1st was the day sent for the celebration of the completion of the
studies and formation of the Seminarians who were finishing
here at Holy Cross Seminary. It was the first class to have completed
the entire four year program, having started in February 2003. They
were six in number, two each from the U.S. and Malaysia, and one
from Canada and one from Australia. Three of them had been here
for the full four year program, two for three years, and one for
two years. The award for top of the class, or Valedictorian, was
given to Thomas Nienaber from Kansas City, Missouri. A Sung High
Mass of Thanksgiving in honor of the Sacred Heart was celebrated
in the evening, followed by a dinner reception, attended by the
boys and the families of three of them, some of whom had come from
as far away as Canada and the U.S. to be present. Many of the Seminary’s
parishioners, who had gotten to know them quite well over the years,
also came for the ceremony. All the graduating Seminarians
gave speeches in which they expressed their gratitude for the formation
final year Seminarians
after serving the Mass of thanksgiving on December 1
Mr. Thomas Nienaber,
from Kansas City.
of our Seminarians trying out a paddle boat
that they had made themselves in woodwork class
in the lesser subjects for the Major Seminarians began the following
day, December 2, with Pastoral Theology. Sacred Scripture, Patrology,
History, Liturgy, Latin and Canon Law were to follow in the week
to come. The last classes for the theologians and for the
Seminarians were on December 7, for the other Major Seminarians
on December 11.
Feast of the Immaculate Conception, is always an important feast
in the Society of Saint Pius X. For it is on that day that our members
make their engagements and renew them. These are the canonical bond
of obedience and chastity that bind the member of the Society to
the service of Holy Mother Church. During the Solemn High Mass here
at the Seminary one second year seminarian, Mr. Dylan Hennessy from
South Africa, made them for the first time. Older seminarians renewed
their for either one or three years, the rule being that it is only
after the subdiaconate that the seminarian can bind himself by engagements
of three years, and that it is only after priestly ordination and
nine years of engagements, and after a special invitation from the
Superior General that a member can engage himself for life.
After the Mass,
the customary community hike and excursion for the end of the year
took place. It was to the Shoalhaven river. After the hike and lunch,
the Seminarians took to the water for a game of water polo, in which
the Major Seminarians, under the direction of Father Bourmaud, clearly
outplayed and beat the Seminarians.
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
Seminarians also completed their last examination in religion
on December 15, a three hour written essay and short answer paper
on the priestly and religious life, the vows, the sacrament of matrimony,
its ceremonies and impediments, and the virtue of justice. They
left the next day to be home with their families in preparation
21 & 22 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 of 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.
Williamson with the three new priests:
Frs. Lavin, Johnson and Curtis
Christmas was celebrated with the usual solemnity, with the singing
of the office of First Vespers, Compline, Matins, followed by the
Midnight Mass celebrated by Father Gaudray. It was followed by the
office of Lauds, and an early morning reveillon to celebrate
the birth of the Infant Savior until 3:30 a.m. Later that morning
was the celebration of a second Solemn High Mass, this time by the
Rector, and Second Vespers and Benediction.
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. Women also
helped with the daunting prospect of cleaning the Seminary and washing
sheets in preparation for the upcoming retreats.
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
of the wood stove
in the bungalow apartment
Installation of a new electricity board
in Sacred Heart wing
began with the collection of the treasure sheets of the Rosary Crusade
requested by the Superior General for the return of Rome and the
Sovereign Pontiff to Tradition. Holy Cross Seminary collected a
total of 21, 322 Rosaries towards the one million sought by the
Day was not only a holy day of obligation, but also the day for
a community hike. After an early Solemn High Mass left for a long
hike along a dam near Queanbeyan, finishing with a picnic. The rock
formation making a bridge over a gorge, nicknamed “London
Bridge” was quite an attraction.
Over the weekend
of November 10 – 12 a group of 14 Seminarians took off
with Father Pfluger and Brother Joseph to Nowra for a weekend camp,
to break up the term after particularly intense examinations. A
couple of weeks later a couple of them took a break in Bateman’s
Bay, and then on Friday 24, the finishing Seminarians completed
their final exam. They spent the following week on break in Mildura,
returning for the ceremony for the celebration of the completion
of their four year period of studies and formation.
all returned from their break on Saturday September 30, just in
time to participate in the solemnity of Our Lady of the Rosary,
celebrated this year on Sunday October 1. It was followed two days
later (October 3) by another great solemnity, the feast of St. Therese
of the Child Jesus, who is a secondary patron, and celebrated as
first class in Australia, on account of her patronage of the missions.
were celebrated during the second week of October. On Monday 9th
it was Mrs. Caroline Murdoch who shared her 70th birthday with us.
