Holy Cross Seminary

Past Events


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.

On Saturday 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.

Sunday December 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.

ceremony of the Engagements

Two second 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.

After the Engagements

It 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.

Our Lady of Guadalupe


On December 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.

community barbecue

On Wednesday 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.

nativity scene

Christmas Day 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.

men's retreat


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.

Every month 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.

The following 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.

November 13 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.

cottage kitchen

During this 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.

Long overdue 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.

carpeting classroom in preparation for pre-seminary








women's retreat

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.

The Sisters 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.

A surprising 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 October 4.

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.

Throughout 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.

Mr. Murdoch 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.

Mr Murdoch's Funeral

The Seminary 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 October 21.

Requiem for Mr Ghela

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.

Mike Walmsley working on cottage


The annual 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.

Mass on the feast of the Holy Cross

The District 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.

Procession for the feast of the Holy Cross

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.

conference for the feast of the Holy Cross

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.

Statue of Our Lady for the procession

The procession 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.

Procession for the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

However, this 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.

boys' team
cassock team

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.

Fr. Scott playing soccer

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 Retreats.

Brother Bernadine renews his vows


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 the Seminary.

Father Scott 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.

Farewell to Fr. Daniels

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Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn, Australia