Holy Cross Seminary

Recent Events


In the Seminary the minor subjects of lesser importance are tested before the major subjects. The Minor Examinations, consequently take place during the last week of classes. After a three day period of intense study and revision, then come the Major Examinations, of the principal subjects, that are accompanied by an Oral Examination. The lesser subjects are Liturgy, Sacred Scripture, Church History, Canon Law and Latin for the seminarians in the lower years who have not yet completed the full cursus of Latin. These examinations started on Monday December 3 with Liturgy. The examination concerned all the determinations, rules and practices of the Roman Ritual for the administration of Baptism.

Saturday December 8 was a great day in the Seminary, as everywhere in the Society of Saint Pius X. For on this day, the seminarians renew their engagements as members of the Society. These engagement are made at first for one year at a time, then for three years once they are sub deacons, hoping to eventually bind themselves to the Society for life. This year one seminarian made his first engagement, Mr. Benedict Gill from London, England, who is in his second year at the Seminary.

The following week was taken up by the Major Examinations, in Logic, Ethics and Apologetics for the Philosophers, and in Dogmatic and Moral Theology for the Theologians. Then on Thursday 13th nine of our seminarians began the 10 day exercices of St. Ignatius. The five first year seminarians combined with the four pre-seminarians followed this retreat here at the Seminary, preached by Fathers Ortiz and Bourmaud. Then on Monday December 17 our future priest and three future deacons left for their retreat with Father Edward Black, District Superior, who kindly agreed to preach it. It was held at an isolated little retreat house in Marlo, Victoria. Later that same day our Superior General, His Lordship Bishop Bernard Fellay, arrived for his annual visit of the Seminary. Later that week a third retreat took place, from Thursday 20 - Saturday 22, for the five ordinands to Minor Orders.

Everything was then set for the great week of Christmas. On the Vigil Bishop Fellay celebrated a Pontifical High Mass of ordination at which the tonsure was administered to Mr. Gill, the Minor Orders of Porter and Lector to Mr. Hennessy, and the Minor Orders of Exorcist and Acolyte to Mr. Todd Stephens, as well as to Brothers Yousef and Jean-Marie, C.Ss.R. The Seminary then had the pleasure of Bishop Fellay’s presence for the solemnities of the Christmas Vigil and day. Wednesday 26th was the day of the administration of the sacrament to Confirmation to 10 persons, half of them adults and converts. A reception in honor of the Bishop followed the ceremony of Confirmation and Pontifical Low Mass.

However, the big day for the Seminary was the ordination ceremony of Thursday 27th, so important for the life of the Church. Reverend Father Jean-Baptiste Claret was ordained to the Holy Priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, with 15 priests present imposing their hands along with the bishop. The ceremony was attended by around 250 faithful from all over Australia, including West Australia, South Australia, Queensland and of course Victoria and New South Wales. Father Claret spent the first three years of his formation at the Society’s mother house in Econe, being transferred to Holy Cross Seminary for his three years of Theology.

Along with Father Claret, three sub deacons were ordained to the diaconate: - Reverend Gregory Noronha from Bombay, India, Reverend Jordie Stephens from Melbourne, Australia and Reverend Ben Campbell from Orlando, Florida, USA. They have completed five of the years of formation for the priesthood and have one more to go.

Although the attendance was somewhat diminished this year, there was nevertheless a great enthusiasm for this celebration of the true priesthood, center of the life of the Church, following Bishop Fellay’s moving sermon. The faithful all stayed to receive the new priest’s blessing and also for the luncheon celebration, but then that afternoon we had to farewell Bishop Fellay, our spiritual father, as he headed for Perth and back to the General House in Switzerland.

Friday 28th was the day for the First Solemn High Mass of Father Jean-Baptiste Claret. It was also celebrated in the large tent erected for the occasion. Father Jean-Baptiste Claret was assisted at the altar by his brother, Father Antoine Claret, also a priest of the Society of Saint Pius X. He had come over from France for the occasion, together with his mother and sisters. The polyphonic Mass was sung by a mixed choir from the chapels of Hampton and Tynong, Victoria.

Saturday 29th would normally have brought quiet back to the Seminary, but not quite yet. For around 30 of our friends and faithful came for the annual working bee, the men cutting up trees and wood for the winter, along with various other chores, and the women cleaning the Seminary buildings. Meanwhile the Seminarians rapidly evacuated the Seminary for their vacation, and Father Bourmaud headed north with a group of boys and seminarians for his Queensland summer camp. A second work day was also held on Monday 31st, day on which the first of the summer Ignatian retreats started.