She is a great help, doing the washing and ironing of our altar
linens. The following day it was Father Bourmaud’s birthday
that we celebrated, delighted as we are to see him entirely recovered
from his surgery and back to his feisty self.
Work in recent
weeks has advanced slowly due to lack of funds. It has mainly consisted
in regular maintenance, and in the painting of the storage sacristy.
Then on Thursday October 12, new carpet was laid in the now completed
room, so that movable items and vestments could be brought back
to their storage facility, in addition to the large cabinets recently
the work of remodeling of the second teachers’ house on the
property has advanced considerably. The exterior siding is basically
finished, as well as the interior tiling in the entirely remodeled
bathroom. Some plastering and painting remain to be done.
On the feast
of Christ the King, Sunday October 29, the Seminary schola accompanied
by Father Pfluger assisted at the public procession of the Blessed
Sacrament in Rockdale, leaving to the schola of Seminarians
the responsibility of singing the High Mass at the Seminary.
The next day,
Monday October 30, was both sad and happy. It was sad for it was
the farewell to a great friend of the Seminary and of its priests,
but also happy since he died a holy and well provided for death,
the kind that we all pray for, strengthened by the Church’s
prayers and sacraments. It was the day of the funeral of Mr. Ted
Calnan from Albury, who had for many years been the backbone behind
the Society’s chapel in Albury, that then became Our Lady
of Fatima church. The funeral was celebrated at the church in Albury,
and then at 4:15 p.m. the entire Seminary community met the convoy
of vehicles that had arrived from Albury and participated in the
ceremony of his burial in the Seminary cemetery.
with the celebration of the feast of our holy patron, Saint Pius
X, on Sunday 3rd. The next few days were spent by the Seminarians
in preparation for a trip to Child Jesus and St. Joseph church in
Rockdale. There on Sunday 10th, after the High Mass, they performed
for the second time, 1½ acts from Macbeth, this time with
the advantage of a real stage, and with the experience of a second
weekend was our annual family weekend. Parishioners came from Rockdale,
Singleton and Victoria to assist at the variety of activities that
were organized on Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th. The High Mass
on Saturday, Solemnity of Our Lady of Sorrows, was preceded by a
long procession in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, along with
a renewal of the consecration of the Seminary to the Immaculate
Heart of Mary, first performed four years ago. All our visitors
stayed for lunch, after which they were able to assist at a conference,
with slide presentation by our newly ordained Swiss professor, Father
Christoph Pfluger, on St. Nicholas of Flue, father of his homeland,
and also on the work of Tradition in Switzerland.
day, Solemnity of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Father Ortiz
celebrated the Solemn High Mass that followed the procession with
the relic of the True Cross around the Seminary. An enjoyable barbecue
and picnic followed, and then the three soccer games, at which the
Seminarians, Major Seminarians and visitors (Secular Saints,
they call themselves) played it off for more than three hours until
after 5:00 p.m. The exhausted seminarians were then free to leave
for their two week vacation break.
During the last
two weeks of September two retreats were preached here at the Seminary.
The first was an Ignatian retreat, preached by the Rector, assisted
by Father Ortiz, to a total of 17 ladies. The second was a retreat
for the four religious sisters of the Society of Saint Pius X from
Rockdale. Father Laisney came from Wanganui, New Zealand to preach
this second retreat.
exam period for the seminarians came to an end on Friday August
11, after exams in Dogma I & II & Moral Theology for the
theologians, and in Cosmology, Metaphysics and Apologetics for the
philosophers. A three day retreat followed, preached by Father Karl
Pepping, who flew up from Corpus Christi in Tynong especially for
the occasion. The seminarians were all very grateful for these three
days of prayer and meditation Saturday August 12, Sunday August
13 and Monday August 14. It was certainly a very apt preparation
for the ceremonies of Tuesday August 15, feast of the Assumption
of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven.
