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Extraordinary Carmelites to Start Foundation in Elysburg

Published April 18, 2009 10:14 pm –  Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg announced Friday that a second community of Discalced Carmelite nuns will be established in the diocese in the monastery in Elysburg.   These nuns have the joy of having the extraordinary form of the mass.  The FSSP seminary in Denton, NE worked closely with these nuns to start their foundation in Valparaiso, NE.  FSSP priests and seminarians rolled up their sleaves to help build the monastery in Valparaiso, NE, beginning in 2000.  Priests and Seminarians continue to support the monastery by assisting their chaplain.

FSSP Seminary Easter Vigil at Carmel in Valparaiso

FSSP Seminary Easter Vigil at Carmel in Valparaiso

HARRISBURG — Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg announced Friday [April 17, 2009] that a second community of Discalced Carmelite nuns will be established in the diocese in the monastery in Elysburg.

The new community will be founded from the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph of Valparaiso, Neb. They come to the Diocese of Harrisburg because of a constant increase of vocations to their monastery that has caused crowding.

Carmel in Elysburg, Harrisburg Diocese
Carmel in Elysburg, Harrisburg Diocese

St. Simon Stock who received the Brown Scapular from Our Lady was elected Prior of that Order in Aylesford in England in 1247. The first recorded appearance of Carmelite nuns was in 1452 when a community of nuns was granted affiliation with the Carmelite Order.The release continued, “Under St. Teresa of Avila, with the help of St. John of the Cross, the famous reform of the Carmelite Order of nuns was accomplished. It is to this group that both communities of discalced Carmelite nuns in the Diocese of Harrisburg belong. Discalced means ‘shoeless’ and refers to the fact that these nuns wear sandals as opposed to shoes as a sign of poverty and sacrifice.

“The nuns who arrive will live a strictly cloistered life setting themselves apart from the world in order to dedicate themselves to God and His saving plan. By means of their prayers and sacrifices, Carmelite nuns participate vitally in the redemption of the world.

“In imitation of Mary the Mother of God who stood at the foot of the Cross, they are intimately united to the saving sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The separation of the cloister attunes the heart of the Carmelite nun to the Heart of Christ and the needs of people.

“Freed from noises and distractions, the Carmelite nun becomes more aware of the struggle of people today to know and love God. She then offers herself in prayer and sacrifice for the salvation of all. No radio, television, newspaper or Internet is permitted, in order to avoid distractions from their life of prayer and sacrifice. While walls and grilles separate them from the world, their hearts are not bound but, rather, radically freed to love God and neighbor.”

http://www.ccacarmels.org/ElysburgCarmel.html

Location for a New Carmel in Elysburg

Location for a New Carmel in Elysburg

Their community is currently at 33. The maximum number of nuns in a Carmelite monastery is about 21.

The Valparaiso, Nebraska Carmelites join the Danville Carmelites and the Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary in Lancaster as the third contemplative community of nuns in the 15 counties of the Diocese of Harrisburg. Bishop Rhoades said, “I feel incredibly blessed that we will now have three contemplative communities of nuns in our diocese. We welcome the Carmelite nuns from Nebraska whose lives of prayer and asceticism in the cloister remind all of us of our call to holiness.

“To these Sisters, I extend my deep gratitude for their coming to our diocese and for their prayers for all of us. Their presence and prayers are a gift to us from the Lord! May God the Father bless these, His daughters, consecrated for the glory of His Name,” the bishop said.

Mother Teresa of Jesus, Prioress of the Valparaiso, Nebraska Carmelite community expressed these thoughts, “We are very excited and grateful to make a foundation in the Diocese of Harrisburg.

“True to our Carmelite vocation our main work is our prayer life. We are praying for Bishop Rhoades, the clergy and all the faithful of the Diocese of Harrisburg, and we will do even more so upon our arrival.”

