July/August 2017 - Departure of the New Priests
This year's ordinations marked the first of many to come at the seminary in Virginia and sent nine new priests into Our Lord's vineyard. Finishing work on the seminary continues; and thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, every completed task allows us to provide an environment better suited to the formation of priests. Thank you for your continued prayers and support!
Ordinations took place this last Friday, July 7th, a beautiful day in spite of the dire weather forecasts, followed in the evening by a long torch-lit procession around the seminary in honor of Our Lady of Fatima. The following day, surrounded by their families and friends and assisted by an experienced priest, the young priests celebrated their first Mass. Let us pray to God that these nine new priests honor the Church by radiating the name of the Lord and thus becoming worthy instruments of His grace.
The 1500 faithful present on these beautiful days were witnesses to the changes at the seminary since its inauguration on November 4th by H.E. Bishop Fellay.
As the old proverb says, Rome was not built in one day. It is the same for our seminary – we must keep working, with perseverance, in order to offer to our students a perfectly adequate framework for their formation.
Our seminarians had this year the honor of putting up with all the problems inherent in being the first residents of a new home that is still under construction. This experience, although salutary, should not last long and cannot become the rule. Thanks to God and to your unfailing generosity, next year we will be able to offer to the seminarians surroundings more in keeping with their state. Thus, for example, when he returns for the next academic year, each seminarian will have the furniture in his room needed to store his belongings as well as custom-built shelves to store the books from which he will draw the wisdom of the Church. This past year, simple cardboard boxes had to do the trick.
But already the experience of these few months in Virginia prompts us to thank the Good God for having brought us here and enabled us to build our seminary. We have now in our hands an instrument particularly well suited for our seminarians, safe from the noise of the world, to receive a solid formation both on the natural and supernatural levels.
Indeed, man is not pure spirit. He must carefully watch to preserve a natural balance, particularly disrupted today, as we are subjected to inhuman artificial rhythms of life that weaken our nerves and balance. Needless to say, when a hundred young men in the full vigor of youth live in community, this balance is more necessary than ever.
By its climate and geography, Virginia makes it possible for our students to spend their times of recreation as they please. They can visit places charged with history: Monticello or Appomattox are both located nearby. By visiting the battlefields that are within a stone’s throw of our property, they reflect on life and death, as they cannot remain indifferent in front of so much bloodshed: 750,000 soldiers died in those fields. As so many fell in the flower of their youth, the lesson is impressed more easily…
In addition, many and varied museums afford the seminarians the chance to augment their knowledge, allowing them to perceive more clearly they are only links in a long line of men, and that they must keep their place, humbly and proudly.
However, this proximity to places where a historical and cultural wealth abounds does not prevent us from living withdrawn, right in the middle of the countryside, in a natural jewel-box of rare beauty. Thus, it is given to us to admire the wonders of creation and the greatness of the Creator.
This exceptional situation especially allows our seminarians to discover the benefits of silence and the peace of a regulated life. They are thus accustomed to live in the presence of God.
Their souls are appeased, recollected and become tougher while opening themselves to the mystery of God and His love. Supported by silence and by an architecture that speaks to them of God, they reflect on the titanic struggle played out in a world where Satan, in his foolish pride, defies God.
As their formation advances, they become aware that soon they will jump into the fray at the head of their faithful and that they will have to lead them with an assured hand in the midst of demonic traps. But before that can happen, they must first discover God and open themselves to Him to become worthy officers of His Kingdom.
We invite you to pray for these young and courageous candidates to the priesthood, so that the wealth that – thanks to your help – God places at their disposal may find them receptive.
We will never say it enough: we thank you for your generosity towards us. Every day, at the time of our evening prayer in community, we present to God your intentions of prayer, not forgetting that you are in the front line, exposed to the attacks of the devil.
Our gratitude finds its true dimension when we send our newly ordained priests out to your souls. Let us pray that they may be animated by the love of Christ, of the Church and of souls, ready to give everything and themselves so that Christ may live in you, in your families and in society.
In Christo sacerdote et Maria.
Fr. le Roux