger gathering of laity, all of whom could not fit into the church building. U.S. District Superior, Fr. Wegner, served the Mass with Fr. Kurtz acting as deacon and Fr. Haenny as subdeacon. Some of the priests in attendance sang in the schola while the rest joined the faithful in assisting at Mass and asking Our Lord to quickly usher Fr. Cooper’s soul to Heaven.

The choice to be buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery was Fr. Cooper’s. Due to his many years of priestly service in Dickinson, he requested to be buried near the parish where he regularly said Mass, heard innumerable confessions, and served other sacraments according to the traditional Roman Rite for the salvation of souls.

Reflecting on the Life of Fr. Cooper

In his sermon that day, Fr. Wegner called attention to the fact that Fr. Cooper has been ordained, worked, suffered, and reposed all within the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX). He had served the SSPX as a priest for 31 years. While at the time of his ordination, many held to the hope that the crisis in the Church would be over after a few years, it is now clear that crisis is bigger than the lives of the Society’s priests. How long will the crisis last? And, just as important, will the SSPX continue to have the spiritual and physical resources to combat it?

The SSPX, as Fr. Wegner went on to note, is no longer a “young fraternity.” In the half-a-century since its inception, the Society has experienced setbacks, buried its members, realized its limitations, but ultimately matured. A new generation of young, vibrant priests are now filling the SSPX’s ranks, though they are dependent on the example of veteran clergy like Fr. Cooper whose years of service brought with it invaluable lessons. It is to be hoped that once the older generation of Society priests has gone to their final reward, the next “wave” of Society clergy will have the tools to carry on the holy work started decades ago by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

In concluding his sermon, Fr. Wegner spoke of the need for the SSPX’s priests like Fr. Cooper. That is, the Society needs priests who love the priesthood itself and are faithful to their vocation while always remaining humble and meek. It is priests made in the mold of Fr. Cooper who will keep the SSPX healthy and vibrant in the coming decades, and, in God’s good time, see the faithful through the ongoing crisis in the Church.

In Conclusion

Following the funeral, burial, and reception, Fr. Cooper’s brother thanked Fr. Kurtz for the beautiful ceremony and for the care given to Fr. Cooper by the faithful in Dickinson. The clergy in attendance then made their way back to their priories, no doubt edified by the outpouring of love and prayer for Fr. Cooper they had just witnessed. And the faithful themselves, who also came from all over the United States to pray their respects, can now carry with them a solemn memory of just how important our priests are for the future of the Catholic Church and the cessation of the crisis.

Fr. Daniel Cooper, RIP

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Fr. Daniel Cooper, beloved Priest of the Society, passed away peacefully on May 1, first day of the Month of Mary & the Feast of St. Joseph, after a difficult battle with cancer. He will be remembered as a very kind & holy priest, faithful to the True Faith & Mass. He was instrumental in my own pastor’s transition into the Society & his ordination to the Priesthood. May he rest in peace.  Below read his own beautiful account of his priestly ministry:

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/journey-econe-fr-coopers-journal-recounting-his-ordination-1987

 

As our plane descended into Geneva’s airport, the first thing that struck me was the beauty of the countryside—it was so green and all the homes looked so clean and bright. Father Bourmaud and I still had a long way to get to Ecône; by train, it’s another two hours from Geneva. Along the train route the majestic mountains caused me to gasp—I didn’t think a country could have so much natural beauty.

The train stop for Ecône is the town of Martigny. We were met there (much to my surprise) by my father who had taken an earlier flight to Europe and had rented a car. As we drove up the road to the seminary I felt I had been there before. This was my first trip outside of North America, but I had seen so many pictures of the Society’s first seminary that it was not entirely new to me.

