Rorate Caeli

Happy 30th Anniversary, FSSP

This week marks 30 years of amazing work by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter.  On 18 July 1988, the Fraternity was founded at the Abbey of Hauterive in Switzerland. As observed at NLM, on 18 October 1988 the Fraternity was canonically founded.

A 30th anniversary celebration is underway in Rome (among other places), with a pilgrimage, Masses and meals.  The Missive, the FSSP North American District's excellent online news site, has shared a summary with photos of the commemoration.  More photos will be added to that page.

Twenty years ago this writer had the opportunity to travel to Rome with friends for the Fraternity's 10th anniversary celebration, running into then-Cardinal Ratzinger randomly on a side street as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith took one of his many solo walks.  He was delighted to meet young men interested in the Fraternity, the Latin Mass and tradition, offering us a blessing in Latin as we knelt on the sidewalk following our conversation.  Before the age of cell phone and digital cameras, our bulky 35 millimeter cameras were (of course!) still in suitcases, so the visual memory remains with the participants.

A supporter (some would say co-founder) of the FSSP from the very start, the future-Pope Benedict XVI was the keynote speaker that day at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Fraternity and the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei, and conference of the Ecclesia Dei communities.  Around 2,500 traditional Catholics packed the Masses, lectures and receptions in late October 1998 to celebrate a decade of the growing priestly society. During the festivities, on 26 October 1998, a letter from Pope John Paul II was read, urging bishops to show charity toward those who wish to worship using the 1962 books.

Looking at the above photo from this week's FSSP pilgrimage in Rome, the Fraternity priests there (the North American superior, ordained in 2009, and the development director, ordained in 2014) were around elementary school age at the time a dozen priests founded the FSSP in 1988.  Today, the average age of a Fraternity priest is 38, and there are over 300 of them.

May they stay strong while continuing to grow.  And may Rorate readers continue to pray for -- and support -- the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, men who have led the way with introducing the 1962 liturgical books to many, many dioceses around the world, including during times of turbulent storms.  As the Fraternity's most prominent friend (the 1998 keynoter) famously wrote:  "What we previously knew only in theory has become for us a practical experience: the Church stands and falls with the Liturgy."