November began with the celebration of the 37th anniversary of the foundation of the Society of Saint Pius X, All Saints’ Day. After an early Solemn High Mass the community headed out for an all day hike in the hills near Mittagong, the first of the third term. During the Mass two of the parishioners of the Seminary made their profession in the Third Order and a third began her postulancy. The Rector explained the importance of the sanctification of the laity through the Third Order for the work of the Society. After the Mass the children of the Seminary parish held a Saints’ party, dressing up as a variety of obscure saints, mostly Dominican, so as to fool the Rector. However, it was the presentation of the life and martyrdom of St. Cecilia that won the day.

On All Souls’ day and until November 8 there was a constant stream of seminarians visiting the cemetery to gain the plenary indulgence applicable to the poor souls in Purgatory. Meanwhile, as the month progressed, work began on the tombstones for Father Fox and Mr. Ted Calnan. Also the walls of the cemetery chapel rapidly advanced due to the work of our bricklayers.

The month of November was a good one for the Seminary farm. Four inches of rain spread out over the month was a great blessing, and the green growth is refreshing to see. The cattle have plenty to eat, and the seven calves that were born over the past three months are doing very well. Unfortunately, however, we lost a heifer.

Due to the initiative of Mr. Elliott, the Seminary acquired a 50 year old seeder, with which to sow the paddocks with crops and grass and improve the pasture. It is quite a sight from the past to see it being towed behind a 30 year old tractor. However, both work well, and give the seminarians the opportunity to learn some farming skills. The first crop to be sowed was the corn, the ground being fertilized with an abundant supply of smelly turkey manure, symbolic of the death to self that is necessary for new life to be born. The corn will serve as a summer and early autumn feed for the cattle.

new seeder
Unloading the new seeder at the Seminary.
It was immediately put into use to plant corn for the cattle.

During the month of November the entire exterior of the laundry wing was repainted, thus finishing off the new walkway joining it to the classroom wing. It greatly improves the rear aspect of the building.

replacing roof over the covered walkway
replacing roof over the covered verandah
Finishing off the ceiling to the covered walkway.
Finishing touches to the new colourbond roof over the walkway
along the laundry wing, and over to the classroom wing.

During the rest of the month, the seminarians were kept busy finishing off assignments, moral cases and preparing for the end of year examinations. However, Wednesday 28 was a day off for the final hike of the year, organized by Father Bourmaud. It was a bushwacking expedition along the banks of the Shoalhaven river, the seminarians having to make their own paths through the thickets and the brush. The river being unusually full of water, it was not possible to walk in its bed. Afterwards followed the sausage sizzler barbeque.


The month began with the return of the seminarians from the two week break that precedes the third and final term of the year. Then we had the feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus (Wed. 3rd), which is first class in Australia, and that of Our Lady of the Rosary the following Sunday.

The high point of this hardworking month was the feast of Christ the King. Seven of our seminarians journeyed to Child Jesus and St. Joseph in Rockdale to sing the Gregorian chants of the Mass in the Rockdale town hall, and to help with the public procession through the streets of Rockdale to the Society’s church. The rest of the community back at the Seminary, together with the faithful from the Seminary, also had a procession with the Blessed Sacrament around the Seminary buildings, followed by the Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

replacing roof over the covered verandah
felling of a large oak tree

Amongst the work projects for this month of October, was the repairing of the roof over the covered verandah walkway that stretches along the length of the laundry wing. It had been leaking and rusted out for many years. The roofing was entirely replaced, and in addition the covered walkway was extended to join up the main building with the school wing. After the construction was completed, their remain much work of waterproofing, and repainting, that is presently ongoing. Another project done during October was the felling of a large oak tree near the entrance to the Seminary. It still remains to be cut up for firewood, along with several other large trees on the Seminary property.


The Seminary celebrated the feast of our Society’s holy patron, Saint Pius X, with all the solemnity it could on Monday September 3rd. There were no classes, but instead the Solemn High Mass, some welcome recreation and the solemn celebration of the First and Second Vespers. Tests concluded at the end of the second term on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, September 14, which is the Seminary’s patronal feast.