On that day,
indeed, a joint ceremony took place. The one first year seminarian,
Mr. Benedict Gill, took the cassock, and the one brother postulant,
Mr. Michael Murnane, took the habit and the name in religion of
Brother John. The ceremony was a moving one as they left the chapel
in lay clothes with their newly blessed habits over their arms,
and returning fully clothed as a religious or seminarian in collar,
cassock and cincture. Brother John also pronounced an oblation,
promising to live the life of a Society brother during the time
of his novitiate, which started on that very day. He also received
a crucifix, “sign of the Passion” as a “defense
against adversity and everlasting standard of victory”.
August 15 Brother Postulant, Mr. Michael Murnane, on the
and seminarian Benedict Gill on the right, enter into the
each with his habit to be blessed folded over his left arm.
Murnane, who has now received the name in religion of Brother
John, after taking the habit and promising to observe the
rule during the year of the novitiate, receives a crucifix
from the Rector.
This lengthy ceremony was well attended with faithful coming from
Melbourne, Sydney and Tynong, and Father Black, the District Superior,
in attendance, along with Fathers Pepping and Robinson. All the
faithful were then invited to lunch with the community in the Refectory,
as a celebration. After the lunch came some dramatic entertainment,
in the form of a skit, a music performance of flute and guitar,
and finally the production of a large section of Shakespeare’s
play Macbeth by the seminarians. All enjoyed greatly the production,
that had been well prepared over many months.
the ceremony on August 15. Brother John is to the right and
Mr. Gill to the left,
along with the ministers for the ceremony.
The following day, Wednesday August 16, was set aside for a community
hike and barbecue, as is customary as brief mid-year interlude after
the taking of the cassock. The whole community hiked from Araluen
to Majors Creek, where the barbecue was followed by either Australian
Rules football or soccer, according to one’s taste.
the self-contained apartment for a staff member at the rear of the
workshop has been brought nearly to completion, and will soon be
ready for occupation. After receiving new kitchen cabinets, and
a new door to the outside, the entire apartment, formerly in deplorable
condition, is now pretty much remodeled – and waiting for
a generous volunteer to occupy it. The other area of work has been
the storage sacristy. After assembly of the new sacristy cabinets,
it was necessary to hang a new door to the outside, redo the skirting
boards, scrape, sand and paint the ceiling and walls. This job is
Mr. Pekolj completes some finish work in the kitchen
of the newly furbished bungalow apartment.
We were also happy that the electricians finally arrived to place
new electrical wiring from the main board to the various sub-boards
throughout the building. Further large sections of wiring will also
have to be replaced in the near future, but at least we now have
a good connection to the main electrical supply, that we will not
On August 24,
St. Bartholomew’s day, Father Bourmaud was admitted to hospital
for an elective cholecystectomy. As a consequence he was not able
to give classes for a week – to the seminarians’ disappointment.
view of all the new members of the Archconfraternity of St.
Stephen after the ceremony of reception, together with the
Rector and ministers on the feast of St. Pius X on the Seminary
It was with
a Solemn High Mass for the feast of the Precious Blood that the
month began, followed by catching up on last minute assignments
for Major Seminarians, the last examinations for Seminarians,
and then a general clean up. It was on this day that, in Germany,
Reverend Christoph Pfluger was ordained to the Holy Priesthood at
Sacred Heart Seminary in Zaitkofen. After the Sunday High Mass,
there was a rapid exodus from the Seminary, starting with the Rector,
who had to run to catch his airplane for the Society’s General
Chapter in Switzerland.
Outdoor Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
alongside the Cathedral of Saints
Peter & Paul, Goulburn.
the third order Carmelites were already arriving for their annual
retreat, which started that very night. Father Vachon from Tynong
preached to 23 Carmelites. After a two day break the next vacation
retreat began. It was a 5 day Ignatian retreat for 21 men, preached
by Fathers Bourmaud and Ortiz. Then on Sunday July 16 came the celebration
by the Seminary and its parishioners, of Father Bourmaud’s
25th anniversary of ordination.
On the night
of Monday July 17 the Rector returned from a most successful General
Chapter of the Society of Saint Pius X in Ecône. He was most
happy to report to the seminarians the great unity and harmony that
existed amongst the Fathers, and the support for our Superior General,
who was re-elected for a second term of 12 years. He was also happy
to read the unanimously agreed upon Declaration of the General Chapter,
confirming the firmness of the Society’s position and its
determination to do all in its power to bring Rome back to Tradition.
the seminarians returned then they had to get ready for their semester
examinations, the Minor Examinations starting on Friday July 28,
being for Liturgy, Latin, Pastoral Theology, Canon Law, Sacred Scripture
and Church History. Meanwhile Father Christoph Pfluger returned
on Friday July 28, much to the delight of the entire community.
