May 2016 - Come, Take Up Your Burden and Follow Me
In this letter, Father expains the upcoming plans for the move to Virginia, recent construction updates, and the summer apostolate of the seminarians.
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
Next October, the first of, God willing, a long line of men will be travelling the American roads. As you know, on this date the seminary will begin moving to Virginia, not far away from Charlottesville, in Buckingham County. If this particular kind of move is somehow a bit spectacular – for it is rare to see a hundred cassocks moving as a body, bundles on their backs – it does not constitute the most complicated part of our moving house: there is still much to do.
Moving from Winona will not be done without a touch of nostalgia, for the SSPX has trained priests here since 1988. We will be turning over a page of history (brilliantly narrated in a commemorative book, whose order form was included in our last mailing). The increase of vocations did not allow us to remain in our current building any longer: it had been planned for only around fifty students, while we have now, God be thanked, almost a hundred. Consequently, much work awaits us before taking off for two long days on the road. Here follows an outline.
The brick work and slate roofing of our new building will be ready in one month. Electrical and plumbing work will then be able to begin, while another team will work relentlessly on site building doors, stairs and the furniture for our various sacristies and the bookshelves for our future library. The refectory and classroom tables will have to wait; some makeshift tables will suffice at the beginning.
Meanwhile, in Winona, the Brothers are hurrying to finish, in the next few weeks, the ten side altars that will be necessary for the celebration of daily Mass.
In the days after ordinations, a team of seminarians led by two of our Brothers will go to Virginia. They will be accompanied by a delegation of Benedictines Brothers, led by a priest. Together, they will install the floor tiles in the noblest parts of the house, that is, the sacristy, the library and the refectory. The monks will stay in Virginia for three weeks and then they will return to their monastery. Let them find here the expression of our most heartfelt gratitude. Sacred Scripture tells us “how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” Fraternal union is a great and incomparable joy, and we experience it in a tangible way in this fraternal collaboration from which we have benefited for two happy years and which touches us more than we can express.
During all of this coming summer, teams of seminarians will take month-long turns at the building site, helping our workers to install doors and furniture and also to continue installing our parquet floors. The seminarians will reside at St. Hubert House, built on the property and thus named because it resembles a hunters’ cabin. At the end of the summer, after some modifications at St. Hubert’s, a community of SSPX Sisters will settle temporarily there, before taking residence in a convent built in conformity with the requirements of their way of life and their dignity as brides of Christ. Fortunately, a chapel is already installed in this house and the Sisters will be able to carry on their conventual life without any interruption.
By mid-summer, a building inspector will visit us and authorize our occupancy of the new seminary… or perhaps will require some additional work, which we will have to complete in record time if we want to move there in autumn, as envisaged. We recommend this inspection to your prayers and to the intercession of the angels.
In Winona, the month following the ordinations will be devoted to packing up the library books, the liturgical vestments and all the sacristy materials, as well as our personal possessions. The next school year will begin in Winona on September 10th, which in practice means that the professors and seminarians will live out of their suitcases for a month. May they then know the joy of being worthy soldiers of God, having, according to the recommendation of Sacred Scripture, their loins girded, ready to depart and rejoicing at being invited to go to the house of the Lord!
Allow us to ask for your prayers, so that this difficult plan, of which we have given you only an outline, may proceed in order, joy and peace. We also appeal to your generosity, because all these necessary and delicate activities create unavoidable expenses.
God willing, we will have the joy of blessing this new seminary on November 4th, in the presence of H.E. Bishop Fellay and all the members of his Council. The program for this day is described in the leaflet attached to this letter.
We wholeheartedly invite you to attend this November 4th ceremony, because this new building in Virginia is more than a simple seminary. In the present and generalized disarray, it is a true symbol. In these times, when Holy Mother Church has entered the hours of darkness that surround the Cross of Our Lord and when the Faith of many is unfortunately extinct in their hearts, this building – in which will be formed the priests of tomorrow – is a sign of hope. Building such a house in our times is the tangible proof that the Society of St. Pius X is a Catholic work blessed by God.
Your presence will stress that nothing can destroy this hope deeply rooted in our hearts. We know that, when His hour is come, God will work the resurrection of the Faith in His Church and, by Her, in souls. To attend this beautiful day thus gives a testimony of Faith. Our presence will be the living testimony of our belief that, beyond the vicissitudes of time, God and His Church cannot die. It will also be the occasion to sing a song of thanksgiving for so many benefits received.
Until then, we look forward to the visit of many of you for the last priestly ordinations to take place in Winona, on June 3rd at 9 a.m.
In Christo sacerdote et Maria.
Fr. Yves le Roux