The term ended with our sixth annual family weekend, attended by our own parishioners, as well as parishioners from the chapels in Rockdale, Singleton and Albury, N.S.W., and Hampton, Victoria. The Seminary chapel was quite crowded for all the events.

Saturday September 15 was the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Rector led the outdoor Rosary procession, terminating in the renewal of the Seminary’s consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He then celebrated the Solemn High Mass, preaching on the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Refectory was completed filled with all the Seminary’s guests for lunch. It was followed by a two hour powerpoint presentation by Mr. Gustavo Saborido, a traditional architect from Sydney, on the various styles of church architecture, with lots of examples. This was followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for all night adoration.

procession   procession across the field

Procession of Our Lady of September 15

faithful in procession across a big field   cows watch procession pass by

Our curious cattle followed the procession throughout and waited for us
to watch us as we went past, along with one of the newborn calves.

On Sunday September 16 the Seminary celebrated the solemnity of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. After leading a procession around the Seminary with the relic of the True Cross, Father Ortiz celebrated the Solemn High Mass. A barbecue picnic followed with the very competitive event of the annual soccer tournament. The visitors won (calling themselves the “Secular Saints”).

Priests, servers and faithful kneel before the seminary   soccer team
Renewal of the consecration of the Seminary
to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary
The winning team in the soccer tournament -
the "Secular Saints" - our visitors.

With the departure of the seminarians on vacation, the Seminary was available for three retreats. During the first week of the break, Fathers Pfluger and Curtis preached the Exercises of St. Ignatius to 27 ladies. The following the six sisters of the Society of Saint Pius X from Rockdale came down for their annual six day retreat, preaching by Father Benoit Wailliez, who flew down from Brisbane for the occasion. At the same time the Rector preached a Marian retreat to 33 ladies, following the method of St. Louis de Montfort in preparing for a renewal of their total consecration to Jesus through Mary.

However, the great event of the month of September was the Profession by Brother John of his first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a religious of the Society of Saint Pius X. He pronounced them just before the Offertory of the Mass on the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, September 29, after 2 ½ years of preparation. The Rector celebrating the Mass, assisted by Fathers Loschi (his parish priest) and Wailliez, received the vows on behalf of the Superior General. The Sisters sang the Mass and the ladies on the Marian retreat, including Brother’s mother, Mrs. Kathryn Murnane, all assisted.

The month ended with the return of the Seminarians from their two week vacation on the afternoon of September 29, ready to prepare for the Solemn High Mass of the 18th Sunday after Pentecost the following day.


The first ten days of the month were a time of intense study, first of all for the Minor Examinations, which finished on Thursday 2, whilst classes continued, and then with the Major Examinations from Wednesday 8 - Friday 10, feast of St. Lawrence. After the intense activity the seminarians appreciated a well merited spiritual refreshment in the form of a retreat, preached by Father Christoph Pfluger from August 12 - 14, in preparation for the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This greatest of Our Lady’s feasts is important for us not only because it is a holy day of obligation in Australia, but also because it is the day on which our first year seminarians receive the cassock. This year there were five seminarians to receive the cassock, from four different nations: Mr. Thomas Kuhn from New Zealand, Mr. Nino Nakila and Mr. Mark Lomod from the Philippines, Mr. James Ngaruro from Kenya and Mr. Arogya Sudha from India. During the High Mass their new cassocks were blessed, and as they left the chapel to put them on, the choir sang Ubi caritas from Holy Thursday. It was a great consolation for their fellow seminarians, as well as for the parishioners, to see them in the exterior habit that expresses their interior death to the world. The ceremony was followed by a lunch in the Refectory, to which the over 100 assistants from our faithful were invited to attend. This in turn was followed by some plays and musical performances put on by the seminarians.

The following day, Thursday August 16, was a day of relaxation, after the morning High Mass in honor of St. Joachim. The whole community took off on a hike through the Monga National Park near Braidwood, at the end of which we had a barbecue picnic, and the inevitable soccer game led by Father Bourmaud. Friday August 17 we were all back to class for the regular Seminary schedule.

Monday 27th and Wednesday 29th saw the addition of three members to our community. Three of our heifers had healthy bull calves, the first to be born here at the Seminary, much to the interest of the minor seminarians. Seven more will deliver in the coming weeks. We are hoping for some Spring rains to grow enough grass for this growing herd.

