In his summer newsletter, Fr. Wegner calls to attention the needs of Immaculate Heart of Mary Academy in Minnesota, which is exceeding its capacity.
While the SSPX was formed - and remains - a priestly society, with its emphasis on the retention of the traditional Catholic priesthood and the Mass, the Archbishop realized in the early days that without supporting schools, the source of vocations would suffer greatly.
The US District of the Society of St. Pius X supports 27 schools in the United States, one among them Immaculate Heart of Mary Academy in Oak Grove, Minnesota. Fr. Wegner writes:
Never divorced from the Faith, schools like Immaculate Heart plant the seeds of Christ’s vocational harvest, thus ensuring that Catholic Tradition continues forward for another generation. For instance, Immaculate Heart is blessed with the privilege of having five graduates who have entered clerical and religious life: three priests, one brother, and one seminarian. Additionally, four Academy graduates have returned to the school as teachers with two more serving in other Catholic schools."
For those who are able, a donation to this academy will help support not only the maintenance of Catholic education, but provide a source of future religious vocations.
You can read the full letter from Fr. Wegner below or download the newsletter here
I write to you in these summer months to call attention once again to an integral piece of the Society of Saint Pius X’s (SSPX) apostolate: our schools. While you surely know that the Society was founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre to keep the authentic Catholic priesthood alive during this ongoing period of grave crisis, necessity dictated complementing our mission by restoring Catholic education in this country as well. Last year, I had the opportunity to share with you a moving story of a teacher who, in the service of Catholic education, sacrificed material rewards in favor of continuing to teach in one of our schools. Many across the country responded by offering their own sacrifices, especially financial support, which allowed the SSPX to continue its educational mission across the United States.
Now, I would like to turn your attention to one of our schools in particular, Immaculate Heart of Mary Academy in Minnesota. Located some 40 minutes from the Society chapel in St. Paul, Immaculate Heart recently finished its 28th year and is currently in the midst of an ambitious expansion project that will more than double the school’s floorspace. The Academy was founded in 1989 in the basement of the chapel in St. Paul, before being moved to its present location in 1998. Enjoying steady growth, the Academy undertook a 3,500 square foot expansion in 2002.
Now that it has acquired over 80 students, Immaculate Heart, like a number of our schools, has exceeded its capacity. Local ordinances, including fire codes, demand that the school either expand or exercise the unthinkable option of turning
away Catholic students in need of a truly Christian education. How can we do such a thing, especially today, when so many souls, young and old alike, thirst for the Truth?
When all is said and done, Immaculate Heart’s expansion will cost an estimated $1.35 million and there will be additional costs on the horizon. Although the school has done a remarkable job raising money internally, nearly half-a-million dollars will need to be borrowed if the project has any hope of being completed expediently. This is why I am asking you, my friend, to prayerfully consider making a donation to this important project so that Immaculate Heart can avoid the burden that comes with borrowing, while still building an Academy fitting for furnishing a Catholic education to our young people.
More than just a structural overhaul and capacity expansion, the work to renovate Immaculate Heart has a powerful spiritual component. As of now, the school lacks a proper chapel for Mass to be celebrated for its students. This also means is that there is no fitting place to house the Blessed Sacrament throughout the week so that students, teachers, and parents may come and adore Our Lord in the tabernacle. The erection of a proper chapel will contribute to instilling in Immaculate Heart’s students a sense of the sacred and, God willing, inspire them to search their hearts to uncover whether Our Lord may be calling them to the priesthood or religious life.
I cannot stress enough how indispensable our schools are for fostering vocations. The next time you meet one of your young priests, including those ordained last month at the new St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Virginia, ask where they received their educational formation. Many will tell you it came, at least in part, through one of our schools. Unlike so many ostensibly Catholic schools today, our educational institutions are dedicated to forming both the mind and the soul.
Never divorced from the Faith, schools like Immaculate Heart plant the seeds of Christ’s vocational harvest, thus ensuring that Catholic Tradition continues forward for another generation. For instance, Immaculate Heart is blessed with the privilege of having five graduates who have entered clerical and religious life: three priests, one brother, and one seminarian. Additionally, four Academy graduates have returned to the school as teachers with two more serving in other Catholic schools.
As I discussed in my previous letter, the crisis in the Church and society has started to outlive our priests and religious. When the SSPX was formed nearly 50 years ago, there was a sense among many that the crisis would abate in a matter of years, maybe a decade or two. Tragically, despite some positive developments in the Church with respect to the availability of the traditional Latin Mass, doctrinal error and catechetical confusion are ubiquitous. If the Society is to both replace its losses due to age and infirmity and meet the continually growing requests for our priests to provide the traditional sacraments in new locales, it is imperative that we continue to foster vocations. And how do we do that? By supporting schools like Immaculate Heart.
Supporting Immaculate Heart and other Society schools is neither a “local matter” nor the responsibility of parents with school-aged children alone. A properly formed young man in Minnesota today will be a priest in California or New York tomorrow. The faithful to whom the SSPX ministers, regardless of age, benefit from the vocations that begin to take shape in our schools. Moreover, society as a whole is improved when its ranks are filled with faithful Catholic men and women who understand that their first duty remains to Christ’s social kingship rather than temporal temptations that have led so many to abandon the Faith.
And so I ask you, my friend, to do what you can to assist Immaculate Heart of Mary Academy in finalizing their important building project. Whatever you can provide will be greatly appreciated. A one-time donation of $100, $50, or even $10 from faithful across the country can keep Immaculate Heart moving in the right direction so that the incoming 2018-19 class will have a fitting educational and spiritual environment to continue their formation.
With profound gratitude for your past generosity, and appealing to your continued support, I remain,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Jürgen Wegner
United States District Superior