Sister Joan Lundy, prioress of the Carmelites of Danville commented, “We warmly welcome Mother Teresa and her Sisters to the Harrisburg Diocese. We are happy that the Monastery will continue as a house of prayer for that has been the wish of so many people. We are grateful to Bishop Rhoades and to Fr. Waltersheid for the close contact they have had with us, this past year, in preparing for the transfer of the Monastery and its property to another Community of Carmelites.”

The new community will inhabit the now vacant Carmelite Monastery in Elysburg. That monastery was built in 1961 as the permanent home of a foundation of Discalced Carmelite nuns that came to the Diocese in 1953 from Loretto, Pennsylvania.

This community moved to Maria Hall in Danville in January of 2008 where they remain a vibrant presence of prayer and witness to consecrated life for our Diocese.

Fr. William Waltersheid, diocesan secretary for clergy and consecrated life commented, “We are grateful to the Carmelite nuns of Danville who continue their great offering of prayer as they have since 1953 and we offer our gratitude to the Carmelite nuns newly arriving so that this great legacy will continue.”

The new foundation of Carmelite nuns comes from the Diocese of Lincoln.

They came there in 1999, with roots reaching back to Las Vegas, San Francisco in the United States, Guadalajara and Puebla in Mexico, and Caravaca in Spain.

The monastery in Caravaca was one of the original foundations of St. Teresa of Avila. When they arrive, the nuns will be living temporarily in St. Peter Convent on West Avenue in Mount Carmel while they work to ready the monastery for habitation.

The release from Bishop Rhoades said this is a case of history repeating itself. When the nuns arrived from Loretto in 1953 they lived in a home on East Avenue in Mount Carmel until the monastery was built in 1961. Carmelites trace their origins from Old Testament times as the nuns consider themselves daughters of the Prophet Elijah.

At the time of the Crusades, the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel who lived an eremitical life on Mount Carmel in Palestine came to Europe.

For more information go to: Friends of Carmel JMJ

Letter of Pope Benedict XVI

LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI
TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
CONCERNING THE REMISSION OF THE EXCOMMUNICATION
OF THE FOUR BISHOPS CONSECRATED BY ARCHBISHOP LEFEBVRE

Dear Brothers in the Episcopal Ministry!
The remission of the excommunication of the four Bishops consecrated in 1988 by Archbishop Lefebvre without a mandate of the Holy See has for many reasons caused, both within and beyond the Catholic Church, a discussion more heated than any we have seen for a long time. Many Bishops felt perplexed by an event which came about unexpectedly and was difficult to view positively in the light of the issues and tasks facing the Church today. Even though many Bishops and members of the faithful were disposed in principle to take a positive view of the Pope’s concern for reconciliation, the question remained whether such a gesture was fitting in view of the genuinely urgent demands of the life of faith in our time. Some groups, on the other hand, openly accused the Pope of wanting to turn back the clock to before the Council: as a result, an avalanche of protests was unleashed, whose bitterness laid bare wounds deeper than those of the present moment. I therefore feel obliged to offer you, dear Brothers, a word of clarification, which ought to help you understand the concerns which led me and the competent offices of the Holy See to take this step. In this way I hope to contribute to peace in the Church.

An unforeseen mishap for me was the fact that the Williamson case came on top of the remission of the excommunication. The discreet gesture of mercy towards four Bishops ordained validly but not legitimately suddenly appeared as something completely different: as the repudiation of reconciliation between Christians and Jews, and thus as the reversal of what the Council had laid down in this regard to guide the Church’s path. A gesture of reconciliation with an ecclesial group engaged in a process of separation thus turned into its very antithesis: an apparent step backwards with regard to all the steps of reconciliation between Christians and Jews taken since the Council – steps which my own work as a theologian had sought from the beginning to take part in and support. That this overlapping of two opposed processes took place and momentarily upset peace between Christians and Jews, as well as peace within the Church, is something which I can only deeply deplore. I have been told that consulting the information available on the internet would have made it possible to perceive the problem early on. I have learned the lesson that in the future in the Holy See we will have to pay greater attention to that source of news. I was saddened by the fact that even Catholics who, after all, might have had a better knowledge of the situation, thought they had to attack me with open hostility. Precisely for this reason I thank all the more our Jewish friends, who quickly helped to clear up the misunderstanding and to restore the atmosphere of friendship and trust which – as in the days of Pope John Paul II – has also existed throughout my pontificate and, thank God, continues to exist.

