May 19, 1988
Dear Friends and Readers:
On May 5, the feast of St. Pius V, there was a first step toward an agreement between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X. This agreement was only theoretical, an agreement in principle that the Society would be allowed to retain the Tridentine Rite of Mass and continue its work with the approval of Rome.
This is of course very good news, but it's just the first step, there's still much that needs to be decided. However, it's interesting to note the date, May 5: in the month of our Blessed Mother, during the Marian year, on the feast of the great defender of the Mass, the Pope who declared that this Mass shall be for all time.
We must continue to pray fervently, for perhaps Our Lord is consoling us by showing us that all our prayers are not in vain. Continue then to beseech Heaven for a good solution, we have good reason to hope for a happy outcome through Our Lady in this year dedicated to her.
Due to the move of the Seminary to Winona, MN., a problem arose in Ridgefield: would we continue the building of the Church, or would we have to demolish it? The city council did not allow for an unfinished building to remain. The expenses of finishing the beautiful church there according to the original plans would just have been prohibitive for the local congregation of our faithful, with no longer the support of all the benefactors of the Seminary. Father Williamson looked for alternatives: moving this building to St. Louis where we need to build a proper church, or finding another way to finish this church without all the original planned expenses. His contractor eventually came up with a solution: for $40,000.00 he will put an exterior finished cover in a synthetic material that will make the church really finished, without covering all the wooden structure which does look nice. The Retreat House will not be able to afford this expense at the beginning, so it will have to be from the Regina Coeli Fund. We are happy to help the Retreat House this way to have such a beautiful Church. I am sure I can count on your help.
We are indeed opening our first full time Retreat House at the beginning of July; it will be called St. Ignatius House; its address will be the present address of the Seminary: 209 Tackora Trail, Ridgefield, CT 06877. (Please write to this address for the schedule of the retreats.) Father Jean Luc Lafitte will come from Davie, FL., to be the Superior there. He is an experienced preacher of Retreats. Father Christopher Hunter, also an experienced preacher of Retreats at St. Mary's will be his assistant. During the months of vacation, there will be retreat after retreat, with just a short break for the weekend, to take care of the different missions around the Seminary. From September they will organize usually one retreat per month at St. Ignatius Retreat House, plus one Parish mission in one or the other chapel which we serve all over the US. I encourage you to follow such a retreat: five days for an eternity! Five days during which you lift yourselves above the temporary things of this world and prepare more seriously your everlasting destiny! It is certainly worth it.
In many places the number of our faithful is growing. Our priests have been obliged to add a second Mass on Sunday in our priories, sometimes even a third! The harvest is great but the labourers are few. Pray, therefore, to the Lord of the harvest that He sends labourers to His harvest! There are many Catholics who had been going to the Novus Ordo for many years and through wonderful ways of the Divine Providence learn about the Traditional Mass, and are very happy to recover their Catholic inheritance of which they had been deprived.
Whatever happens in Rome should not move us spiritually. Archbishop Lefebvre oftentimes said that any exterior event should not move us in our spiritual life; this spiritual life should be based on the Eternal Truth, on the love of Eternal Goods, and therefore we should not be moved by the events of the time. Whatever happens will not change the Deposit of Faith, which we must continue to keep; it will not change the Goodness of the Most Holy Trinity, Which we must continue to adore, love and serve; it will not change the Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ which we must continue to spread. It must not change our fraternal charity based on these eternal truths. Therefore, we must keep our peace, and our work for our Lord Jesus Christ, remaining faithful to the Traditional Mass, catechism, and morals.
I ask each one of you to unite yourselves, at least in spirit and if possible by your presence, with the holy hour of adoration which we have every day in our priories for the great intention of the possible agreement with Rome.
Yours sincerely in Jesus and Mary,
Father Francois Laisney