He will be continuing his classes in Cosmology, Psychology, Patrology
and Latin, classes that he had to give up during the seven weeks
of his departure in Europe for ordination.
On Sunday July
30, Father Pfluger celebrated a First Solemn High Mass at the Seminary,
the Rector assisting him at the altar. All were able to receive
his first blessing, and the plenary indulgence. The Seminary then
held a pleasant lunch celebration attended by most of the parishioners,
followed afterwards by a slide presentation on the events of his
ordination and First Solemn Mass in Oensingen, Switzerland.
The month started
with some most welcome rain. It rained steadily over two days, dropping
nearly two inches on the parched ground, that had not seen in good
rains since January. Soon, despite the cold, a little greening of
the pastures could be seen.
June 3, our butcher arrived, and quickly slaughtered two of our
steers, cutting them into quarters and hanging them with the help
of the seminarians. He returned the following Saturday to slaughter
another and to cut up the excellent beef to be stored in our freezer.
community all gathered together in St. Ignatius Hall
On Monday June 5, Reverend Christoph Pfluger flew off for Switzerland.
He is a deacon from Switzerland who has been teaching here at the
Seminary since February. He is returning to Sacred Heart Seminary
in Zaitzkofen, Switzerland, to be ordained to the Holy Priesthood,
and will return at the end of July for a First Solemn High Mass
(July 30) to become the fourth priest on the faculty of Holy Cross
15, feast of Corpus Christi, was an important day for Holy Cross
Seminary. For the first time the Seminary organized a public procession
of the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of Goulburn. It was
a cold day for an outdoor Solemn High Mass (Max. 6 C), but the Mass
was celebrated by the Rector in the yard of parishioner, Mr. Noel
Mosen. This was followed by a procession along the second major
street (Bourke Street) to the Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul.
Since we were refused permission to celebrate Benediction of the
Blessed Sacrament inside the Cathedral, it was instead celebrated
in the neighboring courtyard. This profession of Faith in the Real
Presence, source of true, abiding, divine Life, was well received
by the community at large, attracting articles in the local newspaper.
The procession was followed by a picnic lunch in a Goulburn park
new pews in the chapel, with the community reciting the office
view of the new pews in the Seminary chapel
22 was the day chosen for the celebration by the faculty of the
25th anniversary of the priestly ordination of Father Dominique
Bourmaud, on June 29, 1981. Father then left the following Monday
for Europe, for the reunion of his class of ordination at Ecône
for the annual ordinations of June 29.
The week from
Monday June 26 – Saturday July 1 was an intense one for the
Minor Seminarians. It was exam week for the end of the first Semester
(& second quarter). There were no classes, but exams morning
and afternoon all week long. The feast of Saints Peter & Paul,
June 29, was a welcome break, since there were neither classes nor
exams that day, but instead Solemn High Mass & Vespers, and
a little free time. A little celebration with hot chocolate, peanut
butter cookies and card games on Friday night, June 30, was a pleasant
close to the Semester for them.
decided to leave us at the end of the Semester, Christian Warella
from Jakarta, who has been with us for a year and a half, and Isaac
Shaarkey from Wanganui. However, on Saturday June 24, we received
a new visitor who plans to stay and become a Pre-Seminarian, Mr.
27 was a welcome day, for that morning a truck delivered some 12
tons of pitch black coal. Its high heat value makes it excellent
for maintaining our boilers for the heating of the buildings, and
in particular the main building. It is mixed with the wood that
the seminarians go in search of every Wednesday, and which they
cut, split and carry themselves.
on several fronts during the month of May. The breezeway connecting
the St. Joseph House with the school building was constructed and
the concrete floor poured, making it possible for the Seminarians
to pass under cover to the classes and to the main Seminary building.
The boiler installation for the St. Joseph House was completed and
the boiler started up, for the coziness of the Seminarians.
Also, the plumber spent more than two weeks installing the radiators,
and copper piping for the heating of the school wing, the whole
rather large project, heating four school rooms and the library
being completed right at the very end of May. Needless to say, it
was immediately set into action, working off the same boiler as
the heat for St. Joseph House.
