Holy Cross Seminary

Recent Events


Friday December 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 received.

Minor Seminarians  
Minor Seminarian Valedictorian
The final year Seminarians
after serving the Mass of thanksgiving on December 1

Seminarian Valedictorian,
Mr. Thomas Nienaber,
from Kansas City.

paddling home-made boat
Two of our Seminarians trying out a paddle boat
that they had made themselves in woodwork class

Examinations 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.

December 8, 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 year.

Meanwhile the 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 for Christmas.

On December 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.

Fr Dolotina Touching Chalice & Paten

Bishop 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, Victoria.

The faithful 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

Installation of the wood stove  
Installation of a new electricity board
Installation of the wood stove
in the bungalow apartment

Installation of a new electricity board
in Sacred Heart wing


This month 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 Society.

All Saints’ 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.


The seminarians 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.

Two birthdays 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 permanently installed.

Meanwhile, 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.


September began 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 performance.

The following 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.

The following 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.


The mid-year 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”.

postulant and seminarian walking with habit over arm  
Brother receives a crucifix

On August 15 Brother Postulant, Mr. Michael Murnane, on the left,
and seminarian Benedict Gill on the right, enter into the chapel,
each with his habit to be blessed folded over his left arm.

Mr. 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.

After 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.

Meanwhile, 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 presently ongoing.

installing kitchen cabinets

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 lose.

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.

A 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 steps.

JULY 2006

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.

Meanwhile, 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.

Hardly had 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.

JUNE 2006

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.

On Saturday 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.

The 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 Seminary.

Thursday June 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 (Victoria Park).

The new pews in the chapel, with the community reciting the office
Another view of the new pews in the Seminary chapel

Thursday June 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.

Two Seminarians 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. Ryan Lister.

Tuesday June 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.

MAY 2006

Work continued 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.

Meanwhile, 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.

During this month also, four of our Seminarians sat their IGCSE Math examination, six months early. They have already begun work on their A levels.

During this 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 “red track”.

APRIL 2006

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.

seminarian haircut  
The new boiler

Seminarian Nigel Lim in the Seminary hair cutting "Saloon",
cutting a fellow seminarian's hair.

The new boiler

In addition 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 at the altar

American 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.

lunchtime reading

Close up of Reverend Curtis reading at table at lunchtime.

Meanwhile, Brother 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.

Then starting 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.

Father Franz 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.

MARCH 2006

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.

The Seminarians’ 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.

The intensive 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.

The following 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 in Latin.

Brother Joseph 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.


The ladies’ 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 year.

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.

Sunday February 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.

The Seminary 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.

The Seminarians’ 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.

Meanwhile, volunteer 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.

This retreat 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.

To continue 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 Christopher Curtis.

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Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn, Australia