St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Winona, MN, USA
On February 2, Bishop Bernard Fellay (the SSPX's Superior General), blessed the cassocks for 10 seminarians and gave the clercical tonsure to 8 other young men during the Pontifical Mass of Candlemas. He was assisted by Fr. Yves le Roux (seminary rector), Fr. Jurgen Wegner (U.S. District Superior), and Fr. Patrick Abbet (seminary vice rector).
Despite the the snowfall of 10 inches—which made travelling difficult for various families—the sacred ministers and servers did make a short procession outside with the lighted candles, celebrating Our Lord as the Light of revelation for the Gentiles. Read more and see an image gallery at the seminary's website (stas.org)>
Holy Sacred Heart Seminary, Zaitzkofen (Bavaria), Germany
On February 2, Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais blessed the cassock for 9 seminarians and gave the clerical tonsure to 7 as announced by Fr. Franz Schmidberger (seminary rector). The day after the bishop gave the minor orders to 7 others, with 3 becoming porters and lectors, and the other 4 being ordained exorcists and acolytes. See the image gallery>
Holy Cure of Ars Seminary, Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, France
On February 2, in the absence of Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta—whose attendance was prevented by a last minute difficulty—Fr. Niklaus Pfluger, the SSPX's 1st Assistant, blessed the clerical habit for 12 seminarians of the first-year: 4 Swiss, 3 Frenchmen, 2 Italians, 1 Gabonese and 2 Nigerians. He was assisted by Fr. Patrick Troadec (seminary rector) and Fr. Prudent Balou Yalu (prior of the St. Pius X Mission in Libreville, Gabon).
Interesting statistics have been published by Fr. Troadec. Since 1996, 347 candidates have entered the seminary to become priests or brothers; i.e., an average of 20 per year. The average age is 21-years old. Candidates consistently come from large families (with an average of 5.8 children ) where 80% of the mothers are mothers at home. 73% of the French candidates come from SSPX schools.
More than 50% of the candidates have received a first calling to the priesthood or religious life before the age of 12 either when serving Mass, helping in the sacristy, or on the day of their First Communion. Many of these seminarians have said that the education received in the family prepared them to make this choice, or they remember being impacted by the good example of a priest or a brother in their surroundings.
After a period where the idea of being fully consecrated to God has faded during their teenage years, a second call comes around the age of 19, which eventually leads them to the seminary or brothers novitiate.
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