SAJM Statutes: Part I
[In this first installment, we offer the Statutes of the SAJM, preceded by a general Preface by His Excellency, Bishop Jean Michel Faure. In a subsequent post, we will offer some commentary regarding the few changes between them and the SSPX Statutes upon which they were based (indicated by red font below). -SP]
STATUTES OF THE PRIESTLY SOCIETY OF THE APOSTLES OF JESUS AND MARY
After several months of reflection, we are able to promulgate the final statutes of the SAJM.
The statutes of the SAJM intend to keep intact the spirit of the statutes given by Mgr Lefebvre to the FSSPX. In addition, they aim to preserve the letter as much as possible in the current circumstances.
Thus, some articles of the statutes of the SSPX which have become anachronistic have been removed, for example those that relate to some coordination with the diocesan clergy (Chap. III, No. 5, Chap IV, No. 1 and No. 2).
We also felt it necessary to add some rules to protect the new congregation from the danger of deviation to one side or the other, such as the absolute prohibition of an agreement with liberal and modernist Rome (Chap. II, No. 5) or the dismissal standards of the Superior General (Chap. V, No. 2). If there had been similar provisions in the statutes of the SSPX, it might have prevented the Fraternity from becoming involved in the serious deviation we are witnessing today.
We have added rules on the amendment of the statutes (Chap. IX) which are not in the SSPX statutes.
Finally, the statutes contain various transitional provisions, made necessary because it is a congregation in the course of formation which obviously cannot depend on the Roman authorities, who try to destroy the Church.
The Catholic Church is hierarchical and monarchical by divine institution. It will never change, no matter how deep the crises it goes through in history. Thus, these two properties must be maintained in any truly Catholic congregation, without yielding to the temptation to mitigate them for fear that, misusing them, the Superiors will divert the congregation, as is currently happening in the SSPX. It is not permitted to innovate in this area, and especially not in a liberal way that would weaken the principle of authority.
May these statutes help members to be faithful followers of Jesus and Mary. In S. Jn. XVII, 17, Our Lord addresses this prayer to his Father for his disciples: “Sanctifica eos in Veritate. Sermo tuus Veritas est”. He also teaches us that charity comes from the knowledge of the true Faith: eternal, supernatural life begins here below with the knowledge of the Father and the Son -work of the Holy Spirit- which becomes divine life in the soul of those who believe and become “participants in the divine nature” (II Pe, I, 4).
“Euntes ergo docete omnes gentes” (Mt XXVII, 19)
+ Christian Jean Michel Faure
Avrillé, November 21, 2017, on the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Statutes of the Priestly Society of the Apostles of Jesus and Mary
Statutes approved by Bishop Jean Michel Faure. The text is based on the 1976 statutes of the FSSPX (as modified by the General Chapter of 1982).
I. DE SODALITII DEDICATIONE: The Spirit of the Society
- The Society is a priestly society of common life without vows, after the example of the Societies of Foreign Missions. Nevertheless, it is founded in a spirit of profound Faith and perfect obedience, following in the wake of the Divine Master.
- The Society is essentially apostolic, because such is the Sacrifice of the Mass and because, as a rule, the members will have to exercise an exterior ministry. They will live with the conviction that the whole efficacy of their apostolate flows from the Sacrifice of Our Lord, which they offer daily.
- The Society is placed especially under the atronaje of Jesus, the High Priest. For Our Lord’s whole existence was and remains priestly, and the Sacrifice of the Cross was the reason for His Incarnation. Thus the life of the Society’s members, for whom “Mihi vivere Christus est” is a reality, is entirely directed towards the Sacrifice of the Mass which prolongs Our Lord’s Sacred Passion.
- It is also under the aegis of Mary, Mother of the Priest par excellence, and through Him Mother of all priests, in whom she forms her Son. She reveals to them the profound motives for their virginity, a condition for the flowering of their Priesthood.
II. DE SODALITII FINE: The Purpose of the Society
- The Society’s purpose is the priesthood and all that pertains to it and nothing but what concerns it; i.e., the priesthood as Our Lord Jesus Christ willed it when He said, “Do this for a commemoration of me.
