District Superior Letter: For Love of Our Fathers

In the month of June, we celebrate Father's Day, which has very deep Catholic roots in the Feast of St. Joseph, foster father of Christ. In the Society of Saint Pius X, June is designated as the month when we welcome to the Altar of Christ new fathers—spiritual fathers—for the faithful. The cultivation of vocations is paramount for the propagation of the sacraments. We look to the faithful for their prayerful and financial support in the cultivation of priestly vocations at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary.

Last month I wrote to you in the context of Mother’s Day, held annually in the month of May, the very month Holy Mother Church has assigned a series of special devotions to our Heavenly Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

June, as you well know, is the month when the secular holiday of Father’s Day is honored. Though this day has taken on a secular character in the United States, its Catholic roots run deep. March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph, had been kept in Europe since medieval times as special day honoring fathers. This commemoration was later brought to the Americas by Portuguese and Spanish settlers. As the centuries ticked by, Father’s Day was transferred to the third Sunday in June, where it continues to be celebrated by Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

In the Society of Saint Pius X, June is designated as the month when we welcome to the Altar of Christ new fathers—spiritual fathers—for the faithful. Many of these men, forged into soldiers for Christ at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Buckingham County, Virginia, began their journey to the priesthood much earlier in the chapels, schools, camps, and retreat houses operated by the Society. By being exposed at an early age to the riches of Catholic Tradition and the fruits of the priesthood, these men, and many more like them, were prepared to answer Christ’s call to find the lost sheep and lead them back into His fold.

The relationship between U.S. District of the Society of Saint Pius X and St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary is a symbiotic one. While it is our chapels and schools that supply young men to the Seminary, it is the Seminary that provides new clergy to minister to the faithful throughout the U.S. District. Moreover, because of its size and growing resources, the Seminary also trains missionary priests who leave these shores to fulfill the Great Commission by making disciples of all nations (cf. Mt. 28:16-20). 

This relationship, my friend, is indispensable to the Society’s apostolate. For without the seminary, particularly a seminary as sweeping and grand as the one in Virginia, the fight to restore Catholic Tradition would be exponentially harder. Each year I am faced with numerous requests for the Society of Saint Pius X to send priests to an ever-growing list of locales where Catholics starve for the traditional sacraments and catechesis. As always, I must weigh these requests against the reality of our resources and the hard reality that, even as the total number of Society clergy worldwide continues to grow, a number of our longer serving members are beginning to show the effects of age and need to slow down or curtail their work. 

Just last month I presided over the Requiem Mass for Fr. Daniel Cooper, a beloved priest who served the Society of Saint Pius X for 31 years. Fr. Cooper’s repose reminds us both of the fragility of life and the tragedy that the great crisis afflicting the Catholic Church and society is outliving our clergy. His death also brings into focus the importance of cultivating vocations and giving the young men of the U.S. District a fitting environment in which to become holy servants of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 

I ask you, then, to consider making a donation to St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary. While the main seminary building reached a state to begin housing and training seminarians two years ago, there is an immense amount of work to be done—work that my dear brother priest and rector of the Seminary, Fr. Yves le Roux, will share with you in his accompanying letter. 

With Blessings in Christ,
Fr. Jürgen Wegner, United States District Superior