Tag 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

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.

 

 

 

Keep thy Priests

 

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“With all your soul, fear God, revere his priests. With all your strength, love your Creator, forsake not his ministers.”  ~Sirach 7:29-30

One of my favorite poems of all time is “Keep them, Dearest Lord,” a beautiful poem written for priests. I don’t know who wrote it. If anyone does, please comment below and let me know. I’ve always had a great devotion to the Priesthood and praying for priests. My trinity of devotions include the Holy Eucharist, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Catholic Priesthood, for these three are equally the foundation of the Church. Without one, we cannot have the other and without all three, the Church would lost her supernaturality.  Hence, why satan has attacked these three so viciously and continues to do, for He knows that Christ gave the Church the means of salvation through the Priest, who offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for us, the Victim and fruit of that Sacrifice being the Holy Eucharist, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

Let us love our priests and pray for them. I dedicate this poem to my own pastor, Fr. Greig Gonzalez, SSPX.  May God love and bless him, for his untiring love and dedication to his flock.

Keep them, I pray Thee, Dearest Lord,
Keep them, for they are thine,
Thy priests whose lives burn out
Before Thy consecrated shrine.

Keep them, for they are in the world,
Though from the world apart;
When earthly pleasures tempt, allure,
Shelter them in Thy Heart.

Keep them, and comfort them in hours
Of loneliness and pain,
When all their life of sacrifice for souls
Seems but in vain.

Keep them, and O remember, Lord,
They have no one but Thee,
Yet, they have only human hearts,
With human frailty.

Keep them as spotless as the Host,
That daily they caress.
Their every thought and word and deed,
Deign, Dearest Lord, to bless.

IMPRIMATUR 

+Henry Joseph O’Leary, D.D., Archbishop of Edmonton

Mary, Mother of Priests, pray for Fr. Gonzalez and strengthen him! St. John Vianney, St. John Bosco and all patrons of priests, intercede for the Priests of God!

~Damsel of the Faith

“Honor God and respect the priest”  ~Sirach 7:31

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2016 Priest engagements, SSPX

Annually on December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, priests make their official engagements, becoming perpetual members of the Society of St. Pius X.

May God bless these men, eternal priests in the Holy Priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Congratulations to our US District Priests, Fr. Jonathan Loop and Fr. Gagnon, as well as to Fr. Therasian Xavier, District of Asia.

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/new-engagements-sspx

The SSPX welcomed new additions to its priestly fraternity – Three as perpetual members and eight as new members.

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8) is the day reserved for when the clerics of the Society of St. Pius X make their engagements to their religious family. This year was no exception, with 2 priests of the United States District making their perpetual engagements: Fr. Jonathan Loop and Fr. Gagnon.

Additionally, one other priest, Fr. Therasian Xavier, from the District of Asia, was warmly welcomed to the seminary to make his engagement. Father was ordained in Winona in 2011.  His first assignment was Palayamkottai, India, and he has been there ever since.  He was made prior in 2015.

Finally, we received the joyful news that 8 seminarians made their first engagements this year: Maurizio Balestra, Phillip Delallo, Patrick Dvorak, James Hewko, Joseph Horak, Michael Marcopolus, Edward Simmerer, and Jonathan Steele.

Follow the Immaculate

In the sermon of the Mass, Reverend Father Yves le Roux explained how Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception, is the perfect model of generous submission to God.  It is not by chance that Archbishop Lefebvre chose this feast day for the ceremony of engagement.  As her children make for the first time or renew their complete oblation of self to God, they ask her to bring them into the same spirit which penetrated her whole life.

We congratulate the priests who made their perpetual engagement and ask the charity of your prayers for them as well as for the perseverance of those who have just officially become members of the Society of St. Pius X.

Pope St. Pius X, ora pro nobis!

~Damsel of the Faith

Blessing of the new St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary

Report from the SSPX US District on the memorable, joyous occasion of the blessing of the new Seminary, built to house many, many Priests for generations to come. A true fortress for God and the Traditional Catholic Faith.

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/report-new-sspx-seminary-va

“More than one thousand faithful gathered at the new home of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary on Friday, November 4th, to celebrate the blessing of the recently built house of formation. With the Superior General, Bishop Fellay, several district superiors, and dozens of priests, this joyous today for Tradition in America began, as is fitting, with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

In the sermon, His Excellency explained how a building this noble and grand helps the formation of the future priests. By reflecting the attributes of the eternal and majestic God, the architecture leads to an interior silence and reminds souls that their vocation is not a normal one!

After a catered lunch, Fr. Yves le Roux, the Rector, thanked those who made such a work possible: the  benefactors, the workers, the volunteers, and all those who have prayed and sacrificed to make this work possible.

However, not all the news from Virginia was happy this weekend, as the Superior General, Bishop Fellay, injured his foot quite badly. We ask for your prayers that he recovers well, and completely.

More than anything else, the new seminary stands as a tribute to the founder of the Society. Without Archbishop Lefebvre’s vision to defend the Catholic priesthood, none of this would be possible. Continue to pray that the Society may form priests of God and that Our Lady protects them all in this increasingly chaotic world!”

Photos:

http://sspx.org/en/media/photos/gallery-new-seminary-blessing-virginia-18711

    

Please pray for a speedy recovery for Bishop Fellay. He fell and broke his foot at the Seminary.

~Damsel of the Faith

A day in the life of an SSPX Seminarian

“A new video traces the daily life and full formation of a seminarian at the SSPX Seminary of St. Thomas Aquinas.

What is it like to live within the walls of a seminary? Let us follow a day in the life of a seminarian.

At 6:00am the bell is rung which breaks the great silence of the night. The seminarian begins the day with the morning prayers. After washing up, he descends to the chapel – vesting with the surplice signifies “putting on the new man” as says St. Paul.

At 6:30am, Prime, part of the Divine Office or prayer of the Church, is sung. After 25 minutes of meditation, the Angelus is led by the Rector.

Mass, the center of seminary life, follows: a low Mass on weekdays, and a High Mass on Sundays and feast days….”

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/video-day-life-seminarian

 

May God bless these future priests and increase in them all priestly graces and virtues that they may offer the Holy Sacrifice with a pure heart, preach the True Catholic Faith with apostolic zeal and administer all of the Holy Sacraments with a burning love for Our Lord and His Church.

~Damsel of the Faith