June 2018 - District Superior's Letter
A beautiful soul
On May 20, Pentecost Sunday, one of our faithful of Toronto, Mr. Peter Le Forestier, died at the venerable age of 99 years, strengthened with the sacraments of the Holy Mother Church. Few among you have ever known or heard of him directly, but indirectly many have benefited from his charity. He is, in fact, at the origin of the St. Joseph Bursary that has helped several families in the district in the last 25 years to provide for the education of their children.
He deserves a special mention in this monthly letter because we owe him a great debt of gratitude. Mr. Le Forestier is a fine example of what one single person can do to advance God's reign in one way or another. He was convinced of the principles that inspired Archbishop Lefebvre. "It is absolutely certain," the great Archbishop said, "that it is through these colleges (i.e. the schools of Tradition) that most vocations will come." In fact, the vast majority of priests who have been ordained in the seminaries of the Society of St. Pius X, as well as most religious vocations in recent years, are from our traditional schools.
Since 1993, it is thus largely over $500.000 that have been collected and distributed to schools through the St. Joseph Bursary.
How does the Bursary work? In the early years, it was funded by a variety of means: lotteries, "loonie-per- Sunday," rebates from long distance calling service, and, of course, donations. However, when Father Rostand was appointed District Superior in 2006, he instituted the monthly second collection for the St. Joseph Bursary in all our priories and chapels. In this manner fraternal charity is encouraged among our faithful. Christian education has become so difficult today, especially with the current political situation, that it is normal for us to help the families of our chapels first. Since 2006, these second collections have been the most important source of funding for the St. Joseph Bursary.
When their children are enrolled in our schools, families seeking financial assistance receive the Bursary application forms. Once received by the Bursary Secretariat, applications are reviewed by our Committee. Then, based on the funds available for distribution in the St. Joseph Bursary account, as well as having considered the specific needs of the family in question, the Committee calculates the amount which will be allotted to each family. The money will not be sent to the family but rather directly to the school where the child is educated.
Each year normally between $30,000 and $50,000 is collected and shared among the families who petitioned for assistance.
Thus, Mr. Le Forestier is a good example of how anyone, married or not, young or old, can play a part in this important domain of education. This is truly the greenhouse where the future of our families and our religious and priestly vocations flourish, and thus the future of society in general. Let us pray for this great benefactor; let us offer a communion; or a rosary at least. I remind each chapel not to forget to do this monthly second collection for the St. Joseph Bursary. Families who would like to benefit from it are asked to contact the district at the address above.
An important anniversary
A few days later was the anniversary of an event which very few people have thought of. It, too, has had major consequences for the whole Church. It was the 50th anniversary of the purchase, by five men, of the buildings of the Canons of St. Bernard in Écône, Switzerland. On May 31, 1968, these five gentlemen, Alfonse and Marcel Pedroni, Roger Lovey, Gratien Rausis and Guy Genoud, purchased the buildings from this Congregation of Canons due to the lack of vocations and other financial matters. These devout Catholics did not want to see the destruction of the chapel of Notre-Dame-des-Champs (Our Lady of the Fields) where a holy priest, Canon Lucien Gabioud (+1971), had said his first mass in the early 1930s.
No one would have believed in May 1968 that Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who was still Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers, and who had six years to complete his mandate, would eventually come and live in Écône two years later with a small group of seminarians. In fact, Archbishop Lefebvre resigned as Superior General of the Spiritans in September 1968 in opposition to the aggiornamento of his Congregation (which was following the wishes of the Council). Then, before he even started the Society of St. Pius X in Fribourg on October 13, 1969, he met the five laymen and visited Écône during Holy Week, in March 1969. He judged Écône fit to become a novitiate, but not a seminary, which is why he asked them for a year to reflect. On June 24, 1970, the decision was finally taken: a year of spirituality would begin in Écône at the beginning of the autumn. As "prophesied" by Alphone Pedroni, "this seminary of Écône would soon be spoken of all over the world". Something that did not take long to happen as history has shown.
Let us therefore thank Providence, pray for these five lay people who have all passed away, and pray for the Society of St. Pius X on the eve of our fourth General Chapter which will take place from July 3 to 21.
- From April 24 to May 7, the first Assistant, Fr. Niklaus Pfluger, visited Saint-Cesaire, Winnipeg and Calgary.
- Soon after Easter, two young Canadians received the habit of Benedictine monks in the Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe, New Mexico. These are: Joseph Leussink, from Sundre, AB, now Brother Paul, and Joseph Judickas, of New Hamburg, ON, now Brother Maur. We now have four Canadians there. A couple more are on standby. Let us pray for their perseverance.
- On May 18-20, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy in New Hamburg, ON celebrated its 10th anniversary. It is not easy to keep a small Catholic school alive in this day and age. Deo gratias! Ad multos annos!
- Beautiful processions of the Blessed Sacrament took place at the occasion of the Corpus Christi solemnities in Sherbrooke and Levis, QC, St. Catharines (ON), Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver.
- Bishop de Galaretta will come to Canada for a confirmation tour between September 27 and October 7. He will take part in the Midland pilgrimage to the Canadian Martyrs, and then travel to Sherbrooke, Rocky Mountain House and Calgary. Let the candidates for this sacrament contact their priests as soon as possible.
Fr. Daniel Couture