So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Choosing the better part: FSSP, OP and the diocesan priesthood.

Leaving the land of Tim Hortons
Sacrifices must be made :-)

One thing you would notice immediate, if engaged in conversation with the young people mentioned by their initials, is their love of deep Catholicism, i.e., tradition-minded Catholicism, which is to say... Catholicism. Contrary to some of their mentors' decidedly progressive leanings—in a casual conversation, one local priest characterized K.G.'s move to the FSSP as a loss to the Diocese and a waste of time—these educated young people are not conned by the shallow thinking and liberal-conformist views of a previous generation. They are not convinced, more puzzled actually, by elders who stubbornly cling to outmoded 1970s-esque attacks on the Church's rich artistic, liturgical and mystical traditions. And, these three young people are not alone in their appreciation for the Church's liturgical spiritual heritage. Their peers attend a local TLM, and those who do not share an intense interest in knowing where the Church has come from. These same tradition-minded Catholics are the vanguard of the Church on our local campuses and on colleges all across Canada. They lead pro-life groups, students' associations and serve in liturgical roles. They are the disciples responding to the call of the Holy Spirit to serve the Church and to enter into authentic marriages. One can see in the example of these people the connection between Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony. I.e., that where one sacrament is valued deeply and celebrated robustly, so too is the other. This summer our campus community witnessed marriages of young people similarly inclined in mind and deportment to the holiness of the Mass. Many, if not most, in the Church have yet to learn that when dignity and a deep sense of the sacred is restored to the Mass, so too will dignity be restored to all the sacraments. Authentic Christian witness will not flourish without that deep awareness of and commitment to the profound holiness of the Mass, even where the Mass cannot be celebrated on a regular basis.
A local man has been accepted into the first year of formation at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska. K.G. is a convert from Pentecostal protestantism. His journey began in Catholic kindergarten and elementary school and continued through to graduation from Catholic high school. Yes, I know. Given the limp witness of so many Catholic high school teachers and staff, you're probably wondering about or perhaps puzzled over the fact that K.G. managed to survive Catholic high school and discover his vocation to the priesthood. Not only did he survive, he thrived and was received into the Church and, after having been interviewed in Denton, is now entering the seminary—an FSSP seminary, at that!

Call of Beauty

In a recent conversation, K.G. recalled a conversion he experienced during a high school trip to France that propelled him to seek reception into the Catholic Church. His experience in France, specifically at Lourdes, was affirmed again during another high school trip to Rome. He credits visits to the magnificent cathedrals, in particular the impact of Gothic architecture, and visits to holy sites as contributing to and affirming his conversion. He cited the influence of one pious high school teacher in particular who was a vital mentor in the Faith. K.G. asked me not to fail to mention that the writings of the Catholic author J.R.R. Tolkein have played a significant role in deepening his encounter with tradition-minded Catholicism.

K.G. has been a weekly altar server for both the local university daily Mass and the weekly Sunday "student" Mass for the past year. For the past few years he has served Sundays in the local Extraordinary Form Mass at Our Lady Queen of Peace parish. He also regularly attended the local Ordinariate daily Mass. In the midst of his liturgical activities, he managed to find time to attend to a baccalaureate degree in history.

Where peace dwells.

K.G. is one of three recently graduated or nearly graduated students who are currently in religious formation. Soon to enter Queen of Peace Monastery in Pemberton, BC, is B.L., a graduate in English. B.L. was very active in the campus Catholic Students' Association and a communicant at daily Mass. The story of her re-version to the Faith is a remarkable testament to the mercy of God and the joy of a grateful soul in love with God. Perhaps her beautiful story in full might appear here in the future. For now, readers, you must be content knowing that God's grace touched her and she has chosen the 'better part'. May we all—converts, reverts, cradles—find the openness and courage to joyfully respond more fully to God's call to a more perfect intimate communion.

All... points north.

K.T., another young aspirant to the priesthood and a talented musician, left music studies to attend seminary. He has completed his first year at Saint Joseph's Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta. K.T., like K.G., was a daily altar server at the campus daily Mass and was a member of the Newman House community for young men. He led the choir for the Sunday "student" Mass for a couple of years or thereabouts. He was an active member of the Catholic Students' Association and Youth Protecting Youth, the pro-life group on the campus of his now former university. K.T.'s deep love for the Holy Eucharist is clearly manifest. He is a good listener—a vital quality for any priest!

Deo gratias!

The example of the three people described here should give us all permission to enter into a deeper relationship with Christ in His sacred Liturgy. Which is to say, we should likewise embrace the call of the Holy Spirit to promote liturgical renewal in continuity with the age-old practice(s) of Holy Mother Church according to the authentic teaching of the Second Vatican Council and the reform of the Reform promoted by Pope Benedict XVI, the Council's legitimate prophet.

Please be generous with your prayers for these three people who are entering into religious and seminary life: K.G., B.L. and K.T. Though they are known to you by their initials, they are most certainly wholly known by God.


If you are someone who can imagine a certain young man could be a priest, submit his name and contact to the bishop or your parish priest and briefly describe why you think he would make a good priest... and pray for him!

Perhaps your potential candidate
  • loves the Church.
  • is devout in his prayer life (attends Adoration, regularly goes to Confession, prays the Breviary, etc.)
  • is a good listener.
  • is intelligent.
  • is sensitive to others' concerns, serves the poor.
  • is actively serving, e.g., in the Mass.
If you yourself are pondering the religious life or priesthood, pray! Draw close to the Lord. Attend Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction and speak with the Lord Jesus from the depth of your heart. Entrust yourself to the care of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Ask her to pray for you. If you do not possess one already, ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to a holy, orthodox priest who will be your spiritual director.

Here's a humbling exercise. Make a point form list that describes a faithful priest. You may want to describe your current pastor or a priest confessor. Once you have completed that list, set it aside for a day or two. Return to the list at the time you say your prayers before retiring for the night and read it slowly. Consider the following as you read your list: the points you have included on your list might be describing... you! You might be aspiring to be the priest you have described. The values you have articulated might very well reflect that identity which you yourself are seeking to live more fully. If you find yourself in that list, consider the next step:
Make time for God. Pray! Attend a vocation retreat. Serve in the Mass as an altar server or reader. If you are already a male altar server, consider that an open door to the priesthood. That is, consider your existing service a sign of possibility that is affirming a direction for your life. The sign that you need to affirm a direction may be the most obvious thing you are already doing!
With the guidance of your spiritual director (your parish priest?), request a meeting with the bishop to discuss your thoughts and intentions.
Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in all things.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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