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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.”

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


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,


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

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz Ordains Four in Omaha

On Saturday, May 28, 2016, four deacons of the Fraternity of St. Peter were ordained priests by the Most Reverend Fabian Bruskewitz, at Saint Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska.

Our gratitude and thanks to His Excellency, Bishop Emeritus of Lincoln, for ordaining these men to the Holy Priesthood. Congratulations to our new priests and their families, and thanks to all our benefactors and friends who have supported these men and the Seminary during the course of their studies, with prayers and other assistance.

As each new priest has asked, and we always recommend, please in your kindness continue to pray for them and all of the priests of the Fraternity.

The newly ordained priests are:

  • Fr. Edward Brodsky
  • Fr. Joshua Houck
  • Fr. Christopher Mahowald
  • Fr. Dominic Savoie

Enjoy images of this glorious day!

Fraternity Begins New Apostolate in Nashua, in the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire

New Apostolate in the Diocese of Manchester - St. Stanislaus in Nashua

Bp. Peter A. Libasci, Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire

Most Rev. Peter A. Libasci, Bishop of Manchester, New Hampshire

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter is pleased to announce that the Most Reverend Peter A. Libasci, Bishop of Manchester, has invited the FSSP into the diocese in order to administer the parish of St. Stanislaus in Nashua, New Hampshire.  His Excellency noted:

“Since coming here in 2011, I have heard from many Catholics who have a deep affection for the traditional liturgical forms of the pre-Vatican II era. Consistent with that desire, I am happy to announce the opening of this parish, dedicated to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, as suggested by Pope Benedict XVI in his Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, issued Motu Proprio in 2007.”

The Fraternity is grateful to Bishop Libasci for this opportunity, and look forward to providing for the spiritual needs of the Diocese by means of the traditional Roman Sacraments.

Please, in your kindness, keep the Fraternity and the parishioners of St. Stanislaus in your prayers as the apostolate began in early August.

New Apostolate in the Diocese of Manchester - St. Stanislaus in Nashua

FSSP Opens New Apostolate in the Diocese of Allentown

A New Apostolate in Allentown - St. Stephen of Hungary Parish

Most Rev. John O. Barres, Bishop of Allentown

Most Rev. John O. Barres, Bishop of Allentown

The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter is pleased to announce the opening of a new apostolate in the Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Fraternity has taken over the administration of St. Stephen of Hungary parish as of July 1, 2016.

The announcement that the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter will be assuming pastoral responsibility for St. Stephen was made at the parish on the Feast of Pentecost, May 15, 2016, prior to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  The members of the parish are very excited to welcome the FSSP to their parish, and are deeply thankful for the priests of the Diocese of Allentown who have offered the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Stephen’s over the years, as well as all those who have prayed and sacrificed for the FSSP to be invited into the diocese.

The Fraternity is grateful to the Most Reverend John O. Barres, Bishop of Allentown, and his priestly assistants of the chancery for this opportunity.

Please, in your kindness, keep the Fraternity and the parishioners of St. Stephen’s in your prayers as the apostolate begins in July.

A New Apostolate in Allentown - St. Stephen of Hungary Parish

Father Lucian Astuto, RIP

Fr. Lucian Astuto, RIPThe Priestly Fraternity mourns the passing of Father Lucian Astuto, who taught for many years at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary.

Father was long devoted to the cause of Tradition and the Traditional Latin Mass.  When Pope St. John Paul II issued the document Quattuor Abhinc Annos in 1984, Father petitioned to offer the Mass at his parish of St. Patrick’s in Omaha. The petition was granted, and once begun, Mass was well attended.

In 1988, after the Holy Father issued the document Ecclesia Dei Adflicta, the Mass gained in popularity even more.  By 1994, Fr. Astuto believed he needed assistance in tending to the community, and petitioned the Archbishop for an assistant from the Fraternity.

Fr. Karl Pikus, FSSP, was the first priest assigned to assist in Omaha.