Another mistake, which I deeply regret, is the fact that the extent and limits of the provision of 21 January 2009 were not clearly and adequately explained at the moment of its publication. The excommunication affects individuals, not institutions. An episcopal ordination lacking a pontifical mandate raises the danger of a schism, since it jeopardizes the unity of the College of Bishops with the Pope. Consequently the Church must react by employing her most severe punishment – excommunication – with the aim of calling those thus punished to repent and to return to unity. Twenty years after the ordinations, this goal has sadly not yet been attained. The remission of the excommunication has the same aim as that of the punishment: namely, to invite the four Bishops once more to return. This gesture was possible once the interested parties had expressed their recognition in principle of the Pope and his authority as Pastor, albeit with some reservations in the area of obedience to his doctrinal authority and to the authority of the Council. Here I return to the distinction between individuals and institutions. The remission of the excommunication was a measure taken in the field of ecclesiastical discipline: the individuals were freed from the burden of conscience constituted by the most serious of ecclesiastical penalties. This disciplinary level needs to be distinguished from the doctrinal level. The fact that the Society of Saint Pius X does not possess a canonical status in the Church is not, in the end, based on disciplinary but on doctrinal reasons. As long as the Society does not have a canonical status in the Church, its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministries in the Church. There needs to be a distinction, then, between the disciplinary level, which deals with individuals as such, and the doctrinal level, at which ministry and institution are involved. In order to make this clear once again: until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.

In light of this situation, it is my intention henceforth to join the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” – the body which has been competent since 1988 for those communities and persons who, coming from the Society of Saint Pius X or from similar groups, wish to return to full communion with the Pope – to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This will make it clear that the problems now to be addressed are essentially doctrinal in nature and concern primarily the acceptance of the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar magisterium of the Popes. The collegial bodies with which the Congregation studies questions which arise (especially the ordinary Wednesday meeting of Cardinals and the annual or biennial Plenary Session) ensure the involvement of the Prefects of the different Roman Congregations and representatives from the world’s Bishops in the process of decision-making. The Church’s teaching authority cannot be frozen in the year 1962 – this must be quite clear to the Society. But some of those who put themselves forward as great defenders of the Council also need to be reminded that Vatican II embraces the entire doctrinal history of the Church. Anyone who wishes to be obedient to the Council has to accept the faith professed over the centuries, and cannot sever the roots from which the tree draws its life.

I hope, dear Brothers, that this serves to clarify the positive significance and also the limits of the provision of 21 January 2009. But the question still remains: Was this measure needed? Was it really a priority? Aren’t other things perhaps more important? Of course there are more important and urgent matters. I believe that I set forth clearly the priorities of my pontificate in the addresses which I gave at its beginning. Everything that I said then continues unchanged as my plan of action. The first priority for the Successor of Peter was laid down by the Lord in the Upper Room in the clearest of terms: “You… strengthen your brothers” (Lukek 22:32). Peter himself formulated this priority anew in his first Letter: “Always be prepared to make a defence to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you” ( 1 Peter 3:15 ). In our days, when in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of dying out like a flame which no longer has fuel, the overriding priority is to make God present in this world and to show men and women the way to God. Not just any god, but the God who spoke on Sinai; to that God whose face we recognize in a love which presses “to the end” (cf. John 13:1) – in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. The real problem at this moment of our history is that God is disappearing from the human horizon, and, with the dimming of the light which comes from God, humanity is losing its bearings, with increasingly evident destructive effects.