Meanwhile, the workers completed the remodeling of the Philosophy classroom, including repairs to woodwork and doors, trim and new wiring and power points, repairs to the ceiling plaster, and a complete repaint, and new carpet. At the same time, they completed the remodeling of a fourth seminarian cell, as well as replacing two hot water services that started leaking in a way that could not be repaired. Cutting of wood and cleaning up dead and fallen trees has also been quite an occupation.

Finally, after a long wait, work started again on the cemetery chapel. The steel frame was straightened, and now that the steel window frames have arrived, the brickwork has begun.

JULY 2007

It was with the feast of the Precious Blood of Our Divine Savior that the second term of the Seminary year began, classes recommencing on the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. During this month, we recited every day the Litany of the Precious Blood, recalling thereby the propitiatory character of the Redemption, in which Our Lord paid the price of our sins.

Given the cold season there were some extra chores to be done. Despite the rain, it has been too cold for the grass to grow, and so some seminarians have had to go and cut grass along the road side to feed the cattle. Also, seminarians and workers spent some profitable Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings cutting wood from a neighboring property, and splitting it for our furnaces.

Other jobs did not lack. Mr. Liam Cadogan spent this month working on the Philosophy classroom, repairing and restaining the doors, windows and wood trim. Newly constructed windows for the bishop’s room were also painted with several coats of stain before being reinserted. Electricians arrived on July 11 to complete a major and long awaited task. It was the replacement of five sub-boards governing the electrical supply in the bulk of the main building. The old boards were ancient and dangerous, the neutral wire in some cases having perished. It was a truly necessary job, two of our three phases of power having been lost in many parts of the building. However, this project alone cost in excess of $20,000. In addition, the main board will also have to be replaced in the near future.




On Sunday July 8, the good news of Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum arrived. The Seminary chanted a Te Deum of thanksgiving after Sunday Mass for this important victory in the Society’s battle for the return of the traditional Faith.

On Tuesday July 24, we were hit by sad news. A telephone call informed the Rector of the death of Father Patrick Fox, veteran traditional priest and one of the pioneers of the traditional movement in Australia. Just a few weeks short of his 92nd birthday, and after 67 ½ years of priesthood, he passed away rather suddenly due to a heart attack.

Fr Fox RIP


Father Fox was very close to the Seminary, having spent nearly two years in residence at the Seminary before returning back to his Vincentian community. In addition, he was a frequent visitor, coming for all important occasions, and being of great encouragement to the seminarians, especially by his love of community life and of the liturgy. He happily boasted that he had never celebrated the New Mass. After nearly 40 years of persecution, he lived just long enough to see his own vindication in the publishing of the Motu proprio admitting that the traditional Mass had never been revoked and that it had always been legitimate to celebrate it.

Fr Fox   Fr Fox



A Solemn High Requiem Mass was celebrated on Saturday July 28 by Father Michael Delsorte at Child Jesus and St. Joseph in Rockdale, assisted by Fathers Scott, Ortiz, MacDonald, & Elias of the Society of Saint Pius X, as well as other priest friends and several priests of his own Vincentian order, and around 300 faithful. The interment took place that afternoon at the cemetery of Holy Cross Seminary, celebrated by the Rector in the presence of the entire community and around 100 faithful. It was the second interment of the week at Holy Cross Seminary, Mrs. Jean Hernon having been buried on Thursday July 26.

The examination period in preparation for the mid-year exams started on Monday July 30, with the Liturgy exam, to be follow by the other minor exams during the last week of classes of the first semester.

JUNE 2007

This month the Seminary could not celebrate the Votive Masses of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts for the First Friday and First Saturday, on account of the Pentecost Octave. However, the seminarians did not forget to offer their Communions in reparation to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, as demanded by Heaven itself.

The highlight of the month was the feast of Corpus Christi, Thursday June 7. Mr. Liam Cadogan prepared it by constructing a fold-down portable altar, with legs and gradines, duly stained and protected against the weather, finishing just the day before the ceremony.

For the second time this year, the Seminary celebrated this solemn feast by an outdoor Mass in Goulburn, followed by a procession to the Old Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul. This year Father Bourmaud celebrated the Mass in Howard Park, in his homily explaining how the most glorious of French kings, Louis XIV, was but a shadow of the King of Kings, Our Divine Savior in the Holy Eucharist.