A 30 year old
60 h.p. tractor was purchased with the trade-in of our much older
and non-functional tractor. Mr. Elliott has taken responsibility
for its use for various projects on the farm.
Mr. Tony Pekolj continued his work remodeling the apartment at the
rear of one of our work sheds, that will soon be a self-contained
unit for one of our employees. At the same time, Mr. Jeff Madsen
keep working on the remodeling of the cottage. Brother Joseph has
had great difficulty with the hot water services, being plugged
up by many years use without cleaning. He has serviced and cleansed
them now, replacing the element in each one.
month also, four of our Seminarians sat their IGCSE Math examination,
six months early. They have already begun work on their A levels.
month two of our Seminarians decided to leave, realizing that
they had come to the limit of their academic possibilities. However,
we received on May 23 a new Seminarian in the person of Nathan
Farrow from Phoenix, Arizona. It was quite a climatic shock for
him, given that the Rogation procession at 6:30 that morning had
been done in a thick frost, at a temperature of –8 C. On May
24, we celebrated the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, patronal
feast of Australia, with Solemn High Mass and Solemn 1st & 2nd
Vespers. Then the next day we celebrated the feast of Ascension
Thursday. After the Solemn High Mass we had a community hike at
the Bungonia State Park. All were suitably exhausted by the formidable
With the beginning
of Passiontide, the Seminary was a hive of activity. The week starting
April 3, three electricians were here to complete the wiring to
our outdoor sheds and to erect a large flood light that will enable
the seminarians to play basketball after dark (i.e. during the evening
recreation), a construction team of three men was here also to replace
a leaking roof over the chapel of Our Lady and repair the sagging
roof structure. They also took care of the interior lining of the
new boiler room. During Holy Week they also began construction of
a covered walkway that will connect the St. Joseph House with the
classroom building and the rest of the Seminary.
Nigel Lim in the Seminary hair cutting "Saloon",
cutting a fellow seminarian's hair.
the plumber was in the process of installing the new wood boiler,
along with copper pipes, radiators and connections to all the classrooms
that are presently being used by the Seminarians in the school
building. This will save greatly on the cost of electrical heating.
At the same time, the Rockdale parishioner, Mr. Liam Cadogan, a
cabinet maker, continued the construction of the extensive new work
benches in the science classroom. Meanwhile, Mr. Jeff Madsen continued
his three month long project of entirely remodeling the second house
on the Seminary property that is available for the use of staff.
At the same Mr. Tony Pekolj was working on repairing down pipes
and down spouts on various roofs of the property.
seminarian and MC, Mr. Ben Campbell withdraws the lone candle back
from behind its cover
on the altar at the thunder of the earthquake at the end of the
office of Tenebrae.
At the beginning of Holy Week the Seminary had a most welcome visit,
Father Joseph Dreher, Vice-Rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary
in Winona, MN, U.S.A. He arrived on Sunday April 9, staying until
Tuesday 11, during which time he was able to give the Seminarians
a spiritual conference.
There were no
classes during the Holy Triduum, and the Seminary was alive with
the activities of preparation for the chants and ceremonies. However,
study halls continued, and the Seminarians had their final
test of the First Quarter on Good Friday – in religion.
The High Mass
on Easter Sunday was the beginning of a well merited break. The
Seminarians had two weeks off, returning on Saturday April
29. The Majors had a two-day break before returning to their classes
on Wednesday April 19. During that break Father Bourmaud led many
of them on an exhausting hike through the “Grand Canyon”
in the Blue Mountains.
up of Reverend Curtis reading at table at lunchtime.
Joseph had a bonanza find. It was at the former Columban Fathers
Seminary in Sydney. They were selling off all their furnishings
before the destruction of the Seminary building. Holy Cross was
able to purchase a full set of pews for the nave of the Seminary
chapel, almost made to size. It was also able to purchase three
large (4 meter long) vestment chests, four large tables for the
rectory, around 20 chairs, bookshelves, desks and a variety of other
items. The whole took three entirely full truck loads to bring down,
which Brother Joseph took charge of on April 18, 19 & 20, with
the help of many volunteers, taking apart, loading and unloading.
Monday April 24, two volunteers helped install the new items. Mr.
