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Chapter 12

Sermon of Fr. Franz Schmidberger at the funeral

The funeral of Fr. La Praz

“Consummatum Est.”

My Lords, Dear Family of the deceased,

My Dear Confreres, Dear Seminarians, Dear Faithful,

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 souls.

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.

An 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 charity.

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 from him.

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.


He 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.


Model 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 – Suffering.

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.


A 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 good will.

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.


A 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 X.

1. The name "Tradiffusion" comes from the combination of “Diffusion of Tradition” – Translator's note.


Father La Praz visiting some of his faithful in Enney (1991)



Chapter 11

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