On Tuesday December
3, the Seminary celebrated the feast of St. Francis Xavier, who
is a second patron of Australia, and celebrated as a first class
feast. Solemn First and Second Vespers were sung, as well as a High
Mass. The Indian seminarians remarked that it was the first time
that they had celebrated worthily the feast of the great patron.
December 7, it was Father Ortiz’ turn to preach the monthly
day of recollection to the seminarians and brothers. His focus was
explaining the meaning of the Engagements in the Society, and preparing
for the ceremony to take place the next day.
8, feast of the Immaculate Conception, was celebrated with great
solemnity. It is a great feast for the Society of Saint Pius X,
since it is on this day that the priests and seminarians make their
oblation, or total offering of themselves to the Church through
the Society, as victims united with the divine victim on the altar.
They also offer themselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and make
solemn promises of chastity, obedience and of the spirit of poverty.
This is all contained in the ceremony of the Engagements or Oblations.
year seminarians, Mr. Michael Lavin and Mr. Christopher Curtis,
made their engagements for the first time, before the open tabernacle.
Another three seminarians, Mr. Gerald Fallarcuna, Mr. Albert Ghela
and Mr. Michael Johnson, renewed their engagements. It was a great
consolation for the Seminary Rector to receive their offerings of
themselves, on behalf of the Superior General.
was also on this day that Father Juan Carlos Ortiz blessed a magnificent
image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that he had obtained from Mexico,
and that is now hanging in the Seminary vestibule.
10, two of the electric fences around our paddocks were repaired,
thus limited our cattle from wandering everywhere, and eating everything,
even the rose flowers in our garden! Father Bourmaud brought back
some hay from Wagga, much needed because of the lack of feed in
the paddocks. However, on December 10, we had a steady rain for
15 hours, which helped a little green grass to grow, although it
will probably not be the end of the drought.
December 11, the Seminary had its last outing for the school year,
consisting of a walk and a barbecue near the historic town of Braidwood,
where bushranger Ben Hall attempted to raid the gold coach in 1865.
Fathers MacDonald and Arthur from Rockdale joined the Seminary for
the relaxing break. Then minor examinations took place between December
12 and 14, followed by the silence of the three days of study in
preparation for the major examinations, which took place from December
19 – December 23. The pressure of the exams once over, the
seminarians then applied themselves wholeheartedly to the preparation
for Christmas. The four new Indian seminarians prepared the crib,
and set it up on Christmas Eve, and all the seminarians will involved
in preparing the antiphons, responsories and chants for the Matins
and Lauds for Christmas.
It was at 9:45
p.m. that the chant of Matins began. Although not all of the responsories
were sung, Matins was not complete until 11:45 p.m. This allowed
a few minutes for Christmas carols before the midnight Mass started.
After the Mass, the whole community chanted Lauds, and then retired
to the Refectory to celebrate the Nativity of the Son of God, with
delicacies prepared by Brother Bernadine.
saw the Dawn and Day Masses celebrated, the Day Mass being a High
Mass, followed by Vespers in the afternoon. December 26 was very
busy, for it was on that day that the seminarians prepared for the
influx of 29 men retreatants. The seminarians all stayed to help
out with the jobs associated with the retreat, and that retreat
was preached by Fathers Scott and Pepping. Father Pepping came up
from Tynong, bringing with him from Tynong nearly half the retreatants.
The retreat was tiring but successful.
On New Year’s
Eve the Seminary held a three hour adoration, starting at 9: 00
p.m. It was a reparation for the sins that are committed on this
night, and to ask for God’s blessings on the New Year. Parishioners,
seminarians, and retreatants were present. It finished with a holy
hour, with the chant of the Te Deum, with Benediction, and then
after midnight with the Veni Creator, imploring God’s blessings
on the nascent New Year.