Liam Cadogan took charge of cutting down the six pews that needed
to be cut down in size, and had it all finished by the end of the
week, the kneelers as well as the seats.
At the same
time, Mr. Joseph Van Strijp, an experienced carpenter, generous
volunteered his help to spend a few weeks helping out at athe Seminary.
During the first week he installed two of the large vestments chests
in our vesting sacristy, along with a large hanging closet for copes
and albs that had also been brought down from the Columban seminary.
Schmidberger, First Assistant of the Society of Saint Pius X, arrived
on Monday April 24 for a three-day canonical visit of Holy Cross
Seminary. During that time, he gave a series of spiritual conferences
to the seminarians, and saw all of them individually. It was a great
encouragement for all the community members to have such a visit
from General Headquarters, outlining the firm principles of our
efforts to restore all things in Christ. Father Schmidberger returned
to Sydney on Thursday April 27, and then the Seminarians started
returning from their two-week break during the day of Saturday April
29, bringing the Seminary back to its full complement.
It was with
Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent that this month began. The
return of Father Bourmaud on the eve was most welcome, not only
because of the assistance to the Rector, but also on account of
his help in singing the ceremonies of the blessing of the ashes
and the Mass of Ash Wednesday. Father Ortiz returned likewise on
Saturday March 4, thus once again completing the Seminary faculty.
Also on Saturday March 4 arrived a new seminarian from England by
the name of Benedict Gill, who has been teaching in St. Michael’s
School in Highclere, and who has decided to try his vocation. After
extensive testing he was accepted into First Year, as the sole student
of the Year of Spirituality for this school year.
schola was also active with the beginning of the month, singing
the Masses for First Friday and First Saturday, for the First Sunday
of Lent and for the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas on March 7. The
first official community hike for the year took place on Wednesday
March 8. There were no classes and instead a pleasant hike along
the Shoalhaven river on the hills above Tarago, followed by lunch
and games. It was a welcome break for the Latin students, as well
as for the Seminarians, the priests and the brothers.
Latin session finished on Friday March 10 for the five students
who had attended it – three Redemptorists and two of our own
seminarians, one entering into second year, and the other entering
into fourth year. The other Major Seminarians all returned on Saturday
March 11, making up a number of 14 total, evenly spread over the
six years: three in sixth year, one in fifth year, three in fourth
year, three in third year, three in second year and one in first
year, that is seven theologians, six philosophers and one in spirituality.
day, Sunday March 12, the six day retreat for the beginning of the
school year began, preached this time by the Rector. His focus was
the meditation on the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
central as it is to the spirituality of Archbishop Lefebvre, as
found in his books Spiritual Journey and The Mystery of Jesus. It
is hoped that this initiation into the mystery of Christ will make
for a truly Christocentric year.
Then on Sunday
March 19 arrived a new addition to the Seminary community, Mr. James
Kimani Ngaruro from Kenya. He will be spending a year of preparation
as a pre-seminarian before entering into first year, bringing up
to three the number of pre-seminarians at Holy Cross.
Classes for the Major Seminarians began on Monday March 20, feast
of St. Joseph. Reverend Pfluger, a deacon from Switzerland, is presently
relieving the burden of the other three Seminary professors by teaching
the classes of Cosmology and Patrology, as well as some classes
has at the same time been directing some busy construction activities.
After completing the roof of the boiler room for the St. Joseph
House, our contractors prepared the floor for the new cemetery chapel,
and poured the cement. They also sided exteriorly and repaired interiorly
a work shed behind the St. Joseph House, a part of which is being
converted into accommodation for a worker or staff member, with
its own bathroom and kitchen already installed. They have been also
busy pouring cement and repairing the verandah on one of the teacher’s
houses, for which we also had to install a new septic system, at
quite some expense. Renderers also did concrete rendering on the
inside and outside of the boiler room, and on March 29 work began
on installing the new wood boiler and connecting pipes to the
seminarians’ classrooms and installing radiators. The same
boiler will be used alternatively for the St. Joseph House or for
the wing of classrooms used by the seminarians.