The procession that followed was offered up in reparation for the innumerable insults and offenses, forgetfulness and contempt of our Divine Lord’s Real Presence in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar. It passed through the business district of Goulburn, and from there up the second most important street, Bourke Street. The clergy headed the procession, Reverend Mr. Stephens leading the hymns and Fr. Scott the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary in reparation. It passed the Anglican church, splendid but empty building, and soon thereafter Saint Peter’s and Saint Paul’s Old Cathedral came into sight.

The Seminary’s request of the pastor, Father Tony Percy, to use the church or at least to celebrate Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in an outside courtyard was refused. Consequently, Benediction was celebrated on the sidewalk in front of the front doors of the Cathedral, symbolic of how the true Mass and sacraments have been excluded from our Catholic cathedrals. After the final Benediction the seminarians and faithful processed into the Cathedral to sing the solemn Salve Regina, as well as to offer a Latin decade of the Rosary for the Holy Father, and for Archbishop Coleridge. In fact it was reassured that the Archbishop, who was looking on as our procession passed by, decided to reestablish the procession of the Blessed Sacrament in Goulburn, after more than 40 years, thanks to the procession arranged by the Society in 2006. It was held on the Sunday after Corpus Christi, but alas only attracted 126 persons, including an altar girl. The other hundreds of persons at his New Mass preferred to leave instead. There could clearly be seen the result of 40 years celebration of the “community”.

Monday 11 – Friday 15 was a busy week for the pre-Seminarians. Classes were suspended for the week, and exams were held morning and afternoon all week long, with a little time for study in between, finishing up with the Religion exam on Friday afternoon, feast of the Sacred Heart. A little celebration for the end of the first Semester was held that Friday evening, the some of the seminarians cooking their own specialities, including chips and chocolate chip cookies. Meanwhile others ended the first term of their year by working on and completing assignments, and by sitting some tests.

Saturday June 16 was a clean up day, then the next day, after the Mass for the Third Sunday after Pentecost, most of the seminarians left for a most welcome two week break. A skeleton crew, however, stayed behind to work the two retreats, the first being a 5 day men’s Ignatian retreat, attended by 31 men, from N.S.W., Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland. The second was the annual Third Order Carmelite retreat, preached this year by Father Rainer Becher, and attended by 21 women and 3 men.

At the end of the month of June, the community thanked God for the answer to our prayers and the end of the drought, no less than 7 inches of rain having fallen during the month, and the Mulwaree ponds having even broken its banks in places.

MAY 2007

The month started with the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, May 1, with a Solemn High Mass. During this month dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Seminary recited the Rosary every night before the Blessed Sacrament exposed.

Ascension Thursday, May 17, was a welcome break in the middle of the month. After a morning Solemn High Mass the community headed out for the first full community hike of the year. It was to the Wombeyang caves, a magnificent series of underground caves set in a mountain valley surrounded by forests. Some chose to ride bicycles, others to hike, and a barbecue followed. After lunch some played soccer, others volleyball, others visited the caves.

On Saturday 26, several seminarians helped the butcher to kill another of our steers. This leaves us with a total of 13 head. Our oats crop is growing well, but our limited supply of feed is presently being supplemented by cutting frace of the side of the road.

On Pentecost Sunday, May 27, Father Bourmaud directed the Polyphony, to give special solemnity to the feast day. In the afternoon, he took the Seminarians to see a game of AFL football in Canberra. It was the first time for several of them, and gave them a welcome break.

Many finish jobs occupied our working crew during this month. Amongst them is the installation of pipes to harvest roof water from the front of the Seminary. The Seminary plans to install two 150,000 liter tanks to store the 1,000,000 liters of water that it hopes to harvest annually from its roofs. This will greatly improve the quality and quantity of water available for showers, toilets and laundry use, as well as to provide a secure buffer for times of drought. It is hoping to obtain a Community Water Grant from the Federal Government, and in the meantime is collecting donations for its own portion of the budget.

APRIL 2007

Holy Week started this month, during which the Seminary shared and meditated our Divine Savior’s Passion, awaiting the joy of the Resurrection. The seminarians applied themselves to preparing the chants of the Tenebrae, the offices of Matins and Lauds for the Holy Triduum, that they sung in their entirety. The sacristans were kept especially busy, preparing to celebrate the Holy Triduum ceremonies with all the decorum due.

The last classes before Easter took place on Wednesday 4th, that all attention could be turned towards the ceremonies. Then on Easter Sunday, after the solemnities of the Paschal Vigil and the day High Mass, the Seminarians left for a two week break to mark the end of the First Quarter, returning on Saturday 21st. The Major Seminarians, however, stayed on. They simply had two days without classes on Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday, during which they were able to recreate a little. Easter Wednesday their classes resumed.

