From the FSSP newsletter:
“Thou art a priest forever.” – ~ Hebrews 5:6
Dear Friends in Christ,
The academic year at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary will begin soon, with nearly 90 seminarians of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter in formation for God’s holy priesthood. These men need your help, and thus I appeal to you as we launch our annual fund drive for seminarian support. From a modest beginning nine years ago, this appeal has become our biggest and most important fundraiser, and therefore, much depends on a strong response!
This year, I wanted to share with you the question that I hear most often, whether in my travels throughout the district or in my office answering letters and calls: “When can the Fraternity come to our area?” This question touches me deeply, being both Assistant Director of Vocations and Director of Development for North America.
On the one hand, I am amazed and grateful at how many men have entered our seminary, been ordained, and now are priest in our apostolates. On the other hand, I cannot help being somewhat impatient at how much work still remains! I meet so often with individuals, families, and communities who are both praying for and supporting our seminarians, hoping for the day when they also benefit from their own apostolate of the Fraternity.
Each year the Fraternity strives to open new apostolates that offer the faithful a sacramental, liturgical, and community life rooted in the traditions of the Church. This year is no different: We already have new apostolates scheduled to open. But growth cannot continue without priests to send forth when opportunities arise.
The path to Ordination on the part of the seminarian requires diligence in studies, growth in holiness, and immersion in the spiritual life throughout his seven – year formation. It also requires the generous giving of many, many people, for the vast majority of the average seminarian’s $23,000 annual tuition comes via contributions – both big and small – given donors just like you.
The Fraternity is doubly blessed: We receive many new men seeking a traditional formation each year, and we have never had to turn a vocation away for lack of funds. As a result, in just two decades we have sent over 90 priests to nearly 50 locations in North America. This growth provides more and more Catholics with the opportunity to immerse themselves and their families in a parish apostolate that is spiritually energized by the Traditional Latin Mass and Sacraments, fortified with clear, orthodox teaching and inspired by youthful zeal and piety.
So many faithful Catholics are praying that the Fraternity will be able to send a priest to them. This is why this annual appeal is so important! The generous response of our donors has been inspiring: Each year they manage to increase the total contribution for the formation and education of our seminarians.
Last year, this appeal generated over a quarter of the total cost required to fund the seminary. That was wonderful! Moreover, the proceeds of this appeal go directly to support tuition for Fraternity seminarians – not operating costs. In the past, we did not set an annual target, but this year we are breaking new ground: We want to raise enough to cover a full third of the expenses at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary!
This may appear to be an aggressive goal, but it seems truly attainable when I consider both the swelling number of our supporters and the great historical response to this campaign. Last year over two thousand donors contributed! Whether the gift was large or small, we were humbled and grateful that so many gave freely and without obligation for a cause that they deem, like us, to be the keystone in advancing both the Traditional Latin Mass and a Catholic resurgence.
Once again, I ask your support for this most important cause, and I thank you for your prayers and contributions to the Fraternity and our united mission. Please pray for our many priests and seminarians in North America; there is a great battle being waged in both the visible and invisible realms, and these men are greatly in need of your prayers.
In Corde Iesu, per Mariam,
Fr. Gregory Pendergraft, F.S.S.P.