We arrived just at lunch time and two American seminarians, James Doran and Timothy Pfeiffer, introduced me to several seminarians at Ecône, especially those who spoke English. (I spoke only English; two years of high school French did not help me much at all, though the longer I was there the more I began to recall the little French I had learned.) It was rather surprising however, how many did indeed speak English. I had one slightly embarrassing moment when I asked an Irishman if he was British. Since he was good-natured, I escaped unharmed. It’s a good thing I didn’t speak French too or I might have caused several international uprisings.

Another thing that we Americans might find surprising is the way they eat at Ecône. They eat and drink out of the same bowl at breakfast. At dinner, soup, salad and the entree are also eaten in the same soup plate. For me, that was not any problem, but I did miss cold drinks of orange juice or milk at breakfast (they always drink hot milk and coffee). And all over Europe it was difficult to get ice water. I might have raised a few eyebrows at how little wine I drank, but like most Americans I prefer water at my meals, a horror to the French, I’m afraid.

During the five days before my ordination I tried to spend the time in a private retreat. It was not easy as Ecône is a bustle of activity during that week. Those days became increasingly tense for me. I suppose as the day of my ordination approached I realized better the great responsibilities of the priesthood and my own weaknesses. The retreat I had made under Father Snyder in Boston, Kentucky before going to Europe had helped me considerably to prepare myself, but I still felt somewhat afraid.

Ordination Day

The day dawned sunny and warm as I rather expected. The reason I expected it is that I was told every year the local people make a novena in honor of Padre Pio for good weather. Since 1978, the good Padre has not failed them—always good weather. This year, some said they should have prayed for overcast skies as the sun was brutally hot and caused a few to pass out during the long ceremonies.

We knew there was a huge crowd but we kept our eyes lowered as we progressed to the huge outdoor tent where the ceremonies would be held. The clicking of cameras and the organ music was all I really heard. The procession seemed endless. I had never seen so many priests gathered together in one place. All that day I marveled at the number of priests united in their love for the traditions of the Catholic Faith and later, when we sang Vespers together, I felt very proud to be a member of such a Fraternity, joined with so many good men.

Though the ceremonies lasted four hours it all went rather fast for me. I thought I would be shaking like a leaf but instead I was calm and resigned to whatever responsibilities God would ask of me in the priesthood. After Archbishop Lefebvre placed his hands on the head of each one of us (the matter of the Sacrament), so did all the priests in attendance. Just this part of the ceremony probably lasted twenty minutes or more. All during that time I invoked every priest in heaven I could think of by name from Sts. Peter and Paul to Sts. John Bosco and Pius X. I included also some priests not canonized but most probably in heaven, like Padre Pio, Pius XII and Father Solanus. I asked Our Lord to make us priests according to His Own Heart as He made all of them.

Soon afterwards, Monseigneur Lefebvre sang the preface of the ordination and said the words that are the form of the Sacrament. We were priests. I was slightly dazed as I kept saying to myself, “I am a priest.” Then I could only add, “Please make us good and holy priests.” The rest of the ceremony seemed to move quickly.

Father Bourmaud knelt next to me as I, along with the other ordinands, celebrated with the Archbishop the Holy Mass. That was a great joy for me, and during the distribution of Holy Communion I had plenty of time to thank God for such great graces and joys given to me on that day. Father Hannifin was right. He had told me back in Kentucky, “This will be the happiest day of your life.” At the time I thought I’d only be very nervous, but he was right, happiness and joy came over me.

 

A Priestly Journey Begins

The next day, June 30, we would offer up our first Masses. Monsignor Hodgson had come all the way from Pittsburgh to attend the ordinations and assist me at my first Mass by preaching. When I was fourteen he had been one of our priests in the Detroit mission, so it was quite a pleasure to have him here now to assist at my first Mass. Father Brandler, an American professor at Ecône was also there and Father Bourmaud again assisted me at the altar. Though I kept trying, it was difficult for me to realize the greatness of this moment because I was rather distracted trying to get all the ceremonies correct.