Leading men and women to God, to the God who speaks in the Bible: this is the supreme and fundamental priority of the Church and of the Successor of Peter at the present time. A logical consequence of this is that we must have at heart the unity of all believers. Their disunity, their disagreement among themselves, calls into question the credibility of their talk of God. Hence the effort to promote a common witness by Christians to their faith – ecumenism – is part of the supreme priority. Added to this is the need for all those who believe in God to join in seeking peace, to attempt to draw closer to one another, and to journey together, even with their differing images of God, towards the source of Light – this is interreligious dialogue. Whoever proclaims that God is Love “to the end” has to bear witness to love: in loving devotion to the suffering, in the rejection of hatred and enmity – this is the social dimension of the Christian faith, of which I spoke in the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est.

So if the arduous task of working for faith, hope and love in the world is presently (and, in various ways, always) the Church’s real priority, then part of this is also made up of acts of reconciliation, small and not so small. That the quiet gesture of extending a hand gave rise to a huge uproar, and thus became exactly the opposite of a gesture of reconciliation, is a fact which we must accept. But I ask now: Was it, and is it, truly wrong in this case to meet half-way the brother who “has something against you” (cf. Mt 5:23ff.) and to seek reconciliation? Should not civil society also try to forestall forms of extremism and to incorporate their eventual adherents – to the extent possible – in the great currents shaping social life, and thus avoid their being segregated, with all its consequences? Can it be completely mistaken to work to break down obstinacy and narrowness, and to make space for what is positive and retrievable for the whole? I myself saw, in the years after 1988, how the return of communities which had been separated from Rome changed their interior attitudes; I saw how returning to the bigger and broader Church enabled them to move beyond one-sided positions and broke down rigidity so that positive energies could emerge for the whole. Can we be totally indifferent about a community which has 491 priests, 215 seminarians, 6 seminaries, 88 schools, 2 university-level institutes, 117 religious brothers, 164 religious sisters and thousands of lay faithful? Should we casually let them drift farther from the Church? I think for example of the 491 priests. We cannot know how mixed their motives may be. All the same, I do not think that they would have chosen the priesthood if, alongside various distorted and unhealthy elements, they did not have a love for Christ and a desire to proclaim him and, with him, the living God. Can we simply exclude them, as representatives of a radical fringe, from our pursuit of reconciliation and unity? What would then become of them?

Certainly, for some time now, and once again on this specific occasion, we have heard from some representatives of that community many unpleasant things – arrogance and presumptuousness, an obsession with one-sided positions, etc. Yet to tell the truth, I must add that I have also received a number of touching testimonials of gratitude which clearly showed an openness of heart. But should not the great Church also allow herself to be generous in the knowledge of her great breadth, in the knowledge of the promise made to her? Should not we, as good educators, also be capable of overlooking various faults and making every effort to open up broader vistas? And should we not admit that some unpleasant things have also emerged in Church circles? At times one gets the impression that our society needs to have at least one group to which no tolerance may be shown; which one can easily attack and hate. And should someone dare to approach them – in this case the Pope – he too loses any right to tolerance; he too can be treated hatefully, without misgiving or restraint.

Dear Brothers, during the days when I first had the idea of writing this letter, by chance, during a visit to the Roman Seminary, I had to interpret and comment on Galatians 5:13-15. I was surprised at the directness with which that passage speaks to us about the present moment: “Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’. But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another.” I am always tempted to see these words as another of the rhetorical excesses which we occasionally find in Saint Paul. To some extent that may also be the case. But sad to say, this “biting and devouring” also exists in the Church today, as expression of a poorly understood freedom. Should we be surprised that we too are no better than the Galatians? That at the very least we are threatened by the same temptations? That we must always learn anew the proper use of freedom? And that we must always learn anew the supreme priority, which is love? The day I spoke about this at the Major Seminary, the feast of Our Lady of Trust was being celebrated in Rome. And so it is: Mary teaches us trust. She leads us to her Son, in whom all of us can put our trust. He will be our guide – even in turbulent times. And so I would like to offer heartfelt thanks to all the many Bishops who have lately offered me touching tokens of trust and affection, and above all assured me of their prayers. My thanks also go to all the faithful who in these days have given me testimony of their constant fidelity to the Successor of Saint Peter. May the Lord protect all of us and guide our steps along the way of peace. This is the prayer that rises up instinctively from my heart at the beginning of this Lent, a liturgical season particularly suited to interior purification, one which invites all of us to look with renewed hope to the light which awaits us at Easter.