After Fr. Astuto retired in 2001, Fr. James Jackson, FSSP, requested permission for Father to teach at Our Lady of Guadalupe, and in 2002 Fr. Astuto began to oversee the Deacon Practicum for seminarians in their final year of formation.  Thereafter he taught the Practicum until the fall of 2013, when the distance from Omaha to Denton became difficult, and he then resigned with much regret. Even after his second retirement, Father was able to visit the seminary periodically.

Father Astuto was given Last Rites on April 12, 2016, by Fr. John Brancich, FSSP, pastor of Immaculate Conception parish in Omaha, and passed to his eternal reward soon after. On April 16, 2016, his funeral Mass was conducted at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral in Omaha, celebrated by three bishops and attended by hundreds of lay faithful and brother priests.

Father Astuto was a beloved man and respected by all who knew him in the Fraternity. In your kindness, please keep him, and all the souls of the faithful departed priests, in your prayers. What follows is the sermon given by Father Brancich for his funeral, with pictures of Father Astuto’s farewell dinner in 2013 and images from the Solemn Requiem Mass offered for the repose of his soul, in the chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary.


Saturday, April 16, 2016. St. Cecilia Cathedral, Omaha, Nebraska

Your Excellencys, Archbishop Lucas, Archbishop Curtiss, Bishop Malone, Brother Priests, Reverend Deacons (and Seminarians), (Reverend Brothers), Reverend Sisters, Dear Family of Father Astuto, Father’s faithful friends and Dear Faithful in Christ.

Some thirteen years ago, I was a deacon sitting in a Pastoral Practices class taught by one Father Lucian Astuto. I, soon to be a priest beginning his work in a parish was being instructed by a priest who had recently retired from his. A priest with years of experience handing on the priestly craft to a man with none — but one eager to soak up the wisdom and lessons from one who had been in the trenches. There were many lessons learned. A few of Father’s lessons, in no particular order.

No Eulogies. The way he even pronounced the word “eulogy” with a long sigh and shake of the head afterward made it clear in our minds that this was something he certainly would not stand for at his own funeral. I intend to respect that lesson today!

Handle the Blessed Sacrament like you really believe It is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. If you want parishioners with a deep Faith, teach them by example. Always try to avoid handling the Blessed Sacrament “cold” that is, without preparing yourself with at least some prayer and washing your hands. Such a privilege a priest has to make Our Lord present on the altar at Mass, and then to feed his flock and bring nourishment to the sick and home-bound. Handle Him like the Infinite Majesty that He is.

Have great love for the sick and home-bound. When a call for a dying person comes in, there is nothing more important than to attend to that person. Unless you are saying Mass, drop whatever you are doing. You may be the difference between Heaven and Hell for that person!

Teach what Our Lord taught about Marriage: marriage is for life, it is between one man and one woman and requires an exclusive faithfulness between them. Who could have predicted just how confused even Catholics would become about these three basic truths a decade later?

Teach the children of your parish the Catholic Faith in a clear, unambiguous way faithful to the teachings of Christ and His Church. Protect their innocence by teaching them to love Holy Purity, embrace modesty. Help them not just to accept but to understand and love the Truth about these beautiful and necessary virtues.

Teach your people to prepare for their own death. The Grace of a good death means that a person has Sanctifying Grace on his soul when God calls him home. It means that either the person has kept his soul in the State of Grace, or if he has lost it through Mortal Sin, he has a priest available at his death to absolve him in Confession and restore Sanctifying Grace to his soul. Sanctifying grace is what God will be looking for in us at the pearly gates: our ticket or passport or gate key if you will. It is this Grace of a Good Death that no one can merit or earn for himself. We are totally dependent on God’s mercy and goodness to grant us this Grace of a Good Death. So, it is something that your people should pray for every day.

