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
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.
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.
Unloading the new seeder at
It was immediately put into use to plant corn for the cattle.
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.
off the ceiling to the covered walkway.
touches to the new colourbond roof over the walkway
along the laundry wing, and over to the classroom wing.
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.
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
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
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.
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
of Our Lady of September 15
curious cattle followed the procession throughout and waited
to watch us as we went past, along with one of the newborn
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”).
of the consecration of the Seminary
to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
A view of the scaffolding erected to repair and repaint the Seminary
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Index of Seminary events
| 2002 | 2003 |
2004 | 2005 |
2008 | 2009 | 2010 |
2011 | 2012 |
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