Archbishop Lefebvre spoke with the young men who thirsted after a priestly formation rooted in the Magisterium of the Church about a plan for a society that he might found so that, once they became priests, they could stay together.
Let us stay united; do not disperse to your modernist dioceses after your ordination! It will be a society of common life, with common residence, prayer and apostolate.
A Setting for Recentering on Community Life
For most in the U.S. District, including most newly ordained priests, the thought of the Regina Coeli House may bring some vague idea of high-browed officials, stacks of paper-work, and a bustling warehouse of ministerial toil. As any visitor will discover though, and in particular every newly ordained priest of the District, it is a refuge of silence, tucked away in the beautiful, wooded hills of Missouri, providing a safe-haven of direction, support, and hospitality to the priests of the District.
Young Priest’s Meeting
Every fall the Regina Coeli House, headquarters of the SSPX U.S. District, hosts all the priests of the two most recently ordained classes assigned to the United States for the annual Young Priests’ Meeting. The meeting provides the newly ordained with the opportunity to communicate freely and directly with their district superiors, receive instruction on pastoral procedures, and, last but not least, the chance to rekindle the fraternal bond that was formed during their time together at the seminary.
Communication and Instruction
Much less than a bustling warehouse with high-browed officials, the young priests are welcomed into a truly familial and hospitable setting. The suitable and beautiful buildings are well-furnished for the guests and bear the essential mark of clerical silence – a breath of fresh air for a priest of the apostolate. The week-long meeting is structured with regular conferences. The conferences cover everything from how to properly oversee the liabilities and assets of a parish’s accounts, to personal planning, priestly holiness, and other pastoral instructions. The priests are given the ample opportunity to speak freely with the full lineup of superiors as well as the legal and accounting team members of the district.
Perhaps more precious than practical applications to the individual, comes the chance of reunion at the Young Priests’ Meeting. Back in June, none of them realized at the time that those two minutes standing together in their freshly unfolded chasubles for the post-ceremony picture, just minutes after the conclusion of their Priestly ordination, would be the last time the members of a seminary class would all be in the same place at the same time, perhaps forever. The men who had worked, studied, and prayed elbow to elbow for the last seven years walked away from that spot, and from the place of their formation, not to see each other again for an unknown amount of time. For those assigned to the U.S. District though, that time would be until the Young Priests’ Meeting.
After the first months of their apostolate, they find themselves together again, excitedly exchanging stories and experiences, drawing on the bond of a family that supports as it exists in solidarity. The chance to share a walk and a story with one’s classmate of seminary years after the relative isolation in their priestly work is truly a welcome grace for the young priest; nothing is able to describe the sudden realization that the familiar face he has known eating in that familiar manner across the table for all these years is now essentially different from before: marked with the eternal Priesthood, the same mark on one’s own soul…
In a time of impersonal communication and chains of command, the newly ordained priests of the District are relieved and grateful for the meetings that provide much more than instruction: a communication that is truly paternal, and a source of strength based in the sharing and spirit of the clerical community, all thanks to the foresight of our venerable founder.