Ignatian retreat ended on Saturday February 4 with a rapid departure
for the airport as soon as the final Benediction finished, to make
airplane flights. At the same time the Seminarians began arriving,
being due in that same evening for the beginning of their academic
It was a gratifying
return from summer break. All but two of last year’s
Seminarians returned, these two having decided not to continue their
studies any longer. In addition to the fifteen returning from last
year we received thirteen new candidates for the spiritual formation
we offer, bringing to a present total of 28, two pre-seminarians
and 26 Seminarians. 11 of these are studying at the A level,
and 17 at the IGCSE level. 7 of those studying at A level are in
the second year of the program and hope to finish and graduate at
the end of the year. Of these 28, 13 are from Australia, a marked
increase compared with previous years, 6 are from the U.S., three
each from Canada and Malaysia and one each from the Philippines,
Indonesia and Ireland.
5 in the afternoon all the boys went off to the Shoalhaven river,
to enjoy the isolated swimming hole that the seminarians like to
visit. The Rector preached a day of recollection to all these students
the next day, Monday February 6, assisted by Deacon Reverend Christoph
Pfluger, who has recently come from Switzerland to help out in the
Seminary. The next day, Tuesday February 7, classes began in earnest.
schola sung its first Mass of the year on Septuagesima Sunday, and
its second on Sexagesima Sunday, with a notable improvement. This
Sunday February 19 was also the day for the first community hike
for the year. The Mass was celebrated early in the morning, since
the Rector had also to celebrate the Mass in Canberra, and then
the entire community headed off for Mungo National Forest for a
hike and barbecue, returning for Vespers in the afternoon.
That same Sunday
February 19, three Redemptorist Brothers arrived from Papa Stronsay
monastery in Scotland, Brother Magdala who had done his first year
of Philosophy at the Seminary in 2005 and will now be studying his
second year of Philosophy, and Brother Ivan from Belgium and Brother
Francisco from Singapore, who will be starting their first year
of Philosophy. They came early for an intensive Latin program of
three weeks together with two other of our seminarians. This program,
taught by the Rector, Mr. O’Shea and Mr. McDonnell started
the following day, February 20.
schola was active again on February 22 and February 24, singing
the High Masses for the feasts of the Chair of St. Peter and St.
Matthias, as well as the Mass for Quinquagesima Sunday. The improvement
of the month of February was quite marked, and Reverend Pfluger,
their schola director, is to be congratulated for it as well as
the Seminarians themselves.
Mr. Jeff Madsen, has been working hard on remodeling the second
of the accommodation houses on the Seminary properties, that it
might become a suitable hostel for visitors to the Seminary. After
removing some dilapidated exterior structures and porches, and entirely
removing the bathroom, he has begun putting it all together, including
new plumbing, new windows, new siding and some new fixtures.
22 men arrived
at the Seminary for the 5 day Ignatian retreat that followed the
excitement of the ordination ceremonies. The retreat started on
Monday January 2, going until the following Saturday, and was preached
by Fathers Ortiz and Bourmaud. Then on Saturday January 7, Father
Bourmaud took off with several seminarians to direct a camp for
boys in the region of Bright, Victoria. 21 boys, mainly parishioners
from Tynong, attended the camp, that lasted until the following
Friday. The hot weather and demanding activities exhausted everybody,
but they all learned a little more of the spirit of sacrifice and
love of the Mass.
was immediately followed by another 5 day Ignatian retreat, from
January 9 -14, followed this time by 15 women and preached by Father
Scott and Reverend Michael Lavin, one of the newly ordained deacons.
It was immediately followed by a third retreat, from January 16
– 21, this time followed by 21 men, and preached by Father
Ortiz, assisted by Reverend Christopher Curtis.
It was during
this retreat, on Friday January 20, that we learned the shocking
and surprising news that three of our four Indian seminarians had
left to go back to the Novus Ordo diocese of Bombay, under the Cardinal
Dias, whose scandalous ecumenical activities with Hindus they had
so openly opposed. It was sad indeed to learn that they had been
planning and arranging this for months, while at the same time saying
nothing, and in fact renewing their engagements as members of the
Society and receiving minor orders, as recently as January 26.
the series of retreats, Father Leo Boyle, an Irishman presently
Prior at the Society’s retreat house in Bristol, England,
was invited here by Father Black to preach the annual priests’
retreat, that started on Monday January 23, followed by 12 priests.
The final retreat of the summer was a five day Ignatian retreat
for women, which started on Monday January 30, and was attended
by 19 ladies and preached by Father Scott, assisted by deacon Reverend
Index of Seminary events
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