With a special Apostolic Blessing, I remain

Yours in the Lord,

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

Prayer Intentions – Spring 2009

Ordinations to the subdiaconate January 31th, 2009 and subsequent ordinations to the diaconate on March 14th, 2009 in Lincoln at St. Francis of the following men:

  • Peter Bauknecht
  • Simon Harkins
  • Garrick Huang
  • John Richertt
  • John Shannon
  • Jose Zepeda
  • Priestly ordination on May 30th, 2009 of the following men:
  • Brian Austin
  • Matthew Goddard
  • Michael Stimson

Please remember these men and the entire Fraternity of St. Peter in your prayers that they may be continued to be Blessed.

I apologize but the prayer card is not available at this time.

Please remember All the Deceased Members of the FSSP

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Prayers and Devotions
Consecration of the World on the Feast of Christ the King to the Sacred Heart

Annual Renewal of the Consecration of the North American District to Our Lady

Keep the Faith Talk for October 20, 2014

Keep The Faith

THIS WEEK’S TALK
Early Christianity and Late Antiquity Pt. 4: Sources of the Faith
Dr. John Rao, Roman Forum, 1993

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Holy Family in Dayton Participates in LifeChain 2014

Once again the priests and parishioners of Holy Family Parish in Dayton commemorated Lifechain 2014 with Holy Mass and the Rosary in prayer for the unborn.  The morning began with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered by the pastor of Holy Family, Fr. Mark Wojdelski, FSSP.

Afterwards, Fr. Wojdelski and Fr. Pelster joined parishioners at Planned Parenthood, where a Holy Hour was made in reparation for the offenses against God in abortion, and in prayer for the unborn.

External Solemnity of the Feast of the Holy Rosary in Scranton

St. Michael the Archangel Church, our apostolate in Scranton, PA, celebrated the External Solemnity of the Feast of the Holy Rosary on the first Sunday of October, and as part of this feast day, honored Our Lady and the Rosary with a solemn Rosary procession after Mass.

Fr. Michael Stinson, FSSP, assistant pastor of Saint Michael, offered a Missa cantata, and then lead the faithful in the recitation of the Most Holy Rosary through the streets of Scranton, which included the singing of Marian hymns.

Recent Events at St. Joan of Arc in Coeur d’Alene

St. Joan of Arc, our apostolate in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, recently enjoyed a visit from the Most Reverend Alexander Sample, who was installed last year as the Archbishop of Portland, Oregon. The Archbishop graciously made a special trip to Idaho to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Traditional Rite to twelve youth of the parish. The priests and laity of St. Joan of Arc extend their special thanks to His Excellency for his time and care for souls.

While there for Confirmations, the good Archbishop also offered a Pontifical High Mass at the faldstool. Fr. Dennis Gordon, FSSP, chaplain of St. Joan, and Fr. Daniel Nolan, FSSP, assistant chaplain, were joined by three seminarians of Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary in assisting at the Mass.

Another highlight of the summer was the camps for the boys and girls of the chapel.  This year’s camps took place in the stunning setting of Farragut State Park, with a week of faith and fun.

