UVA Launches Priest Training Workshops
Joint Effort with FSSP to Train Priests to Celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass
PRESS RELEASEFor Immediate Distribution - March 11, 2007 Publicity flyer (PDF)
Una Voce America is pleased to announce a collaborative program with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) designed to provide training for any priest interested in learning how to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass.
"This program may be the most important effort we've undertaken," said UVA director Jason King recently. "We're grateful to the Fraternity for its generous support of this project."
Training will take place in June 2007 at Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary in Denton, Nebraska, which is located in the diocese of Lincoln. The workshop will last for one week and will be repeated three times (the first, second and fourth weeks of June). Each session will begin on a Monday at noon and end Friday at noon of that week. A priest need only attend one of the three sessions, as the same material will be covered in each one.
The FSSP will be responsible for curriculum and instruction, while UVA will assume primary responsibility for funding and promoting the program.
Over a year in the making
UVA's board of directors began actively discussing the concept of priest training in early 2006, King said. Preparations accelerated last fall amid speculation that Pope Benedict XVI was planning to grant greater freedom for celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal.
"We felt this presented a historic opportunity for the nation's largest lay organization supporting the traditional Latin Mass -- Una Voce America -- to collaborate with a clerical religious institute whose priests actually use the 1962 Missal -- the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter," King stated.
He explained that most if not all American seminarians study only the modern liturgy that became normative following the Second Vatican Council. This has left a gap in knowledge of preconciliar liturgy that the priest training program will begin to address.
According to King, both Una Voce and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter view the faithful's devotion to the Latin liturgical tradition as a "unique charism in support of the new evangelization championed by Pope John Paul II -- a charism that is ever ancient, yet ever new."
Week-long intensive training at Nebraska seminary
The Rev. Calvin Goodwin, FSSP, will be the Fraternity's contact point for interested clergy. He explained that the seminary has prepared a detailed curriculum (with books and an instructional DVD/CD) and has designated priests and deacons to teach and assist.
According to Fr. Goodwin, the workshops will cover not only the rubrics but also the liturgical principles underlying the rubrics.
"Priests will learn not only how far to raise their hands and how to pronounce the Latin, for example, but how the various gestures and prayers fit into the liturgical prayer of the Church, and reflect the Faith itself," Fr. Goodwin said.
"No prior experience with the traditional Mass is needed, and the course is open to all priests regardless of their level of Latin proficiency," he emphasized. "In fact, our instructors are eager to work even with those priests who have no previous Latin training at all."
Fr. Goodwin added that the curriculum, although very intensive, was designed specifically to accommodate today's busy clergy.
"It's often difficult for priests to learn these things from a video or book in their spare time -- they're pulled in a thousand different directions in their parishes," Fr. Goodwin explained. "Here at the seminary, without distractions, they will be able to ask questions and get the answers and encouragement they need," he added.
UVA to make financial aid available
Cost for the program will depend on the number of participants, but is estimated at $300 per priest. This sum will cover all course materials, which the priest may keep, as well as room and board for the week of the priest's stay. Una Voce America has offered to help any priest who needs financial assistance.
"Una Voce America is committed to raising sufficient funds to enable every interested priest to receive instruction on the proper celebration of the traditional Latin Mass," King said.
Una Voce America and the Priestly Fraternity expect to offer the PTP sessions on a periodic basis in the future. They also will establish a waiting list for priests who are unable to attend one of the June 2007 sessions or who cannot be accommodated by the limited space available in the initial sessions.
UVA is calling on its chapters, affiliates, and individual members to support this effort with prayers and financial contributions. Those who wish to support this program financially can send donations to Una Voce-Syracuse, PO Box 993, Oswego NY 13126. Checks should be designated for "priest training."
Program will support Vatican initiative
Although the priest training program was inspired in part by numerous reports that Pope Benedict XVI intends to free the traditional Latin Mass from the restrictions that now prevent its widespread celebration, UVA doesn't want to "presume too much on his decision," commented R. Michael Dunnigan, chairman of the organization.
Nonetheless, he added, "The Holy Father has been a courageous and eloquent defender of the traditional Mass, and if his will is to grant wider access to it, then we certainly want to do our part to promote the conditions that will help to achieve this goal."
Some bishops and other critics have opposed freedom for the traditional Mass, expressing concern that priests lacking adequate training may celebrate the Mass improperly. Dunnigan believes that these fears are misplaced.
"In addition to being sacramental ministers, priests are skilled professionals who take pride in their work," he said. "As a result, very few would be inclined to celebrate this Mass in public before they are fully prepared to do so."
In any event, Dunnigan pointed out that the priest training program sponsored by UVA and the FSSP is a cause that both proponents and critics of the traditional Mass can support.
"To the extent that the critics argue in favor of proper training, the traditionalist community fully supports this goal," Dunnigan said. "In fact, the very mission of the priest training program is to ensure that every priest who wishes to celebrate this Mass will receive the instruction that he needs to do so properly and reverently."
To receive more information or to make a reservation, interested priests should contact Fr. Goodwin at (402) 797-7700 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: Attn: Mass Workshops, O.L.G. Seminary, P.O. Box 147, Denton, NE. 68339.
Priests in need of aid may inquire in confidence to UVA, c/o Mr. Jason King, PO Box 1146, Bellevue, WA 98009-1146.