Confraternity of Saint Peter Letters from the General Chaplain
18 September 2013: On the occasion of the 25t anniversary of the Fraternity of Saint Peter
Dear members of the Confraternity of St Peter,
In one month, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter. This Silver Jubilee celebration will chiefly take place on the feast of St Luke, 18th October 2013 at our parish in Rome. On that day, with our Superior General, with other CSP chaplains and CSP members, I will pray for all of you, our generous members throughout the world and I invite you to unite spiritually with us.
So as to formalise somehow CSP membership, following the last General Chapter of the FSSP, and by decision from its General Council, an optional ceremony is instituted in our apostolates worldwide for the new members of the Confraternity of St. Peter. Please note that no CSP member is obliged to attend the ceremony, which is an option for those who wish. It will take place every year on the Sunday following October 18. During this ceremony, the members who have joined in the past year (if they wish to take part) will recite the Prayer of the Confraternity, kneeling at the communion rail; they will receive a blessing; and they will receive their certificate from the priest. Please read the indications and answers below for further details.
Cordially yours in St Peter,
Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP – General Chaplain CSP
How to proceed:
Your printed Certificate of enrolment should have been sent to you by post over the last 12 months.
If the date of your enrolment was after 21st October 2012, please inform your FSSP pastor (preferably before 10 October) that you will be taking part in the ceremony.
Bring your original Certificate with you to Mass on Sunday 20th October and do hand it before the Mass to your FSSP pastor, if not earlier.
At the end of Mass, at your pastor’s invitation:
1. I have been a CSP member longer than a year: can I take part in the ceremony?
2. I am a new CSP member but I don’t attend an FSSP Mass centre: can I travel to one for the occasion?
3. I am a new CSP member but I don’t attend an FSSP Mass centre: can a non-FSSP priest perform the ceremony for me?
4. Can I ask the FSSP pastor for an extended ceremony, e.g. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, hymn to St Peter; refreshments?
5. I am a new CSP member but distance, ill health or other impediments prevent me from attending the ceremony: will my enrolment be cancelled or postponed?
6. I intend to join the CSP: can my enrolment take place on Sunday 20 October?
7. I will turn 14 years of age on 20 October or very soon before: can my enrolment take place on Sunday 20 October?
8. Where do I find the Prayer to read during the ceremony?
9. Is any spiritual preparation required?
10. Are any indulgences granted for taking part in the ceremony?
22nd January 2013: On the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the foundation
Dear members of the Confraternity of Saint Peter,
On Friday 22nd February, Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, we will celebrate the sixth anniversary of the Confraternity's foundation. On behalf of everyone, please allow me to express my heart-felt thanks for your spiritual commitment to and support of our priestly vocations and ministry.
You are doubtless aware of the fact that our young community will celebrate this year the twenty-fifth anniversary of its foundation. In the space of a quarter of a century, we have grown from the small group comprising a dozen founder members to roughly four-hundred, serving the souls of the faithful of one-hundred and sixteen dioceses spread across four continents. We work in the Lord’s vineyard as his humble and fallible servants, but made fecund by the strength of the Roman traditions of his Church and by the grace of hierarchical communion with the successors of his Apostles. However, do we not benefit from a third asset, less important than the first two, but essential for their concrete realisation? Indeed – your very selves. Each day, the 3800 souls of yours beg the Lord "to send labourers to his harvest," as He commands us to do. Each day you recite, alone or with your family members, the beautiful Prayer of the Confraternity of Saint Peter, enhanced with quotations from our cherished Roman Missal. Wishing to be heard more speedily by the Lord, you request the intercession of His Blessed Mother, the Virgin Immaculate, by your daily recitation of a decade of the Holy Rosary. Finally, each year you arrange for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to be offered for the Confraternity’s intentions, thus providing for ten Masses to be celebrated each day for our priestly vocations and ministry.
All of us who have learned to "live by the faith" (Hebrews 10:38) know how your invisible prayers are a fundamental cause of the numerical and geographical expansion of our little Fraternity, and even more importantly of the supernatural good that the Lord deigns to bring about through its apostolic work. Without your commitment in daily prayer as members of the Confraternity of Saint Peter, we would not have the grace of admitting many candidates each year at our two international seminaries. Without your faithful prayers our priests would be less protected against the world enemy of Christ and of his Church, and less fervent in their sanctification for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Allow me to share this in confidence. Like I do, surely my priest confrères ask themselves regularly how to improve our ministry. The hindrances to our priestly zeal are numerous: negative influence of the media, anti-natural laws voted by parliaments, lack of understanding of certain Churchmen in positions of responsibility, occasionally deficient time-tables and sacred edifices… Over the years however, the priest discerns more clearly the fundamental obstacle to his sacred ministry, which is his own lukewarmness. He laments his lack of mortification, of prayerfulness, of studiosity, of poverty, of purity, of obedience and of joyfulness. He understands more fully that the Lord Jesus wants to save the world through him and that only too often he does not love enough Jesus, the Church and the souls, that he is wasting the grace of his priesthood and rationing it out to souls.