On July 1, I was in Ars, France, saying Mass on the same altar St. Jean Vianney once did. I had asked the sacristan there if I might say Mass and he allowed me to, not knowing I was going to say the Latin Tridentine Mass. He also said I could celebrate Mass on the altar where the body of St. Jean Vianney lies, but in that case, I would be concelebrating with an English priest. I said, “No, thank you,” and went to say Mass privately. I probably made a mistake in wearing my own vestments for this Mass, as their bright red color and Roman cut drew too much notice, including the sacristan’s, who then realized I was saying the old Mass. But it was the Feast of the Precious Blood and I didn’t want to wear the single white cloak he had laid out for me. However, he didn’t interrupt me and I nervously completed the Holy Sacrifice.

I enjoyed very much the town of Ars and its sights. After dinner that evening, I went for a walk with my family and we saw a sign saying “Recontre Monument—2 Km.” Not knowing much French at all, I thought it meant “resistance” or something similar and said, “must be a war monument of some kind.” Well, we walked there and were very pleased to find it was the monument of the meeting of the young Cure’ of Ars and the little boy who came out to greet him. “Show me the way to Ars,” said the saint, “and I will show you the way to heaven.” I didn’t think I would see that statue as I had no idea where it was, so perhaps that little boy came again to show us the way. My family and I also visited Paray-le-Monial where the Sacred Heart appeared to St. Margaret Mary; Nevers, where St. Bernadette lived as a nun and the city of Paris.

A Return Home

After my family returned to the United States I traveled to Rome and spent nearly a week visiting the beautiful basilicas and shrines there. I walked almost everywhere I went and sometimes in Rome it can be difficult to cross the street. I’m used to cars stopping for pedestrians, but in Rome its more like everyone goes where he likes. They do have traffic lights, just a lot less than we do. So I started getting behind big Italians who just walked out in front of oncoming traffic. Its amazing how they all avoid collisions. Still the most frightening was the cab driver who drove backwards. When I arrived in Albano I had no idea where our Society’s house was, so I showed the address to a cabbie. He had me get in, but since the house was just down the street (and his cab was facing the other way) he didn’t bother turning around. He just drove backwards in the face of oncoming traffic! My gripping the dashboard and screaming “turn around!” didn’t phase him at all. We just went backwards, stop and go, all the way to the house.

I would have to say the greatest delight for me (besides the ordination) was the unity among the priests of the Society. Everywhere I went to say Mass—Paris, Saarbrucken, Basel, Albano—I was treated very kindly and hospitably by my fellow priests, even though I had come without previous notice. Everyone went out of their way to be friendly, even though my lack of foreign languages made it rather difficult to communicate.

I was grateful for my Latin in the Seminary which enabled me to speak with a professor from Brazil who was visiting Albano and also to communicate more easily with my fellow priests. Who said Latin was a dead language?

Published in The Angelus, August, 1987

New Religious Benedictine house

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Religious vocations are vital to the life of the Church. May we pray for an increase in vocations to the Priesthood & Religious life, lived fully in accordance with the Traditional Doctrine of the Church.

The pioneer foundresses of St. Joseph Monastery in Silver City, NM saw their religious house blessed by His Excellency Bp. Bernard Fellay on February 10th, 2018, the feast day of St. Scholastica.

With that momentous act, the Benedictine monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Silver City, NM gained a sister congregation of contemplative Benedictine sisters.

Bishop Fellay explained the significance of a new convent for the Church and Tradition thus:

We have two things. First, the blessing itself, which is pouring down the blessing of God and God’s graces, and that makes this place of the earth a holy place, a place of graces. That is the most important part. Then, it’s important for Tradition because it is the first contemplative American monastery that we bless. We hope that there will be many graces and many vocations here. In a country like the United States, which is very materialistic, there is an urgent need for depth that is given by contemplative life and contemplative monasteries. To know God, you must elevate yourself from the earth. You must get that look of the Faith. Nothing but contemplation will do that. This contemplative house for the Benedictine of Americans will complement the traditional Carmelite congregation.”
Fr. Cyprian spoke in the same vein, adding,

The long-desired convent project now completes the Benedictine picture, with both men and women living the Rule of St. Benedict in mutual support and collaboration. The recent extensive acquisition of additional acreage allows room for expansion and privacy to each monastic community. The Benedictine nuns represent the original form of feminine religious life as it developed from the Roman Virgins of apostolic times, made famous by the daughters and relatives of the Apostles and later by the Church Fathers, such as St. Ambrose. Rome is full of the shrines of these first nuns who lived the religious ideal from the very beginning of Christianity, in the imitation of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, who Herself was a consecrated virgin in the service of the temple.”

