Below is a letter released just yesterday from Fr. Eric Flood, North American District Superior of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), announcing the closure of the 20-year-old St. Gregory's Academy in Elmhurst, Pa. While you can read the official explanation below, Rorate has been given more detail about the Fraternity's reason for walking away from the school after two decades.
According to our sources, when the Academy was started (soon following the founding of the FSSP itself), it was staffed, due to a lack of priests, almost entirely by laymen. In fact, it had only three priests at the school in the beginning. Today, it has only one priest. And, sadly over time, traditional Catholics teaching at the Academy have faced near extinction, with only two currently on the payroll.
For the last several years, the Fraternity has bent over backwards to try and right the ship, and insert more traditional Catholics into the faculty, but to no avail. No longer wanting to fight an uphill battle, they have decided to walk away, keeping the door open to a lay group to take it over. They were close to getting that done last week, but it fell through.
The other problem is that traditional children just weren't being enrolled in high enough numbers. Partly because of the lack of traditional laymen teaching at the school, but mostly because the parents want a true traditional atmosphere for their children, which means a school run mostly by traditional priests -- a uniquely FSSP experience, if you will, much like the SSPX children enjoy.
The good news is -- in addition to the fact that the FSSP was willing to part ways with a school in order to cling to tradition -- is that the Fraternity is looking to start a new American school, possibly in the next year or two. In order to do that, and to do it right, they know they must fill that school with FSSP priests. And with their current numbers, and the growing demand from dioceses for them to start new apostolates, they first need to figure out the priest/teacher question.
Please pray for the increase in their vocations, and that all traditional Catholic children one day will have access to truly Catholic schools, for those who just cannot, for many reasons, school at home.