Then it is, dear brethren, that the part you play is so important! Your prayer can obtain from the Lord an increase not only in the quantity but also in the quality of your priests and future priests. Satan said to the Curé of Ars: "Were there three like you in the world, my kingdom would be destroyed." We are far more than three, and yet Jesus is still little known and poorly loved. Pray therefore dear friends and offer up sacrifices so that our seminarians will be docile and generous, and our priests faithful and supernatural. Fewer holy priests is better than many mediocre ones. Even better however is many, many, many eminently holy priests. And who will affirm that such is not God’s will! Dear friends, we also pray for you, for more holy married and single Catholics, for more holy young people, and for more holy clerics and consecrated persons within the Confraternity. You also pray for each other, even if you have not yet met all of the 3800 members of the Confraternity, you are present to them daily when they recite the Prayer, and at least each Sunday at Mass, and every month or more during Holy Hour. Let us thank God for this mutual support and let us offer up to Heaven more regular and more fervent prayers.
To that end, I shall inform you before Easter of an encouraging decision made by the Superiors of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. In the meantime, your Chaplains offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for your intentions each month, and every 5th November the 236 priests of our Fraternity include your deceased members in the Memento of a Holy Mass of Requiem. Finally, I should like to remind you of the three plenary indulgences the Holy See granted you on the day of your incorporation and every year on 22nd February and 29th June.
With my best wishes in Saint Peter and Our Lady,
Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP
February 2, 2012: On the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Reading, England
Dear Members of the Confraternity of Saint Peter,
Introduction: This letter is to thank you. In exactly three weeks, we will celebrate the 5th anniversary of the foundation of the Confraternity of Saint Peter. [N.B. Ash Wednesday taking precedence as a universal feria of the 1st class, our particular 1st class feast of the Chair of St Peter is transferred this year to the following day, i.e. Thursday 23 February 2012. On that day then, rather than on the 22nd February, you can gain the plenary indulgence at the usual conditions.] In that perspective I am writing to you to express the gratitude of our priests and seminarians for your lasting commitment and for your generous support to our vocations and to our ministry.
History: Following a resolution by the last General Chapter (2006) of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, the Confraternity of Saint Peter was founded on 22 February 2007 as an answer to the petitions of fellow Catholics desiring to be more closely associated to the ministry of our Fraternity. Not being a religious order, we do not run a third order as such, but we could offer our faithful the support of a sodality. From medieval times sodalities had proved a deeply traditional and efficient way of sanctification for the laity and for the clergy: such time-proofed instruments are not obsolete in the current dechristianisation. This is to our mutual advantage, as CSP members and FSSP members pray for each other and support each other according to our respective vocations.
Commitments: Five years later the Confraternity numbers 3,750 worldwide. As members (Catholic with minimum age fourteen) you commit to: every day: 1) pray one decade of the Holy Rosary for the sanctification of our priests and for our priestly vocations, 2) and recite the Prayer of the Confraternity; and every year: 3) have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered once for these intentions.
God’s holy Harvest: Dear Friends, the ‘Master of the Harvest’ hears you! Our international seminaries have been blessed with an unprecedented intake of 49 and 44 applicants in the last two years, bringing the total number of our seminarians to 162 – over 80 in each of our seminaries. Furthermore, whereas many religious and diocesan institutions undergo dramatic variations, the number of our priestly ordinations is characterised by a remarkable stability, with an average 12 priests ordained
each year since 2000. Undoubtedly, your dedication and intercession as members of the Confraternity of Saint Peter are a decisive factor in those achievements. Thankfully, even more people outside the Confraternity pray for us daily: but the 3,750 of you do so with the intention of fulfilling a formal commitment, whence increased merits and graces.
Lay members and more: In places where there is no stable FSSP ministry yet, the Confraternity of St Peter provides a rare opportunity for people to become members of our spiritual family despite the distance. Where the FSSP is already established, CSP members are often among our most dedicated parishioners.
Information: Some of your acquaintances may simply not know about the Confraternity. Please kindly tell them about it and direct them to your local chaplain. An efficient way is also to hand out to them flyers about the Confraternity and enrolment forms, that they may have concrete material to consider and may ask you questions if they wish. Since the Prayer of the Confraternity refers to priestly vocations and priestly ministry in a general sense, you may also suggest to your local pastor, even though he may not be a member of the FSSP or of the CSP, that the same Prayer be recited before the Blessed Sacrament exposed, asking “the master of the harvest to send out labourers for his harvest” (Mt 9:38).
Conclusion: The Confraternity of St Peter is a light and simple way of strengthening the family ties between souls and Holy Mother Church and God, through the ministry of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter. As a special intention dear to our spiritual family, may I take the opportunity of this letter to ask for your prayers in particular for the success of our next General Chapter, to take place in our American seminary from 3rd to 18th July 2012? I thank you for your generous commitment and I assure you of my prayers for you, especially this 23rd February on the 5th anniversary of our Confraternity.
