a ligno Deus
HOLY CROSS SEMINARY
FATHERS OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT PIUS X
January 6, 2007
and benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,
Allow me to
bring you this month, a pictorial presentation of the ordinations
performed by Bishop Williamson during his brief visit to Holy Cross
Seminary last month. It was a more than fitting finale to the Seminary
year. On Saturday morning December 16, immediately after the last
examination, the seven theologians, who are in the final three years
of their formation, headed off for a retreat in Marlo, preached
by Father Thierry Gaudray, one of the professors from St. Thomas
Aquinas Seminary from Winona, who came especially for the occasion.
He chose as the theme for his retreat the writings and life of Blessed
Elizabeth of the Trinity, the Carmelite whose centennial was celebrated
last year. Meanwhile Bishop Williamson himself preached a recollection
to the Philosophers in preparation for the reception of Minor Orders.
The first ordination
ceremony took place on Ember Saturday, December 23. During this
lengthy ceremony the Clerical Tonsure, the four Minor Orders and
the Subdiaconate were all conferred, spaced out as they are on this
day between the various readings and graduals of the long Ember
day Mass. The ceremony took place in the Seminary chapel, and saw
the promotion to two young men (from Belgium and South Africa respectively)
to the Tonsure as clerics, of three clerics to the Minor Orders
of Porter and Lector (all three Australian) and three also to the
Minor Orders of Exorcist and Acolyte (one each from Australia, the
U.S. and India). Finally took place the ordination of one acolyte
to the Major Order of the Subdiaconate, Reverend Mr. Claret from
France, stepping forward to make the implicit vow of perpetual chastity
during the moving ceremony of final, irreversible dedication of
himself to the service of God.
The second ordination
ceremony took place on the feast of St. John the Evangelist, on
the field in front of the Seminary, in the presence of at least
450 faithful from all over Australia, as well as from New Zealand,
in a tent large enough to provide shelter for all those present.
During that ceremony our one subdeacon, Rev. Mr. Claret, received
the diaconate, followed by the ordination to the holy priesthood
of three deacons, now Father Michael Johnson from California, Father
Christopher Curtis from Melbourne and Father Michael Lavin from
New Zealand. The following day, feast of the Holy Innocents, they
each celebrated their First Masses in the tent, one after the other,
whilst many of the faithful present assisted at two or even all
three of them. It was touching to see Father Curtis on the altar
at the Solemn High Mass, assisted by his two class mates, Fathers
Johnson and Lavin as deacon and subdeacon, at the Mass sung by the
choir from his home parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Hampton,
present received the newly ordained priests’ individual blessings,
one after the other, eventually passing over to enjoy the celebration
lunch in the shade of the Seminary verandahs. All thanked God for
the cool weather and for the showers a couple of days before and
a couple of days after the ordinations, which were a symbol of the
grace of the priesthood falling upon the parched earth of a world
without God. The two day working bee that followed was also a great
help to the Seminary, drawing around 40 men to help out in the exterior
painting of the remodeled cottage, splitting, cutting and stacking
firewood for the winter and a variety of cleanup jobs.
We are confident
that these three young men whom God has called will be in truth
his friends, instruments and ministers of Our Divine Savior Himself,
vehicles of forgiveness, grace and holiness. We wish them the best
in their respective missions, which are, at the present time, Father
Curtis here in Australia, Father Johnson in Browerville, Minnesota
and Father Lavin at St. Bernard Novitiate in Iloilo, the Philippines.
I hope that
the photos that you find in this newsletter, which follow the ceremonies
in the order they took place, will be some small representation
of the supernatural joy and of the union of Faith that characterize
a priestly ordination, by which the Church continues its militant
step towards eternity, manifesting clearly to the eyes of Faith
the divinity of the one Mediator, the Way, the Truth and the Life,
for “this is the victory that overcomes the world, our Faith”
(I Jn 5:4).
Williamson and the ministers after the ceremony of ordination
on Ember Saturday, December 23. Reverend Mr. Claret, in the centre,
had just received the subdiaconate,
and the other seminarians the tonsure and minor orders.
three ordinands to the priesthood on December 27,
still with their diaconal stoles, in prayer, with the assembly of
the faithful behind.
prostration with which the Ordination ceremony to Major Orders begins.
Here the future deacon and three future priests profess their unworthiness
for Holy Orders
and beg the grace and blessing of Almighty God whilst the choir
sings the Litany of the Saints.
hearing their call by the archdeacon,
the future priests process forward for the ordination ceremony.
Mr. Jean-Baptiste Claret listens to the bishop’s admonition,
his dalmatic and stole over his left arm and the candle in his right.
three future priests, candles in hand,
listen to the admonition of the bishop on the duties and responsibilites
“The office of the priest is to offer sacrifice, to bless,
to govern, to preach and to baptize.
Truly, it must be with great fear that you ascend to so high a station…”
matter of the sacrament.
Here the bishop imposes both of his hands on the head of Father
as Fathers Curtis and Lavin await their turn. The sacred ministers
look on: Father Gaudray as deacon,
Father Wailliez as subdeacon and the Rector as Archdeacon.
Lavin likewise touches with his consecrated hands the chalice and
containing the matter of the sacrifice.
most ancient custom is for the new ordained priests
to concelebrate the Mass of ordination together with the ordaining
However, this has nothing of the demeaning disrespect of the modernist
Here the three newly ordained priests can be seen kneeling on the
ground, their own missals in front of them,
saying all the prayers of the Mass, from the Offertory to the end.
Father Curtis, to the right, is assisted by Father Ortiz, Father
Johnson in the middle
is assisted by Father Jackson, and Father Lavin to the right is
assisted by Father Delsorte.
Williamson surrounded by the three newly ordained priests
in the Sacred Heart courtyard after the ceremony of ordination.
Johnson gives his first blessing to a sister of the Society,
accompanied by seminarian, Nathan Farrow, from Phoenix.
Curtis gives his first blessings in the Seminary verandah.
Lavin gives his first blessing to two religious whilst
his father holds for him the card with the special blessing prayer.
Lavin speaks to two Australians
during the lunch celebration that followed the ceremony of ordination.
three newly ordained priests together cut their ordination cake
after the lunch.
Agnus Dei. Father Johnson elevates the host during his First Mass
in the tent on December 28, feast of the Holy Innocents.
Lavin at his first Mass, a Sung Mass in the tent.
Curtis, celebrated a Solemn High Mass in honor of the Immaculate
Heart of Mary.
The deacon for the Mass was Father Johnson, to his right, and the
subdeacon, Father Lavin to his left.
Some of the choir members from Victoria can be seen in the background.
IGNATIAN RETREAT DATES AT HOLY CROSS SEMINARY DURING THE UPCOMING
COME & BRING YOUR FRIENDS!
5 day: † Monday
January 15 Ė Saturday January 20
June 18 – Saturday June 23
Womenís 5 day:††††††† Monday February 5 – Saturday
September 17 – Saturday Sept. 22
September 24 – Saturday Sept. 29