Letter from U.S. District Superior: August, 2021
The District Superior for the United States, Fr. John Fullerton, recounts the challenges the Catholic Church has faced in the past 18 months, "from COVID to Custodes" and makes assurances of the Society of Saint Pius X's work throughout the United States and world...
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
In this time of crisis, the perseverance and faith of our priests and laypeople have produced incredible fruits.
The number of our faithful has dramatically increased, with many coming to Tradition for the first time. Many of those displaced from their parishes by COVID policies attended Society Masses and confessions for the first time. Perhaps some came out of necessity, but many stayed after the restrictions were lifted.
The reason is not a mystery. As many states labeled Holy Mass as “non-essential,” diocese after diocese closed under government pressure. Beginning Easter of 2020, many bishops banned the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice. Others limited attendance and reverence by forbidding reception of communion on the tongue.
In contrast, the priests of the Society went to great lengths to provide the sacraments to their flock. Our priests, with the assistance of many dedicated faithful, worked tirelessly to comply with state and local regulations—celebrating outdoor Masses, rearranging seating to comply with social distancing guidelines, even offering quadruple the usual number of Sunday Masses to both serve the increase in faithful and keep the sacraments available to all.
In the states with outright bans, our priests turned to legal means to ensure the faithful had access to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. These victories proved the courage of our priests and their dedication to providing the necessary spiritual nourishment in such difficult times.
This wave of newcomers to the SSPX, while a joy, places a severe strain on our already limited infrastructure and resources. Many of our chapels have responded by adding additional Mass times to ensure that no one is turned away. Other chapels are looking to expand or purchase new properties for their growing numbers. Unable to find any existing space for their size, some parishes have decided to build or buy new chapels. In fact, there are around thirty-five ongoing or planned building projects across the country. The most striking project, of course, is the New Immaculata in St. Mary’s, Kansas. This gigantic building will be the largest church in the state and the largest Society-built church globally, able to seat 1,500 parishioners.
These developments were already necessary due to natural growth or COVID-19 restrictions, yet even these plans may not be enough, considering recent events.
With the publication of the Motu Proprio, Traditionis Custodes, Pope Francis revealed his plans to limit severely and ultimately discontinue the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass. This proclamation has caused heartbreak and unrest within the traditional community. Others are anxious that they might be next.
I express my sympathy to those who have already lost their spiritual homes. Rest assured, however, the Society has been given a mission by our founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, to preserve the Mass of All Time. As Fr. Davide Pagliarani, our Superior General, said in his recent letter: “The Society of Saint Pius X has the duty to assist all those souls who are currently in dismay and are confused… we have the duty to offer them the certitude that the Tridentine Mass can never disappear from the face of the earth.”
This new interest also puts terrific demands on Angelus Press and our communications department. People newly discovering the SSPX are hungry for information. Books, web articles, videos, and podcasts are being consumed at an amazing rate. This growth required Angelus Press to purchase a new building earlier this year. As renovations are taking place, it will soon house offices for expanding staff and a state-of-the-art production studio to accommodate the increased demand for our podcasts and videos. Most importantly, Angelus Press provides missals to new converts to Tradition and instructional materials for any priests who want to learn to say the Traditional Latin Mass.
To be sure, all the difficulties of the past year—from COVID to Custodes—have the ultimate purpose of turning souls back to their Creator, and this through the timeless traditions Christ gave to His Church. Thus, they are a true blessing for many souls and, of course, place further demands on us. And, to meet these demands, I need your help.
Most often, it is difficult and humbling to ask for your financial assistance. But, if there ever were a compelling time to ask for your generosity, it’s right now. There is so much at risk—and so much to gain. Souls are in the balance, and the Divine hand seems to be tilting the balance with His grace.
Thus, I ask you, please, to prayerfully consider adding your hand to the balance by offering a sacrificial gift to help us in this great work for souls. Whatever you can give, whether it be $20, $50, $100 (or any amount), it will help continue the work Divine providence has placed in our hands.
Please share this information with others, for if you and everyone else who reads this sends us a gift in support of Tradition, you would play a critical role in saving souls for the greater glory of God.
Yours in the Most Precious Blood,
Fr. John Fullerton