Work on the Seminary façade advanced rapidly over this time. On Holy Wednesday, the scaffolding was moved over to the south-western side of the bell tower and building, again five storeys high. The repair work to wood, gutters, down pipes, and the repainting advanced rapidly, so that the scaffolding was actually removed on 20th April, with just a little trim at ground level remaining to be done. The new look of the Seminary entrance enhances the majestic grandeur of the old building (1873) with which the Good Lord has blessed us. Meanwhile the planting of oaks around the Seminary grounds and the redoing of the sprinkler systems for the Seminary’s rose bushes continued a pace.

However, the great initiative of the month of April was the donation and installation of a new windmill, to replace the old windmill that has not worked for more than 25 years. The new windmill, like the old one, is used to pump water from the pond up to the Seminary reservoirs at the top of the hill, which give the water pressure needed for Seminary use. Mr. Clement McAuliffe, long standing friend of the Seminary, and windmill contractor, installed the new windmill during Holy Week.

The end of the month saw a welcome fall of rain, just in time to bring about some growth of grass before the winter arrives. It was just three days after the Rogation Procession and the chanting of the Major Litanies by the entire community early in the morning of April 25, feast of St. Mark. Three steers having being butchered in the past couple of months, the Seminary now has four steers, a bull and 10 heifers, all in calf. Mr. Elliott, assisted by a couple of Seminarians, has planted several areas of oats, to ensure adequate nourishment over the winter months.

MARCH 2007

As the month of March began the Major Seminarians began to return for their new school year, scheduled to start on Saturday March 10, and the new recruits, seven in number this year, began to arrive. Their arrival was, indeed precipitated by the rapid visit of the Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, accompanied by his Second Assistant, Father Alain Nély. They arrived on Thursday March 8 in preparation for ordinations to the subdiaconate to take place the following day, Friday March 9.

The prostration of the three future subdeacons

The prostration of the three future subdeacons
during the singing of the Litany of the Saints.

In fact, the three seminarians entering into fifth year, their second year of Theology, were ordained to the Subdiaconate on March 9. They had followed their canonical retreat with Father Gaudray before Christmas, but also did a short recollection during the two days preceding the ordination, under the direction of Father Ortiz. This was a most important day for them, for with the subdiaconate comes the implicit vow of perpetual chastity, for the subdeacon gives himself irrevocably to the service of the Church. It is for this reason that it is one of the Major Orders in the Church. Reverend Campbell from Florida, Reverend Noronha from India and Reverend Jordie Stephens from Melbourne made this monumental step during the ordination ceremony of March 9.

On Sunday March 11, Father Jules Bélisle arrived, having attended the blessing of the new church in Tynong, and began to preach the six day retreat by which the new school year begins. Giving three conferences a day he prepared the souls of the seminarians for a year focused on eternity, to give the supernatural atmosphere so necessary for their studies. The retreat ended at lunch time on St. Patrick’s day, and the studies started the following Monday, feast of St. Joseph, a votive mass of the Holy Ghost being celebrated on March 20 to beg the light and inspiration of the Holy Ghost over their studies.

This year a record number of seven young men entered the Seminary, three from the Philippines, two from New Zealand, and one each from Japan and India. The absence of Australia from this list is greatly to be regretted. After a battery of tests, it was decided that four of them will pass a year of pre-Seminary, and three should enter directly into the year of Spirituality, along with the two young men, who were preparing in the pre-Seminary last year and who are now in the year of Spirituality.

This gives four pre-Seminarians, five Seminarians in the year of Spirituality, three in the two year Philosophy program, including one Redemptorist Brother, and eight in the three year Theology cycle, including two Redemptorist Brothers: all in all a total of 20 Major Seminarians. We thank God for the good intake, for our numbers had diminished somewhat, due to priestly ordinations and departures. However, the Seminary is a little bottom heavy in the short term, and the older seminarians are busy instructing the new ones on all the customs and practices of Seminary life.

scaffolding erected to repair and repaint the Seminary façade

A view of the scaffolding erected to repair and repaint the Seminary fašade.