- The Society must therefore orient the priest towards — and have him concretize in his daily life what is essentially his raison d’être: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, with all that it means, all that flows from it, and all that complements it.
- The Society’s members will therefore have a true and continual devotion towards their Holy Mass, towards the Liturgy which enshrines it, and towards everything which contributes to make the Liturgy more expressive of the Mystery accomplished in it. They will be anxious to leave nothing undone in preparing spiritually and materially for the Sacred Mysteries. A profound theological knowledge of the Sacrifice of the Mass will convince them always more firmly-that the whole Revelation, the Mystery of Faith, the completion of the Mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption, and the whole efficacy of the apostolate are accomplished in this sublime reality.
- Members who are not priests, and affiliated sisters when God raises them up, will have a devotion to the places and objects used in the Liturgy. They will diligently enhance the splendor of the Liturgy through music, singing, and all that can legitimately contribute to raising souls towards the realities of Heaven, towards the Holy Trinity, and towards the company of the Angels and the Saints.
- Since the Second Vatican Council, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Catholic doctrine and the whole life of the Church, have been attacked by the liberal and modernist hierarchy. Because the Catholic priesthood has the essential duty to fight liberalism and modernism in the defense of the divine rights violated, the Society rejects any possibility of canonical regularization by bilateral agreement, unilateral recognition, or in any way whatsoever, as long as the Catholic hierarchy does not return to the Tradition of the Church.
III. DE SODALITII OPERIBUS: The Society’s Activities
They include all the works necessary for the formation of priests and whatever pertains thereto, whether the candidates be destined to be members of the Society or not. Care must be taken that the training attain its main objective: the priest’s holiness, together with sufficient knowledge. Nothing, therefore, will be left undone so that piety may be directed towards and flow from the Liturgy of the Holy Mass, which is the heart of theology, of pastoral activity, and of the Church’s life.
For this reason it is desirable that the seminary community be connected with a parish or a shrine, so that the seminarians may gradually gain experience in the performance of priestly duties under the guidance of experienced and zealous members of the Society.
In accordance with the wishes and prescriptions so often renewed by popes and Councils, the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas and its philosophical principles will be the main subject of study at the seminary. The seminarians will thus carefully avoid modern errors, particularly Liberalism and all its substitutes.
The second purpose of the Society is to assist priests in their sanctification by providing them with opportunities for retreats and recollections. The Society’s houses could be headquarters for priestly associations, for third orders, for periodicals and magazines dedicated to the sanctification of priests.
The Society will seek to inculcate a sense of the greatness and nobility of the vocation of assistant in the service of the altar and all that is related to it: participation in the Liturgy, in the Sacraments, in the teaching of catechism and more generally in all that helps the priest in his parish ministry, the housework in rectories and seminaries. The Society’s members will take particular spiritual care of persons, whether religious or not, who dedicate themselves to this ideal under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph.
Schools, really free from any constraint so as to be able to give a thoroughly Christian education to the young, will be fostered and even founded by members of the Society. From these schools will come vocations and Christian homes.
The Society will willingly come to the assistance of aged, infirm, and even unfaithful priests.
IV. DE DIVERSIS MODIS INHIERENDI SODALITIO: The Different Ways of Belonging to the Society
- Although essentially clerical, the Society also gladly welcomes non-clerical aspirants, who have their own special statutes and take religious vows.
- The Society also welcomes associates, whether priests or laymen, who wish to collaborate in working for the Society’s purpose and to profit by its grace for their personal sanctification. After a minimum of two years’ experience in a house of the Society, these persons may sign an engagement, a sort of contract with the District Superior or the Seminary Rector, specifying the conditions under which they are accepted. They may freely dispose of their possessions, but agree to conform to the Society’s spirit in their use.
- For clerics, entrance into the Society is accomplished by the engagement to remain faithful to the statutes publicly expressed before the Superior General or his delegate, and in front of the Blessed Sacrament. This engagement cannot take place before a year’s preparation in a house of the Society.
- Clerics during their years of training up to the subdiaconate, will make annual engagements. After the subdiaconate they may bind themselves for three years and, after a three-year renewal of the engagement, bind themselves permanently.Priests who join the Society must make at least a three-year engagement before binding themselves permanently. The brothers, according to their particular statutes, after three years of annual vows and six other years of either annual vows or three-year vows take their final vows.