It would seem that Fr. Astuto must have prayed for the Grace of a Good Death in his life time because he did seem to have it granted: he received all of the “Last Rites” of the Church: Absolution of his sins, Anointing with the Oil of the Sick, Holy Viaticum which is Holy Communion received for the last time as food for the journey to the next life, the Apostolic Pardon from the Pope through the priest. He was strengthened in his last agony with the beautiful Prayers for the Dying, the chanted Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Holy Rosary. And as the student prepared his teacher for death, it all seemed to come full circle. Except for one thing… In the Traditional Rite of Anointing a dying person, called Extreme Unction (which is another name for the Anointing of the Sick), the body is anointed in 11 places, including the palms of the hands. A priest, however, is not anointed on the palms but on the back of the hands, because his hands were anointed forever “according to the order of Melchezidek” at his Ordination. In my haste to give the Sacrament, or perhaps because 99% of the hands I have anointed have been those of laymen and not priests, I anointed my teacher’s palms. Even though his breathing was labored and his communication was limited at that point, I could almost sense him rolling his eyes up to Heaven and with that exasperated sigh saying: 11 years and he still doesn’t get it right.

Full circle, almost – but not quite. And that is why we are here in this Cathedral today, to take care of whatever part of Father’s circle wasn’t quite complete. The Archbishop offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for whatever unfinished business Father might have had: forgotten venial sins, imperfections, attachments, uncompleted sacrifices or penances. We, too, should help complete Father’s circle, through our prayers, having Masses offered, and making sacrifices for Father’s eternal rest. The teacher labored in the vineyard for us as priest of the Catholic Church … we are all his students in some sense. If there is any gap in Father’s circle, let us all work together to complete it for him.

Twelve Ordained to the Diaconate by Bishop Andrew Cozzens

Bishop Andrew Cozzens, Auxiliary Bishop of MinneapolisOn Saturday, March 12, 2016, the Most Reverend Andrew H. Cozzens, Auxilary Bishop of Minneapolis, Minnesota, traveled to Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska, in order to confer the Diaconate upon twelve of our subdeacons:

  • Adrian Debow
  • Anthony Dorsa
  • Joseph Favole-Mihm
  • Jonathan Heinricy
  • Charles Ike
  • Caleb Insco
  • Caleb Kick
  • Aaron Liebert
  • Krzysztof Sanetra
  • James Smith
  • Alex Stewart
  • Matthew Vierno

We express our thanks and gratitude to Bishop Cozzens for his gift of time and willingness to travel to Denton in order to advance these men on the path of the priesthood of Christ.

The process of ordination began on Friday, March 11, as the subdeacons made their Assumption of Celibacy, recited the Profession of Faith, and took the Oath of Fidelity in the presence of the Very Reverend Josef Bisig, Seminary Rector. The next day, Bishop Cozzens ordained them to the Diaconate.

We send our congratulations to the families of the newly ordained Deacons, and thank all of the family and friends that were present to celebrate this joyous occasion with us. The Fraternity asks that all of our supporters please pray for these men during their Diaconal period, and for their pending Ordination in 2017.

Additional coverage of this year’s ordinations will be in an upcoming Newsletter.

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Bp. Morlino Administers the Subdiaconate to Twelve

On Ember Saturday this Lent, twelve men came forward to advance along the path to the Priesthood of Christ. The Most Rev. Robert Morlino, Bishop of Madison, Wisconsin, traveled to Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, where, on February 20, 2015, he administered the Subdiaconate to twelve seminarians.

The Subdiaconate conveys the privilege of touching the sacred vessels, chanting the Epistle, and the responsibility of preparing the necessities of the Eucharist. With God’s grace, these men will be raised to the Diaconate in the month of March this year.

Many thanks to Bishop Morlino for his support of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. In your kindness, please pray for our new subdeacons, as well as all of our seminarians, deacons, and priests here in North America and around the world.

Christmas Mass and Solemn Vespers at the Seminary

The seminarians of Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary entered the final week of the fall session observing the penitential observances of Advent, where they honored Our Lady with the Rorate Caeli Mass before dawn.