Cordially in St Peter,
Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP
February 22, 2008: On the occasion of the first anniversary of the foundation
Pope Benedict XVI encourages theconfraternities
What an amazing spectacle in Rome, St. Peter Square on Saturday, November 10th 2007, during the papal audience for thousands of members of so numerous Italian confraternities! Each one apparently was represented with embroidered banners, hoods, various scapulars and emblems, reflecting the diversity of gifts and charismas inspired by the Holy Spirit in the Mystical Body of Christ, attesting also to the value and timeliness of the bond contracted over the last 12 months by nearly 1,700 Catholics, now members of the Confraternity of Saint Peter.
Indeed, on today’s Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter (February 22, 2008), it is one year since our little Confraternity of Saint Peter was founded. The superiors of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) had as their objective to offer, to all those who desire, a more particular bond of spiritual association with our institute. This initiative met the aspirations of many faithful throughout the world who support the FSSP with their prayers, their donations and their sacrifices and who wanted to formalize their commitment to our community, to its members and to its works.
Workers for the Harvest
The FSSP is indeed a priestly institute numbering 317 priests and seminarians, all sharing a traditional view of the priesthood. We thank God that we have been able to ordain an average of 13 new priests per year since 2000. This represents one new priest every 28 days over the last eight years. Now, if a priestly vocation is above all a gift from the Master of the Harvest, it is certainly encouraged and nurtured through the intercession of many families, parishes, Catholic associations, schools, etc. who pray the Lord for holy priests, so urgently needed nowadays.
Dear reader: you are certainly not missing on the list of these intercessors! The members of the FSSP are well aware of what they owe to your support, to your trust and loyalty. Please accept our heartfelt thanks and our sincere appreciation.
Some of you, who, due to age, distance or for other reasons, are prevented from a regular access to our chapels, nonetheless can find in the Confraternity a simple way to participate in the labor of sanctification which is conducted by our institute. Among the members of the Confraternity there are also people who, without usually resorting to our traditional charisma, appreciate its value and want to encourage it as a precious asset for the evangelization of our times. These various situations show a common attachment to our traditional ministry in the service of the whole Church. In return, our priests and seminarians pray for the members of the Confraternity of St. Peter and for their families, particularly during the Masses that the members ask to offer each year, and more generally, because of the confraternal bond they have contracted with us: “Institutes which have associations of Christ's faithful joined to them are to have a special care that these associations are imbued with the genuine spirit of their family.” (cf Code of Canon Law, Can. 677§2).
Communion of Saints
By combining our respective needs and aspirations, the Confraternity of St. Peter characterizes this universal exchange of merits and suffrages professed in the Creed as “communion of saints”. By becoming a member of the Confraternity of St. Peter, each person of 14 years or older (whether secular or consecrated: religious and clergy are definitely welcome) indicates his or her desire for a prayer made more ardent and fruitful when applied to this particular family, which is our traditional priestly Fraternity. This choice does not restrict the effectiveness of prayers and sacrifices, but rather it concentrates and stimulates them for the benefit of the Mystical Body of Christ as a whole, i.e. the universal Church.
The members of the Confraternity not only pray for our priests and seminarians: they also pray for the other members of the Confraternity of St. Peter. To date we count 1,700 members of all ages and walks of life, in Europe, in Africa, in America, in Asia and Oceania. Every day they recite a decade of their Rosary for the intentions of the Confraternity, followed by the Prayer of the Confraternity for vocations.
What solace this is for each member who can, amid the small and big daily worries, say to him- or herself that every 24 hours all other members of the Confraternity have prayed for her or him! What a joy it is to know, when we feel lonely or helpless, that in the space of the same day, from so many places on the globe, we have sent to Heaven with the same words such a powerful fraternal intercession! What a wonder when, already here on earth, we may witness what relief God might generously have deigned to procure to a priest, to a seminarian, to a mother, to a teenager through the merit of this daily prayer! Finally, how grateful we shall be when, at the twilight of our lives, we will learn that our poor soul, if imperfect and if tepid, could not have obtained such success against temptation, made such a progress in virtue without the prayers of the other members of the Confraternity of St. Peter!
We receive all graces indeed from Christ through Mary, brought to our soul through the channels of his Body, which is the Church. By offering each year the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the daily prayers, to which the members are committed (Prayer for the vocations and one decade of the Rosary), the Confraternity draws our intellects and hearts every day closer to Christ the High Priest and to his Mother Immaculate. Such spiritual progress, although obtained by other souls through different means, is sought by our members within the Confraternity, which has proved a reliable answer to their needs, not preventing them either from using additional devotions which the Spirit of Wisdom and Love might inspire them.
“Follow their footsteps!”
Let us conclude by quoting our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in his address to the Italian Confraternities three months ago: “[…] I encourage you to multiply the initiatives and activities of each of your Confraternities. I ask you above all to take care of your spiritual formation and to tend to holiness, following the examples of authentic Christian perfection who are not absent from your Confraternities' history. Not a few of your brethren, with courage and great faith, have distinguished themselves in the course of the centuries as sincere and generous labourers of the Gospel, sometimes even to the sacrifice of their life. Follow in their footsteps! Today, it is still most necessary to cultivate a true ascetical and missionary impetus in order to face the many challenges of the modern age. May the Holy Virgin protect and guide you, and may your Patron Saints assist you from Heaven! […]”.
Armand de Malleray, FSSP