 

Conferral of the Cassock & Tonsure

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http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/reception-cassock-and-tonsure-35415

On February 2, Feast of the Purification of Our Lady, nine seminarians received the cassock and twelve the clerical tonsure from the hands of His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay. The following describes what the ceremonies signify – death to the world and the promise of a life devoted to the service of God.

The black color of the cassock signifies death to the world and to self. The world, in this sense, is nothing other than the rebellion of creatures against God, which always springs from disordered self-love and is fomented by the attractiveness of created goods when they are sought after without any reference to the divine Goodness. Concerning this, St. John says, “Love not the world, nor the things that are in the world…for all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 Jn. 2:15-16).

This mystical death is an aspect of the Christian life stressed by St. Paul. “Know you not that all we, who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in his death? For we are buried together with him by baptism into death…Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, to the end that we may serve sin no longer…So do you also reckon, that you are dead to sin, but alive unto God, in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:3-11). The cassock reminds the one who wears it, as well as all around him, of the necessity of this self-renunciation, after the example of Christ. “Christ died for all, that they also who live, may not now live to themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15).

The Tonsure
The clerical tonsure signifies the same thing. Five locks of hair are cut from the seminarian’s head in the form of a cross. It is a giving of self and the renouncing of everything superfluous and vain. The Church prays on behalf of the tonsured that the Holy Ghost may “defend their hearts from the entanglements of the world and worldly ambition.” As their hair is being cut, the ordinands say, “The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my lot; it is Thou who wilt restore to me my inheritance” (Ps. 15:5).

By the tonsure, the young men become clerics, members of the clergy. The word “cleric” comes from the Greek kleros, which means “portion” or “lot.” Those who dedicate themselves to the service of God have God himself as their promised reward, even as He was the special inheritance of the priestly tribe of Levi, who did not receive a portion of the Promised Land. “You shall possess nothing in their land,” the Lord said to Aaron, “neither shall you have any portion among them; I am thy portion and inheritance in the midst of the children of Israel” (Num. 18:20).

The Surplice
After the tonsure the new clerics receive the surplice. White in color, it signifies “the new man, who is created according to God in justice and holiness of truth.” The surplice is put on over the cassock as the positive aspect of the Christian life, which follows upon the negative aspect, death to self. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mt. 16:24). What happens if we follow Christ? “He that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). Christ is the light of the world; as Simeon said, “A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Lk. 2:32).

The prophet Malachias had foretold that the Lord would come to his Temple “as a refining fire” and would “purify the sons of Levi” so that they would “offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice” (Mal. 3:1-3). Christ is a fire that purifies the heart, enlightening it with faith and inflaming it with the warmth of charity. The Church prays for the tonsured, that Christ may send the Holy Ghost to “open their eyes from all spiritual and human blindness and bestow on them the light of eternal grace.”

Petition
We may conclude, then, with the petition that Holy Mother Church makes at Candlemas: “Lord Jesus Christ, the true Light who enlighten every man coming into this world…mercifully grant that, even as these lights, enkindled with visible fire, dispel the darkness of the night; so may our hearts, enlightened by an invisible fire—the splendor of the Holy Ghost—be free from all blindness of vice, so that, with our mind’s eye cleansed, we may be able to perceive what pleases thee and conduces to our salvation; so that, after the murky perils of this world, we may deserve to attain to the unfailing light.”