On Friday November
1, Father Ortiz celebrated a Solemn High Mass for the feast of All
Saints. It was the 32nd birthday of the Society of Saint Pius X.
the Seminarians at Holy Cross follow a day of recollection, usually
on the First Saturday of the month. Two conferences are preached
by one of the professors, and silence is kept all day long, in order
to maintain the more intense spirit of prayer throughout the day.
This month it was preached by Father Dominique Bourmaud on All Souls
Day, Saturday November 2.
week our prayers for vocations began to be answered. On November
7, American seminarian Michael Johnson arrived from the U.S. A late
vocation, he did the first year of his formation in Flavigny and
the second in Ecône. He is now finishing his second year at
Holy Cross, and will be ready to begin his third year in March.
Then on November 13 four seminarians from India, from the city of
Bombay, arrived. All four of them Lawrence D’Souza, Anthony
Alphonso, Anthony Rodrigues and Gregory Noronha, had done 5 –
8 years of “formation” at the diocesan seminary, rather
paradoxically named after St. Pius X, in Bombay. Forced out by the
modernists for standing up for Tradition, they then studied for
six months with Father Blute in Palayamkottai, India, before coming
to Holy Cross to pursue a traditional priestly formation.
The new arrivals
have brought our community to a total of three priests, three brothers,
nine seminarians and two laymen. May many more priestly and religious
vocations follow them.
was also an important day for the community, since it was the day
for the community outing. All of us went together to the Wombeyan
caves, near Taralga, arriving there for a barbecue, after an exhausting
walk through the forest. We managed to get a tour and to take a
look at the spectacular caverns and stalactites in one of the caves.
month of November, work advanced rapidly on the teacher’s
cottage on the Seminary property. Mr. Michael Walmsley finished
the bulk of the remodeling, leaving the finish work to Mr. Steve
Ashelford, helped by Brother Xavier. Mr. John Porsha came down from
Sydney to do the final electrical work. Other volunteer parishioners
have also helped with sanding and painting. Also during this month
of November, two of the classrooms to be used by the Seminarians
were completed. This makes three completed classrooms, with one
still left to go. On November 25 carpet was laid in these two classrooms,
so that desks could be moved into place.
carpeting work in the main Seminary was also done on November 27
& 28. The upper floor hallway, which had previously been a cold
concrete floor, is covered with comfortable, simple, practical hard-wearing
carpet. The landing outside the Lady chapel and the nearby sacristy
were also carpeted at the same time. This carpeting was not a luxury,
but a necessity, since there were no floor coverings in most of
these areas. Many rooms and hallways still have old carpets, but
which are quite adequate for us for the time being.
On the afternoon
of Sunday September 29, a five day Ignatian retreat for women, began,
preached by the Rector and by Father Dominique Bourmaud. No less
than 34 women assisted at the retreat. At the same time the five
sisters of the Society of Saint Pius X from Rockdale, a suburb of
Sydney, came down to do their own retreat. Two separate retreats
took place in the Seminary at the same time. It was Father Loschi
who came up from St. Thomas Aquinas College in Tynong to preach
the sisters’ retreat.
were lodged in the Mater Dei wing of the Seminary, which is upstairs
above the kitchen. There they had their own chapel, St. Michael’s
Chapel, where they had the Blessed Sacrament reserved, and were
able to pray undisturbed. The women following the Ignatian retreat
were mainly lodged in Sacred Heart wing, and used the main chapel.
The Brothers and community members held their Masses and divine
office in the chapel of Our Lady upstairs.
number of the women on retreat had made multiple Ignatian retreats,
so that the majority of the retreatants were former retreatants.
