Category Archives: Priesthood

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.

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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.”

 

Archbishop Lefebvre on the Priesthood

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The great Archbishop Lefebvre founded the Society of St. Pius X for the Catholic Priesthood, during the most catastrophic crisis in Church history.  He knew that without holy priests, souls could not be saved.  In these sermons, we read the words of a great saint, with a great love for the True Church, who wanted nothing more than to pass on what he had received, for the salvation of souls.

“Now, the cleric, that is, he who intends to participate in the Priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, engages himself to holiness by his very function. It is no more the matter of a promise made in front of God, in front of Heaven, in front of the Elect of Heaven, in front of the Church, to profess holiness, but his very function is one of holiness because he participates in the Priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. To be a priest and not to search for holiness is a contradiction in terms. The priest must essentially be holy because of his function, because of the Order that he receives. Every admonition the bishop gives on the occasion of each ordination recalls this exigency. You, my very dear friends, who received the Orders of Lector and Porter yesterday, you remember well that the bishop told you: you must give the example by your life; you must sanctify the faithful by the example of your life, not only by your words, not only by your functions, but by the example of your life. And the same is true of every ordination, and much more by the priestly ordination. This is very important; it is a very profound commitment.”

http://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/Archbishop-Lefebvre/Archbishop_Lefebvre_and_the_Vatican/1988-02-02.htm

Fr. Frank Kurtz celebrates 20 years of Priesthood

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Fr. Frank Kurtz is prior of Queen of Angels in Dickinson, Texas, the priory closest to my home parishes in Louisiana. The Society proves a brief interview with Father, relaying some of his story and how he got to where he is today. Happy Anniversary, Father!

~Damsel of the Faith

http://sspx.org/en/priestly-anniversaries-celebrated-us-district

Interview with Fr. Frank Kurtz

Could you tell us one of the events causing you to choose to enter the seminary?
I went to public schools and was a protestant until the 4th grade. That year (1980) my parents enrolled my brothers and I in Catholic (Novus Ordo) school because they knew we would get a better education.
As it happened, this was a very conservative Catholic school and parish. The priest was around 80 years old and had been at the parish since World War II. He wore a cassock, the sisters wore habits, everyone knelt at the communion rail and received communion in the traditional matter, we were taught Baltimore Catechism and sung some Latin. This was my introduction to Catholcism. I was only 9 years old and was when I first started thinking about becoming a priest.
After a few months my brothers and I were baptized and received into the Church. Our parents followed us into the Church a few months later.

Why did you come to the SSPX?
By the time I was in High School, I was still thinking about maybe becoming a priest. But at the same time, I was looking for a compromise. That compromise was to become a History Teacher. I was still Novus Ordo, but was displeased with the liberal aspects I saw in the Church.
I happened upon a TV special on Fatima and this convinced me that I should pray the Rosary. I was probably about 15 years old. But for the most part I suppressed the thought of becoming a priest.
After my high school graduation I was going to college. One morning in the Kansas City Times Newspaper, there was an article about SSPX, St. Vincent’s and St. Mary’s Academy and College. I decided that I would go to one of these Masses and see it for myself.
The first time I attended Mass with the SSPX was January 7, 1990. That was it. I was a Trad from that day forward. I started read the books by the Archbishop and by Michael Davies. I also started thinking about becoming a priest again.
That fall I transferred to St. Mary’s College. I years later, I entered Winona.

A fond memory of your seminary time?
There are so many! I especially liked Acts of the Magisterium with Bishop Williamson. There he was in his element. The ceremonies were always as solemn as possible and very beautiful. I was a sacristan and so getting ready for the big ceremonies like Corpus Christi and ordinations stick fine in my memory. And who could forget are trip to Rome and other European cities in 1995 (72 days if I recall correctly).

An anecdote of your priestly life?
I have been blessed to have always been placed in an apostolate were there was a school. Dickinson (4 years), Browerville-Long Prairie (3 years), St. Michaels School in England (3 years), Wanganui, New Zealand (2 years), St. Louis (5 years), Dickinson (3 years and counting). So I still became a teacher.

What would you say to a young man today?
I would simply quote St. Augustine: “Our hearts have been made for Thee O Lord, and they will not rest until the rest in Thee”

25 years, what are your regrets looking back?
My sins.

What are your prayers, looking forward?
I pray for perseverance of course. I have now witnessed marriages for those I gave first Holy Communion. I have had a teacher teaching for me that was once my student. Soon there will be someone I once baptized that will seek marriage. I have also seen children grow-up to become priests and religious. Others grew-up and now I teach their children.
It goes by very fast. My prayer is for the SSPX to continue to grow and that our school apostolates continue to produce the fruit that it does.

Prayer Crusade for Priests

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One of the most important apostolates of the SSPX in the United States is the prayer crusade for priests, under the spiritual direction of Br. Gabriel Marie. The purpose of the prayer crusade is to pray much and devotedly for the welfare and sanctification of the priests of the Church, which is an emmense grace and privilege for the faithful. The prayers of the faithful keep our priests steadfast in holiness so that we might all have the Faith, for as St. John Vianney famously said, the parish will be holy only if the priest is holy

I’m blessed to be a member of  the Crusade. One of my greatest loves has always been the Priesthood, which I hold in high reverence. There are currently 1,478 Crusaders. I highly encourage everyone to join. We will save the Church by supporting our good priests, our most solemn duty.

Crusaders pledge themselves to pray for vocations to the Priesthood, for the sanctification of priests, for faltering priests or those struggling to persevere. May Our Lady of the Clergy protect them all under her mantle. St. John Vianney, intercede for the priests.

~Damsel of the Faith

The Consecration Prayer:

Almighty God, in union with the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary, and in union with the most Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, I, (name___), consecrate to Thee and resign into the hands of Thy Mother, my life and my death as a sacrifice of love for the sanctification and fidelity of Thy priests. To this end, O Almighty God, I beg Thee to grant me the grace of perseverance until death. I promise to fulfill to the best of my ability the obligations of the Prayer Crusade for Priests. Let me love Thee, O God and serve Thee faithfully all the days of my life. Amen.

The Daily Oblation:

O Jesus, humbled in the Eucharist to be the source and center of charity of the Catholic Church and the strength of souls, I offer Thee my prayers, my actions, my sufferings in behalf of Thy Priests, to the end that each day may behold the wider extension of the Kingdom of Thy Sacred Heart.

A prayer to be prayed for all priests:

O Jesus, Eternal High Priest, Good Shepherd, Font of life, Who by a special favor of Thy most tender Heart hast given to us our Priests, in order to accomplish in us those holy ideals with which Thy grace inspires our hearts, let Thy mercy, we beseech Thee, come to the aid of our Priests. Grant them, O Jesus, lively faith in their works, unshakable hope in their trials and fervent charity in their intentions. May Thy word, radiant with eternal wisdom, become through continual meditation the never failing nourishment of their interior life; may the examples of Thy life and Passion be renewed in their conduct and sufferings, for our instruction and as a light and consolation in our sorrows. Grant, O Lord, that our priests, free from all earthly attachments and solicitous for Thy glory alone, may persevere to their last breath in the fulfillment of duty and in purity of conscience. And when in death they deliver into Thy hands a task well done, may they have in Thee, Lord Jesus, their Master on earth, the eternal reward of the crown of justice in the glory of the saints. Amen.