Newsletter of the District of Asia

 June 1997


The Catholic Church is essentially a priestly Church.  The Council of Trent in its Catechism says that while baptism is necessary for all for salvation, while penance is necessary for all baptized who fall into sin after their baptism, the sacrament of Holy Orders is absolutely necessary for the Church to exist.

Just stop and think for a moment: what would the Catholic Church be without priests?  There would be no Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, no confession, no confirmation, no extreme unction.  The Conciliar Church is indeed heading happily towards this situation protesting against its own past.

Holy Orders being thus so important to the Church, the Society of St. Pius X, in its humble way and according to its particular grace, devotes its main efforts in the recruiting and training of priestly vocations.  With a zealous army of priests, we can truly help the Church in many ways.

These young men who aspire to the priesthood have all different backgrounds, but are all more or less the wounded victims of this modern and liberal world.  A vocation, as Fr. Peek explains elsewhere in this issue of our Newsletter, is a very mysterious call of God.  In order to ascertain the divine origin of this call as best as we can, through our human observation and with some priestly experience, a probation time is required.  It is being done in various ways in the Society: through our schools, by a stay in a priory or through our pre-seminaries.

We have at present, officially, three pre-seminaries in the Society: one in Argentina, within the grounds of the seminary itself; one in Austria for our vocations from Eastern countries and Albania; and one here in Manila for our Filipino vocations (but not exclusively for them as we are expecting shortly one or two from abroad).  Our priories in Sri Lanka and India are being developed towards becoming also well-structured pre-seminaries.

The length of stay in the pre-seminary depends on many factors: it can go from a few months to a few years.  It depends on the age, the education, the language ability, the maturity in Catholic Tradition or simply the visa (to go to a seminary abroad).

“The pre-seminary is a house of education and of formation preparing to the seminary.  Its purpose is not therefore to prepare, to help the candidates obtain a diploma or degree according to a uniform program.  It consists rather to adapt to each candidate or group of candidates a suitable program of formation on three levels: intellectual, moral and spiritual.  The goal is to fill the holes left by modern education, to guarantee the foundation, intellectual and spiritual, in the candidates as well as the formation of their will and character along with good study methods; all aspects which they will absolutely need to be able to follow with fruit the seminary formation.” (From the Austrian pre-seminary rule).

May 19 was for our St Bernard Pre-Seminary, here in Manila, the beginning of the academic year.  We began with a Sung Mass of the Holy Ghost for our twelve candidates: ten pre-seminarians, two postulant brothers.  The first week was an “orientation week”, a survey of the various tasks, the manner of chanting the Divine Office, an explanation of what is expected from each.  Now the classes proper have started: classes of English, Latin, philosophy (logic), general history of the world, liturgy, gregorian chant, Catholic Doctrine and spirituality.  We would like too to invite occasionally guess speakers to address various issues whether literature, music, or Church matters.

We recommend this important apostolate to your prayers.  It is so vital that we have made some slight cut backs in some of our mass circuits to ensure a greater presence of the priests with these young men eager to serve God.  Will we see the day when there will be ten, twenty or more priests of the Society in the Philippines?  Adveniat Regnum Tuum!


May God bless you all,
Fr. Daniel Couture
District Superior



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