Confraternity of St. Peter Pilgrimage to England

Forty members of the Confraternity of Saint Peter recently made a pilgrimage to England, led by Fr. Michael Stinson, FSSP, Bursar for the North American District. Sites visited during the pilgrimage included:

  1. The ancient Marian shrine of Walsingham, which, although destroyed under Henry VIII, is still today a shrine with more than 100,000 pilgrims a year.
  2. York, where Constantine was proclaimed emperor and where 72 Catholics were later martyred for their faith.
  3. The oratory of Bl. John Newman, in Birmingham.
  4. Shakespeare’s home and grave, in Stratford-upon-Avon.
  5. Oxford, unfortunate location of martyrdom for many English Catholics.
  6. The shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in West Grinstead.
  7. The Carmelite monastery in Aylesford, wherein lies St. Simon Stock, and where he received the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
  8. In London, St. Etheldredas, which is the second oldest church in England, was visited, as well as St. James, which was the first church built after the Reformation.
  9. Tyburn Convent, where so many were martyred that they installed three gallows.
  10. The final day, Mass was with Frs. Stinson and Armand de Malleray, chaplain of the Confraternity, at his parish of St. William of York, in Reading.

The pilgrimage was made fruitful by numerous priests and guides that detailed the unfortunate end of so many Catholics during the Reformation.  Even more details and pictures are available in our newest newsletter. If you do not receive our monthly newsletter, sign up today.

Annual Parish Picnic for Immaculate Conception in Omaha

The priests and parishioners of Immaculate Conception Church, our apostolate in Omaha, Nebraska, recently gathered together for a day of fellowship, food, fun and games.  Fr. John Brancich, FSSP, pastor, and Fr. Massimo Botta, FSSP, assistant pastor, joined numerous seminarians and the parishioners to enjoy a beautiful day.

Camp St. Peter in the Black Hills 2014, in Pictures

Once again young men from around North America traveled to the Black Hills with Fr. Christopher Hathaway, FSSP, pastor of our parish in Rapid City, South Dakota. Camp St. Peter consisted of twelve days of faith, activities, and sports. Fr. Hathaway, the founder of the camp, provided for the physical and spiritual needs of the camps with daily Mass and Confession, along with the “Ask Father” session each night. Campers enjoyed hikes, fishing, and sports along with the stunning beauty of God’s creation. The boys made lasting memories and learned lessons of faith and responsibility that they can carry with them in life. We look forward to next year’s camp!

First Traditional Solemn High Mass in Chihuahua in Forty Years

In late August Fr. Kevin O’Neill, FSSP, associate chaplain of our new apostolate in El Paso, Texas, was invited to celebrate a Solemn High Mass at the Cathedral of Chihuahua city in Northern Mexico.  Widely regarded as the best example of colonial architecture in the region, the Metropolitan Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross, Our Lady of Regla, and St Francis of Assisi provided the perfect setting for the return of the Traditional Solemn High Mass; the first in this church in forty years.

Fr. Sumich Leads the Girl’s Camp in Calgary

Fr. Antony Sumich, FSSP, chaplain of our apostolate in Calgary, Alberta, having led the boys of the apostolate on a sporting camp, recently oversaw a girl’s camp for the youth of the apostolate. The girls had a grand time of faith and activities including fishing, boating, firearms and hiking. Enjoy pictures of the camp.

St. Michael’s in Scranton Has Its Annual Picnic

The priests and parishioners of St. Michael’s once again gathered at La Cove Grove for their annual parish picnic.  Joining in the festivities were Fr. Jose Zepeda, FSSP, pastor of St. Michael, and Fr. Michael Stinson, FSSP, associate pastor, joined by Fr. Eric Flood, FSSP, District Superior, and Fr. Gregory Pendergraft, FSSP, Director of Development for the District, along with seminarians James Guillenkirk and Matthew Vierno.

Mothers of the parish, accompanied by the seminarians, led the children in a wide variety of activities, while the youth and adults of the parish participated in volleyball, football and other sports.  Full of great fun and food, the picnic was a great success, on a beautiful day. Enjoy the pictures.

Keep The Faith

THIS WEEK’S TALK
Early Christianity and Late Antiquity Pt. 4: Sources of the Faith
Dr. John Rao, Roman Forum, 1993

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A New Talk Every Monday
Missed a talk? View previous talks.