Several had followed as many as seven retreats. It is a great consolation
for the priests and seminarians to be able to share the peace, calm,
and prayerful atmosphere of the Seminary with others who appreciate
the interior life. The Ignatian retreat was intense, but every retreatant
survived until the end. All testified as to the many good fruits
for their interior life. The proof of course is in the pudding of
faithful abiding by their practical good resolutions made whilst
on retreat. The women’s retreat finished on Friday afternoon
Some of the
seminarians returned to the Seminary on Friday October 4, and the
others on Saturday October 5, ready to start the third term of the
school year, that will carry them all the way through to Christmas
day, after which the summer break begins. The first week back was
blessed by two High Masses, of the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary
on Monday October 7 and the feast of the divine Motherhood of Mary
on Friday October 11.
the month of October the community celebrated the office of the
Rosary, according to the express command of the Pope of the Rosary,
Pope Leo XIII, in 1883. This meant that the Rosary was recited every
evening before the Blessed Sacrament exposed, followed by the Litany
of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Each decade is introduced by a Gregorian
antiphon, taken from the office of the feast of the Holy Rosary.
A special grace
occurred on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The unchurched
and unbaptized husband of one of our strong parishioners, suffering
from progressive emphysema, requested and received the sacrament
of baptism on this great feast day from the hands of the Rector,
assisted by Father Ortiz. Maxwell Murdoch, who took the name of
Peter for his baptism, was only to survive another 10 days before
being called to God. The High Mass of Requiem for his funeral was
celebrated in the Seminary chapel on Thursday October 24, and sung
and served by the seminarians. After the Absolution ceremony the
procession carried the casket on foot to the Seminary cemetery,
to the tolling of the large bell, while the seminarians sung the
psalms from the Vespers of the dead, alternating with the antiphon,
the In Paradisum. His conversion of the 11th hour, and his death
in God’s grace were a great consolation to his widow and to
the Seminary parishioners.
was interred in the cemetery, the third parishioner of the Seminary
to make his earthly resting place in our midst, so to be guaranteed
the prayers and suffrages of the seminarians and brothers.
was shocked by the death of the father of one of our seminarians
from the Philippines, Albert Ghela, on Friday October 18. His name
was Edilberto Ghela. Neither Albert nor his sister, who is a postulant
with the Sisters of the Society in Browerville, MN, U.S.A. were
able to attend their father’s funeral. However, the Rector
celebrated a Solemn High Mass for the repose of his soul on Monday
Meanwhile, Mike Walmsley has been working very hard on his project.
It is the remodeling of one of the two cottages that are on the
Seminary property. The complete remodeling includes new exterior
siding, new dry wall throughout, new windows, new finish work throughout
and a new kitchen. The remodeling work will also include a new water
tank, a new stove, fridge and washing machine. This house will become
the home of one of the teachers, Mr. Des McDonnell, who has agreed
to come and teach full time the Seminarians who will be arriving
at the beginning of February 2003. The Seminary appreciates the
many sacrifices and efforts that Mr. Walmsley and his helpers are
putting into this project.
celebration of importance was the weekend organized for the Seminary’s
patronal feast day, that of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Saturday
September 14. Father Daniels, who had planned the “family
day” was not able to be there. However, many friends and benefactors
of the Seminary from as far away as Melbourne, Albury, Sydney and
Singleton came for the celebrations and ceremonies.
Superior, Father Edward Black, presided over the First Vespers of
the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on Friday night and celebrated
the Solemn High Mass on Saturday morning. This Mass was preceded
by a procession around the entire Seminary complex with the relic
of the true Cross, singing the Litany of the Saints, seminarians,
priests and faithful praying for the love of the mystery of the
Cross which is essential to the Catholic life and to restoring all
things in Christ.
After the Mass,
the faithful gathered in the Seminary Refectory to share a meal
with the priests, seminarians and brothers. That afternoon Father
Scott gave a conference on the mystery of the Cross and the Second
Vatican Council, entitled “The Anti-Cross Council”.
Copies of the audio cassette are available from the Seminary at
$6 each. Solemn Second Vespers followed, along with exposition of
the Blessed Sacrament all night long. Many of the faithful took
hours and assisted in watching with Our Lord throughout the long
night. One learnt practically the mystery of the Cross when driving
to do her hour of adoration in the middle of the night she hit a
wombat, an animal which is a great danger to motorists in this region.
