Newsletter of the District of Asia

 July-August 1999


June 29, 1999 Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul

“ Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest,that he send forth labourers into his harvest.”

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

History still repeats itself. The following story could be written today.

When the young Bishop Sarto, future Pope St Pius X, took possession of his diocese of Mantua, in Italy, he noticed the tragic situation of the diocese and saw that the salvation of the whole diocese depended on the restoration of the seminary. This is what he wrote to his people:

“The Church cannot stand without priests, and the priesthood cannot last unless provision is made for the education of clerics. We must do all in our power to make the seminary flourish once again…

Have you yourselves not witnessed the unused church, the abandoned altar, the empty confessional? Have you not seen young men growing up ignorant of the things essential for their salvation, the sick and dying without the consolations of religion?

Love the Seminary! Let no one allege the scantiness of his income…for there is no one who cannot give a cent, a fruit, a vegetable. Nothing is impossible to him who loves.

Love the Seminary! This is the most necessary for the diocese at the moment. Your small offerings will renew for you the prodigy of the widow of Sarephta, who, for the morsel she gave to the Prophet Elias, received the promise that the pot of meal should not waste nor the cruse of oil diminished.

Love the Seminary! In this you will fulfil the great desire of your bishop and you will merit to see this dear family, the apple of my eye, growing to its fullness.”

To such passionate words and to so ardent an appeal, the whole diocese, clergy and people, rich and poor replied so generously that, within a few years the seminary, already closed for 10 years at the arrival of the saintly Bishop, was able to accommodate 147 seminarians.

St. Bernard Seminary-Sta. Barbara, Iloilo, Philippines as of July 17, 1999

Many of our dioceses are in no better health today, in 1999, than Mantua was then in 1885. We still need priests. In fact, in a sense, we need them more than ever, as we see the growing spread of materialism, liberalism and modernism.

The Society of St Pius X has seen the root of the problem in the deficiencies of the modern priestly formation and has decided to apply the only solution: to open seminaries according to the traditional norms laid down by the Church for centuries, using, as all the Popes have urged us, St Thomas Aquinas as our sure guide in philosophy and theology.

Lo and behold! It has worked! Young men who were searching for a solid priestly training and could not find a ‘normal seminary’ in their diocese or even in their whole country, have signed in the Society’s seminaries in such numbers as to necessitate the opening of 6 seminaries over the last 30 years. You must admit that it is quite an achievement considering the worldwide drop of priestly vocations. As of today, our ranks are lined up with over 380 priests, working in more than 50 countries on the five continents. There are still about 150 seminarians in the formation process, and the numerous elementary and secondary schools opened by the Society of Saint Pius X at the request of concerned parents throughout the world are bearing beautiful fruits, including many present and future solid vocations.

From the time the Society of Saint Pius X began its work in the Philippines in 1992, the effect of the grace of God has become manifest. The numerous vocations to the sacred priesthood and to the brotherhood now call for the opening of the Seventh Seminary of our Society. This coming September 15, we will transfer the existing St. Bernard pre-seminary in Manila to Santa Barbara, Iloilo, where we have built a proper seminary structure on a 5-hectare property. The seminary proper should open its structure on a 5-hectare property. The seminary proper should open its doors, Deo volente, next June 2000, as the month of June, in the Philippines is the beginning of the school year. Alongside the seminarians, we will have a real novitiate for brothers who are the priests’ helpers in the work of harvesting souls. Will you help us to train these young men in the ways of God?

Picture taken after the First Solemn High Mass in the Philippines
of the newly ordained Fr. Salvador – our second Filipino priest –
last July 11, 1999. His Excellency, Bishop Salvador Lazo,
who delivered the sermon on that day, together with Frs. Couture,
Soliman and Onoda assisted the new priest.

“After God, the priest is all. Leave a parish 20 years without a priest, alas! What will happen to it? They will adore the beasts, the plants. Thus, when the enemies of the Church want to destroy the religion, they begin their attacks with the priesthood because where there is no priest, there is no longer a sacrifice. When the priests come back, religion and happiness come back with them!” – St. John Mary Vianney.

Will you help us ‘bring the priests back’? And with them, the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Altar?

Dear Friends, if a glass of water given in Our Lord’s name will not be left without its heavenly reward, what will God give to those who will help the formation of not just a priest, but of priest in a series in a seminary?

Thank you in advance and may “God, who loveth the cheerful giver”, bless you abundantly!

Fr. Daniel Couture

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