Fr. Joseph Bisig, FSSP, rector of the seminary, concluded the novena of Christmas Masses with the solemn high Midnight Mass of the Nativity, offered for the benefactors of the Fraternity. Fr. Gerard Saguto, FSSP, District Superior of North America, visited the seminary and while there led the Solemn Vespers of Christmas.

In your kindness, please keep the seminarians and priests of Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in your prayers as everyone enters the spring semester.

Midnight Mass at St. Michael’s in Scranton

The parishioners of Saint Michael’s were glad to welcome priests from the nearby FSSP district headquarters to the parish for the Midnight Mass of Christmas.  Fr. Simon Harkins, FSSP, celebrated Mass assisted by Fr. Gregory Pendergraft, FSSP, as deacon and Fr. Jose Zepeda, FSSP, pastor of St. Michael’s, as subdeacon.

The celebration of Our Lord’s birth began with hymns and carols from the children’s choir. Enjoy images of the Nativity celebration.

Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, by the Numbers

Dear Friends of the Fraternity,
With God’s help, your prayers and support continue to assist our Priestly Fraternity to move forward as we form and educate good and holy priests to expand our mission apostolate to the faithful! Please see below not only the very positive current statistics, but also the great indicator for the future – the many good men in our seminaries, who seek to discern and answer God’s call to work in His vineyard.
Current membership of the FSSP, as of October 24, 2015:
  • Total: 421 (incl. 257 incardinated)
  • Priests: 262
    • 243 incardinated
    • 11 incorporated ad annum
    • 4 associated
    • 4 postulants
  • Deacons: 14
  • Non-deacons seminarians
    (including postulants): 145
  • Average age of members: 37 years
  • Deceased members: 8
Membership by Nationality:


All Members

All Members

Incardinated Members

Incardinated Members



FSSP Membership Trends:

FSSP Membership Trends

Number of Seminarians Trends

Confraternity of Saint Peter:
  • Total members: 4961
    • French speakers: 831
    • German speakers: 821
    • English speakers: 3309
Locations by Countries and Districts:
  • Dioceses Served: 121
  • Mass Locations: 219 locations
  • Personal Parishes: 34
Dioceses by Country

Dioceses by Country

Dioceses by District and Regions

Dioceses by District and Regions

Sunday Mass Centers by District and Region

Sunday Mass Centers by District and Region

  • Number of Houses: 113
  • Number of Erected Houses: 71

Number of Houses chiffres4EN

[Source: General House of the FSSP, Switzerland]

Eucharistic Procession on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk

On Sunday, Oct 11, 2015, the priests of St Benedict’s Parish in Chesapeake participated in the annual Eucharistic Procession on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk to commemorate the miracle of the sun at Fatima in 1917.

Approximately 500 faithful from St. Benedict and local parishes participated. The event began with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and hymns, followed by the procession from Star of the Sea at 14th Street along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk to the 24th Street Park, where an altar was erected for Exposition and Adoration. A Rosary with the meditations of the Blessed Sacrament was prayed along the way.

Once at the altar of repose, Fr. Neal Nichols, FSSP, pastor of St. Benedict, was joined by assistant pastors Fr. David Nix and Fr. Anthony Forte, along with other priests of the area, in offering meditations on the message of Fatima with the need for reparation and adoration to God. After Benediction and the recitation of the Divine Praises, the procession returned to Star of the Sea while praying the remaining mysteries of the Rosary of the Blessed Sacrament, and singing traditional hymns.

Prayer and gratitude goes to all those that aided in the procession, especially the Most Rev. Francis DiLorenzo, Bishop of Richmond, Fr. Esteban DeLeon and the parishioners of Star of the Sea, and the parishioners of St. Benedict’s Catholic Church. Special thanks also to St. Joseph’s Men’s Guild, St. Anne’s Sodality, Knights of the Altar and the police and officials of Virginia Beach.

Most importantly, thanks were given to Our Blessed Mother by all who attended, for her intercession on such a beautiful day. More images follow.