There are now ten young men from England and Wales studying for the priesthood at the seminaries of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter. Three are at Wigratzbad in Bavaria, and seven are at Denton in the USA. In addition, there are six priests, already ordained in the Fraternity, who hale from England and Wales. All bar one of these are currently working abroad.
We must hope and pray that all of these seminarians follow their vocation through to ordination. If that is the case, by the year 2020, he Fraternity will have sixteen ordained priests originating from England and Wales. To be strictly accurate, one will have Polish nationality, although he found his vocation in England.
At present, two priests of the Fraternity are serving the faithful in England and Wales. One is a Frenchman, Fr de Malleray, and he is assisted by Fr Goddard. These are both based at Reading in Berkshire, and serve missions in the Portsmouth and Northampton Dioceses. Another priest of the Fraternity, Fr Emmerson, who is a citizen of the USA, is working in Scotland.
So it could be said in respect of the Fraternity, that England and Wales is a net exporter of priests. Five of our home produced priests are working overseas, whereas only one from abroad is working here. As further priests are ordained, it is likely that the balance will be tipped even further in the direction of export.
There are, of course, many reasons for this. No religious order can set up their stall in a particular place without the permission of the local ordinary. In practice, this generally means an invitation from the bishop of the diocese. In England and Wales, no bishop has yet invited a traditional order to take over a parish. The presence of the FSSP in Reading and Chesham Bois has only chaplaincy status at present.
However, this is not the case in some other countries. In the last twelve months, the Fraternity have been given the care of five parishes. One is in Holland, three are in the United States and one is in Australia. The FSSP already had parishes in Rome, Zurich and Nigeria, as well as several in the USA.
It is to be hoped that, before long, an English bishop will invite the FSSP to take charge of a parish. One of the major cities would be a natural location, with London being the most obvious place. That would be a way of redressing the outflow of priests from this country.
Ember Saturday Mass in Oxford
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