My Lords, Dear Family of
My Dear Confreres, Dear Seminarians,
The long and painful Calvary
of Father La Praz is over. We are gathered here around his remains,
the remains of one who certainly was a man beyond the ordinary,
beyond the usual limits. Your large numbers testify to it: you find
in our dear deceased, graces which the Good God gives only to exceptional
I feel it is my duty, first
of all, to render my homage to the dear family, to the dear Mother,
who sustained him all along during these years of suffering, who
was always near him and who thus gave us the example of a true Christian
family. Neither must I omit to thank the doctors of the various
hospitals where Fr. La Praz was treated, for their generosity. I
also wish to thank the hospital personnel who cared for him so well
during these long years of suffering.
extraordinary Man. We
have just said that our dear deceased was an extraordinary man.
First of all in his human qualities: he was a man of culture, well
trained, a polite man, a man with a penetrating intelligence, endowed
with a great energy and a very great heart. However, what would
these human qualities be without the supernatural order, without
faith which enlightens the intellect, without faith which inflames
the heart? Fr. La Praz, my dear Confreres, was a man of a vivid
faith, a profound faith, a working faith and of an extraordinary
He was priest and a friend
of priests. Throughout all his years of illnesses, he was very near
to his confreres. He always welcomed them with a smile and with
gratitude, on his hospital bed, advising them, encouraging them,
uniting his sufferings with the trials of their apostolate. The
numerous visits he received in hospital are the proof that we all
felt that an interior strength, a spiritual shining, came forth
Fr. La Praz was a man of
faith, a man of charity. It is this very same charity which compelled
him to take an interest in the growth of "Tradiffusion"1
. He had become, in
a certain sense, its spiritual father. He was interested in all
the missionary and apostolic travels of his confreres. He never
had greater joy than to hear of the various events marking the life
of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X. Indeed he vibrated with the
Society, with his whole heart, with his whole soul.
was also a mystic soul. My
dear Brethren, he was not a man with human qualities only, with
a vivid faith and a profound charity. I am able to say that he was
also a mystic soul to whom God had offered extraordinary graces.
Let us simply recall that which he received on Good Friday, 1982
when, having been brought the day before to the Intensive Care Unit,
he was like dead.
That day, Archbishop Lefebvre
went to see him incognito and as soon as our Founder was near him,
behold! Father La Praz recovered his senses and began to live again.
His soul remained marked deeply by this.
of the Priest such as Archbishop Lefebvre wished it.
He was indeed carried towards Divine Love. Yes, his submission to
the Will of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is thus that he achieved the
model of the priest such as Archbishop Lefebvre, our dear Founder,
had before his eyes when he started the Priestly Society of St.
Pius X. .Thus he gave us a model of priest and of victim.
The whole life of Fr. La
Praz was marked by this fourfold motto: Prayer – Work – Charity
Firstly prayer. Before ever
joining the seminary, he worked for the priory in Geneva where he
felt this urge to mental prayer. He did not spend a few minutes
only in meditation but hours. When he then entered the Seminary,
he became a man of interior life, in union with God. He was a spiritual
man, a man of action. When he seemed at the end of his strength,
all of a sudden he was resurfacing and rapidly resuming his apostolate.
As soon as his legs could carry him, he was going to Bulle to the
offices of “Tradiffusion” to check the accounts or to order books…
What should we say of his
zeal with the souls entrusted to his care? He was the spiritual
father of a great number of souls. The supernatural fecundity of
this priest was extraordinary : how many among you could testify
to the graces received through his intercession?
He was therefore a man of
prayer but also a man of work. He never complained of his sufferings.
He never had any self-pity. He humbled himself, he handed himself
to suffering; he forgot his own sufferings, wanting only one thing:
to work for the Kingdom of God.
Man of Calvary. Fr. La Praz was a man of charity, a man of Calvary.
He was priest, he was victim. He had perfectly understood that the
priest must merit the graces he wants to give through his ministry.
