Nine priests and six deacons were ordained on Friday, July 7 by His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay at the new home for the SSPX’s Thomas Aquinas seminary in Dillwyn, Virginia.
Bishop Fellay gave a sermon about the nature of the priesthood which is paraphrased here.
For the first time, these grounds see the tremendous happiness from Almighty God and Holy Mother Church for this harvest of deacons and priests. Who are they, these men? Holy Scripture says that a priest is a Man of God. He is not of this earth. At his ordination, the priest receives something real in his soul. They are human beings, with a body and soul, with virtues and defects. What they receive today will help them, and it also changes them. Philosophically we say that when an accident is added it modifies their substance. It is like this with the man who is made a priest, but it also changes his character. The sacrament of ordination goes deep into his soul, so deep that it cannot be erased – not by age, or death, or sin. The soul is forever changed.
This Man of God is chosen by God. He is a prophet because it is his role to speak in the name of someone else. God has chosen these men to be his mouthpiece to the world. They are to remind creatures of God and God’s interests; these things are always to come first. God is their end and their fulfillment, His Ten Commandments, and His only begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
“God is talking to us creatures,” His Excellency continued. This Word has been entrusted to the Deacon. He receives the Gospel in the ordination ceremony. Each time the priest reads the Gospel at Mass, he kisses it. We might not understand the importance of communicating the Gospel, but the devil does. He makes it hard to spread the Gospel through fear of the might of the world. We must resist the devil. He is real. Holy Mother Church strengthens the ones who give us this Word. This is a fight to the death against the devil and all those who follow him. The fight is above human strength, but Our Lord gives the Holy Ghost to men so they can fight.
Our Lord told St. Peter that he is to testify that Our Lord is Almighty God – he is to give witness. The Apostles were shaken by this, but our Lord said ‘Do not fear! I will give you the Holy Ghost.’ The Church has always been in this spiritual fight against the devil and all those who spread errors.
I say to the deacons, this word belongs to God and to the Church. Do not put yourself above the Church. Do not try to judge the Church. Remain a child of the Church. It is true that a lot of prelates and cardinals have not been faithful. But the Church is the Mystical Body. It is one body incorporated into Our Lord Jesus Christ. Not one grace can happen without the immediate intervention of Our Lord. Priests and deacons are just his instruments.
In the Holy Eucharist, our Lord gave a means to multiply Himself. There is only one Jesus, one Body, one Soul. And in each host, He is completely, fully there. He multiplies Himself through the real presence. But He hides Himself. For our Lord Jesus Christ, His species is the priest, though the man that is the priest is still present. Our Lord is the priest and the victim. There is only one priest, Jesus. Only Jesus absolves in confession. At Mass, the priest opens his mouth and says, ‘This is My body,’ and it is Jesus speaking. These words do not belong to the man; they belong to Jesus.
The only one who has the might in His words and to produce what He says is God. In Genesis, how did God create? By speaking. By His might He makes what He says a reality.
This might is given to the priest when he gives the sacraments.
When the priest speaks, the whole, infinite holiness of God comes through. The priest’s hands are consecrated – they are dedicated to give blessings. It is beyond understanding what kind of treasures God has deposited to His priests. The priest himself is an incomprehensible sign of God’s love. St. John Vianney said that if we understood what a priest is, we would die of love.
A priest is a mediator, a key, one that reunites God and man after they have been separated by sin. The priest repairs the damage caused by sin. When God chooses a priest, He chooses a victim. It is hard to understand. Our human nature does not like it. But a vocation is a call to be a sacrifice.
Every Mass is a sacred sign of an invisible sacrifice. In a Mass, our Lord Himself perpetuates the sacrifice of Calvary. This sacrifice is consummated with the Communion of the priest. The priest is obliged daily to make this sacrifice. In each sacrifice, we priests offer ourselves. Each priest should say, ‘I am immolated with the sacrifice on the Cross. I am dead with Jesus.’ That is the priest that will cleanse sin from the world. To be a priest is something serious. Modern men want to get rid of sin; they have no sense of sin. They want to get rid of mortification and death. But Our Lady said souls will go to hell because no one makes sacrifices for them. A sacrifice hurts.
Charity, which is love, is difficult to really understand. It is gentle and kind and good, yes. Those God loves the most – look at what He requests of them. Who does God love more than the Blessed Virgin Mary? And we know what God had planned for her.
Today is the first Friday, the day of the Sacred Heart, which is a visible indication of God’s love. The Sacred Heart is opened by a lance to show us God’s love, and it is surrounded by thorns by our ingratitude. It is the same with the Immaculate Heart, which is crowned with roses and surrounded by thorns. The priest must be like these two hearts, and the fulfillment of this is his vocation.
In the world, there is hatred of God, a meanness of creatures who are against their God. The priest must win over the evil by goodness. The priest reminds us of the love of God. He is the ambassador of God. When this goodness shines, it will touch hearts to continue God’s work of saving souls.
After the ceremony, the new priests offered their first blessing, starting with their family. In the afternoon, a blessing of the bells was planned. This day of heavenly favors was concluded by a torch-lit procession in honor of Our Lady of Fatima. Presided by Bishop Fellay, the procession was concluded by the chant of Compline.