Meanwhile, work on restoring the Seminary buildings continues rapidly to progress. On Tuesday March 13 a complex five storey high scaffolding was erected before the Seminary’s main entrance. This enables our workers to repair water damage to eaves, water leaks through the roof, broken and defective gutters and to strip, seal, and repaint the entire bell tower. This work advanced rapidly, due to the easy access given by the scaffolding. By the end of the month, the first half was completed, and the scaffolding was ready to be moved to the other side of the façade.

At the same time Mr. Nhat Bui, a visitor the Seminary, began an intensive tree-planting operation, planting nearly 30 young oak trees that the Seminary had grown from their acorns. This was necessitated by the poor state and recent death of some old pines around the Seminary buildings. Mr. Elliott continues to use the Seminary tractor to sow small areas of oats to intensively grow feed for our cattle. On Saturday 24 we butchered one of our nearly fully grown steers for home grown beef.

Tree planting

Tree planting at Holy Cross Seminary during the month of March.
Here oak trees, grown from acorns over several months,
are being planted on the Seminary grounds.


The month began with the beautiful Candlemas blessing of candles and the procession, this year taking place on a First Friday as well.

The second week of the school year for the Seminarians was combined with a women’s five day Ignatian retreat, preached by Fathers Bourmaud and Pfluger. It was a little difficult having a retreat going on at the same time as classes but the Good Lord has given us such a large building that we were able to manage, the retreatants using the small chapel dedicated to Our Lady upstairs, and the laundry behind the kitchen as their refectory. There were fourteen retreatants.

Mr. Elliott, experienced farmer as he is, taught the Seminarians some farming skills. After growing a crop of millet and another of corn for the cattle quite successfully, he then plowed a couple of small paddocks and sowed oats to increase the ability to sustain cattle. He also purchased four young heifers of age to be joined, so as to make full use of our Angus bull, creating a herd of 10 heifers, who should bear calves for years to come.

During this month the Seminary workers continued their work of remodeling, completing most of the exterior of the classroom wing, including painting the metal roof of the porch. They also installed two water tanks to collect roof water, one for the second worker’s cottage, and one for the recently refurbished bungalow and workshop building.

Soon after the retreat the remaining Major seminarians, who had been working helping with the retreats, took off with Father Bourmaud for a well earned break in Tasmania. Brother Joseph also took a well earned break. This left alone for the rest of the month Fathers Scott and Pfluger, who teach the Seminarians, along with Brothers John and Peter, and Mr. Elliott, as a rather reduced community.


The first day of the New Year was also the first day of our first 5 day Ignatian retreat for the year. It was followed by 34 men and preached by Fathers Bourmaud and Ortiz. The second retreat, for 14 women, followed the week afterwards (January 8 – 13) and was preached by the Rector, assisted by the newly ordained deacon, Reverend Mr. Jean-Baptiste Claret. At the same time Father Bourmaud directed a one week boys’ camp near Brisbane, QLD, assisted by seminarians, at the same time as other seminarians helped out Father Pepping with his boys’ camp near Wangaratta, Victoria.

A third retreat, for 10 men this time, followed immediately on the heels of the second, starting on January 15, and was preached by Father Ortiz, assisted by Reverend Mr. Claret. Then came our own priests’ retreat, preached by Father Edward Black, District Superior, from January 22 – 27. Fourteen priests, three from the Seminary, two priest friends of the Society, one priest from NZ and eight from the Australian district, assisted at this retreat, dedicated to the patriarchs and holy men of the Old Testament.

Then on Saturday January 27 came the excitement of the return of the Seminarians, reduced in number to 15 this year. Four new students were present for the beginning of the year, with an additional new one due to arrive two weeks late: two Australians, two from the U.S. and one from New Zealand. Monday 29th was the day of recollection, prayer and meditation with which the year began, the usual classes and schedule resuming the following day.

The month of January was also a busy and profitable one for our building projects, being very suitable to outside projects. There were the usual workers, Mr. Behrtel and Mr. Pekolj. But in addition, there were Brother Emmanuel, visiting from Silver City, NM, and Mr. Maximilian Okamura, our new Japanese pre-seminarian, along with Mr. Tim Moynihan and Mr. Bryce Mailloux, former Seminarians, who gave up the month of January to work off their tuition. They were all of great help. Their accomplishments included preparing wood for the winter, painting the interior and exterior of the cottages and many other little details, the exterior painting of the bungalow and attached workshop, the repainting of classrooms, finishing of cupboards and many other such details.

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Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn, Australia