The next day,
Sunday September 15, was the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. A crowd
of 120 faithful were present, that old timers affirmed was the largest
crowd ever seen at a Seminary function. The Rector sang the Solemn
High Mass, preaching on the necessity not just of devotion to Our
Lady but of consecration to her, without which we cannot truly appreciate
her role as Co-Redemptrix at the foot of the cross. The Seminarians
had been preparing for this occasion for several days. Brother Xavier
constructed a litter to carry the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary
in the first ever procession in honor of Our Lady recorded at the
Seminary. The Seminarians decorated it with a fantastic floral decoration,
containing flowers of all kinds.
left the chapel, singing the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
and continuing with a variety of English hymns in Our Lady’s
honor. After circling the Seminary, it came to its ending at a grotto
set up in Our Lady’s honor in a transformed outdoor squash
court, offering some protection from the wind. There the priests,
seminarians, brothers and faithful prayed to the Mother of Sorrows,
and made the consecration of the Seminary, of themselves and of
their families to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, all convinced that
such a generous offering would bring an abundance of graces.
was not the end of the day. The Seminary and the faithful then held
a joint outdoor barbecue, enjoying the sunny day that God had sent.
This gave the faithful, coming from long distances, the opportunity
to meet one another and the Seminarians. Many of them were large
families with small children, and so as soon as lunch was over a
variety of games were organized for the children. They included
sack races, three-legged races and a tug of war, with the boys pulling
with all their might to overcome the girls.
Then came the
serious part. In 2001, the first time that such a family day had
been celebrated at the Seminary for the feast of the Exaltation
of the Holy Cross, there had been a soccer game of the laymen against
the “cassocks”, that is priests, seminarians and brothers.
The cassocks had lost, and this time they were determined to defend
their honor. They had the advantage of having played together a
few times, and having two great soccer playing priests, Fathers
Bourmaud and Ortiz. And they vanquished by 5 goals to 2. The day
then ended in the chanting of Vespers, all thanking God for the
grace of an enjoyable and profoundly supernatural weekend, and hoping
to see one another again next year, same time, same place.
The next event
was the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, Sunday September 29.
This day is the annual feast day of the Brothers of the Society
and the day on which they make and renew their vows. It was on this
day that Brother Bernadine renewed the vows that he made for the
first time last March when he finished his novitiate. Brother Bernadine
is an especially valued member of the community - for he is the
cook, and a great one too. He is also the Secretary of the Ignatian
It was on Wednesday
August 21 that the outgoing Rector, Father Coenraad Daniels, welcomed
the new Rector, Father Peter Scott. Father Daniels had been a Professor
at Holy Cross Seminary for more than seven years, the past year
and a half as Rector. During that time he has guided many seminarians
to the priesthood, and made many much appreciated improvements to
celebrated his first Mass at Holy Cross on Thursday August 22, feast
of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It was a Solemn High Mass, and
he preached on the necessity of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary
as a consequence of the mystery of the hypostatic union to two natures
in the one Person of Our Divine Savior.
On Sunday August
25, Father Daniels celebrated his last Mass as Rector of Holy Cross,
before taking up his new assignment as District Superior for the
Society's work in southern Africa. He has a great challenge before
him, since the circumstances are particularly difficult in his native
country. He used his sermon to give some final recommendations to
seminarians and faithful alike, namely for the seminarians to persevere
in prayer and study and for the faithful to continue in their duties
of state. After the Mass, all the faithful united to the community
in the Seminary Refectory to express their words of appreciation
for his example, and his hard work and to wish him the best. Tears
flowed abundantly, since he was very much loved by the faithful
on account of his fervor, devotion to duty, humility and his compassion
for their souls. He had particularly earned this appreciation by
his love of the exercises of St. Ignatius, which he has preached
no less than 97 times in his 13 years as a priest.
Index of Seminary events
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