These graces are gained by suffering. All his life was therefore
marked by the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ. My dear friends, is
it not providential to find in today's martyrology reading, the
mention of Saint Mary Magdalen of Pazzi? Her motto was: "To
suffer but not to die." Was it not also the motto of our dear
deceased? Is it not remarkable too that in the Matins reading of
today's Office, we find this word of St. John: "Credidimus
caritati –we have believed in charity" (I John IV, 16)? It
was the motto of our Founder. In all these facts, there is more
than a mere coincidence! There we find the sign of a plan willed
by Divine Providence which sets out everything according to its
Thus, Fr. La Praz offered
his sufferings for the Church and in particular for the Society,
for its Bishops, for its Superiors. He told me so many times. Once,
in a discussion, just after a blood sample had, rather painfully,
been taken from an artery, he said that the pain could be compared
to a crucifixion. Then he revealed to me that he was offering a
needle for such a seminarian, another one for such a priest, another
for a sister… Here is a priest who knows what is the Holy Sacrifice
of the Mass! Here is a priest who offers himself with the Victim
of our altars.
He has seen and felt in a
very special way, the crisis of Faith which is happening today.
In the lights which the Good God gave him, he intimately understood
that there is no other solution to this tragedy than the offering
of oneself out of love for God and that one must pay the price of
redemption. Wilfully he offered himself. Is it not incredible that
at the end of his life, all his immune system was gone, just as
those people affected with AIDS? Thus, he has carried the consequences
of sin without having committed it himself after the example
of Jesus Christ. Is it not meaningful also that in his last days,
after a last operation which lasted, again, four hours, Fr. La Praz
lost even the use of his speech? As to signify that he wished to
expiate for a Church whose representatives have lost the preaching
of the Catholic Faith.
My dear Friends, the mystery
of the Church was and is indeed present in our dear deceased. It
is thus that Our Lord called him back to Himself in the night of
Thursday to Friday, at the moment of His agony and of the night
tribunals when Our Lord was prisoner just as the Church nowadays
is a prisoner of its errors. It was also just a few minutes after
Ascension Thursday, as to make us understand that these sufferings
lead to the Resurrection, lead to the glory and that Christian life
is merely a long Calvary. It is while carrying the Cross that one
merits the grace of the Good God, that one merits the Beatific Vision.
model priest calling us to imitate him. In a few moments,
dear Seminarians, his remains will be brought to their last abode.
In the crypt of Ecône, we will have in our midst a worthy model,
which urges us to imitate him.
We all believe that having
lost Fr. La Praz on this earth, we will have him as intercessor
with God. He is now likened to Our Lord Jesus Christ, eternal High
Priest in his heavenly liturgy.
Having before our eyes such
a life and such a death, each and every one of us can only thank
God for having given him to us. Are his life and his death not the
best apologia for our work, for the very existence of the Priestly
Society of St. Pius X? What is the worth of all the reasons of the
modernists against our work in the face of such an example? One
must have virtue! There is holiness! There is the mark of the Church!
We do indeed find this heroic virtue in our confrere.
At this moment, it is therefore
a feeling of gratitude towards the Good God which imposes itself
on us because we do not forget that Fr. La Praz suffered and underwent
his calvary not only for the Society as a whole but also for each
one of us.
Let us ask the Most Blessed
Virgin Mary that, if ever the least shadow subsisted on the soul
of our friend in front of the absolute Sanctity of God, She may
lead him to Our Lord, to her Divine Son in order to find the reward
well merited during these long hours in hospital spent in suffering,
in the course of the 130 operations which he endured.
My dear Friends, this day
is a day of recollection. It is an important moment for us all.
We need to know how to be thankful that the Good God has given us
such a priest and such a model for the Priestly Society of St. Pius
The name "Tradiffusion" comes from the combination of
“Diffusion of Tradition” – Translator's note.
La Praz visiting some of his faithful in Enney (1991)