- Engagements are renewed by all the members every year on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th. Those who renew according to the regulations in the statutes and those who renew out of devotion recite only the act of oblation. Only the former sign the acts. On this blessed day, let all the members, priests or future-priests, ask the Virgin Most Faithful for the grace of fidelity to their engagements and the grace of perfect unity in charity for the whole Society.
V. DE SODALITII ADMINISTRATIONE: The Administration of the Society
A) The first Superior General will be H.E. Bishop Jean Michel Faure, founder of the Society. He will perform this function for the duration he decides. As long as the Society is composed of less than fifty member priests, subsequent Superiors General will be appointed by Mgr. Faure, or, in the absence of the latter, by an absolute majority of former Superiors General.
B) The function of Assistants of the Superior General will be created as soon as the Society has fifty member priests.]
The Superior General and his two Assistants are elected by the General Chapter for four years. They may be re-elected.
The Superior General must be elected by a two-thirds majority, the Assistants by an absolute majority. All three must have made their final engagement in the Society, be priests, and be at least thirty years old.
The Supreme Council:
There is created a Supreme Council (SC) composed of three clerics who, as far as possible, should be members of the Society.
After the end of the mandate of Bishop Christian Jean-Michel Faure, this Council, acting by a majority, will have the power to dismiss a Superior General who would divert the Society to liberal positions or adopt a behavior requiring such a measure.
The dismissal decree can not be made the object of an appeal or other recourse. In conjunction with the dismissal, the Council will have to appoint an Acting Superior General who can be one of the members of the SC. The impeachment decree and the appointment of the Acting Superior General must be in writing, dated and signed by a majority of the members of the SC.
Within one month from the date of the decree of dismissal, the Acting Superior General will have to convene a general chapter to elect a new Superior General. This chapter must take place within three months of the date of dismissal.
The members of the Council will be irremovable. The first three members of the Council will be appointed by Bishop Faure. Each of these Councilors will designate his successor either by a document signed by the Councilor and by three witnesses identified by their surname and first name, sex, date and place of birth, nationality, address and passport or identity card number, or by a written notice sent to the other two members of the Council. When a member of the Council appoints his successor, he will inform the other two members as soon as possible. If a Councilor dies without having designated his successor, he will be appointed by the other two members of the Council. If two members die without having designated their successors, they will be appointed by the surviving Councilor. What is said about death also applies to other reasons for vacancy: non-acceptance of the office, resignation, permanent incapacity, etc. If one of the Councilors is appointed to the post of Superior General, the two other Councilors will appoint a replacement; but when he is no longer Superior General -unless he has been dismissed by the SC- he will become ipso facto Counselor, and his replacement will no longer be. If two Councilors designate the same cleric to succeed them, he will have to appoint another Counselor as soon as possible.
The General Chapter:
It meets every four years for the election of the Superior General and his Assistants. It also has as its purpose to examine whether the Society is conscientiously applying the statutes and striving to keep their spirit. Let them be careful not to introduce updates or innovations, unless on occasion in the chapter on administration, in consideration of the Society’s growth.
Members of the General Chapter:
The members of the General Chapter are:
- The outgoing Superior General and his two Assistants; the Secretary General and the General Bursar
- District Superiors
- Seminary Rectors
- Superiors of autonomous houses
- The bishops at the service of the Society
- Former Superior Generals
Then are designated the priest members of longest standing in the Society who have made their definitive engagement (and in the case of equality, the eldest in years of ordination, then by physical age), in the proportion of one third of the members ex officio, so long as the Society has fewer than a thousand priest members.
- By the Superior General after consultation with his Assistants in Council:
- The Secretary General and the General Bursar, for six years
- District Superiors, for six years
- Rectors of major seminaries
- Superiors of autonomous houses
- Professors, after consultation with the Rector
- Rector of the year of spirituality
- Master of Novices for the brothers
- By District Superiors:
- The District Assistant(s), the District Bursar, and local superiors, after approval by the Superior General
- To other charges
- By the Superior General after consultation with his Assistants in Council:
The Superior General and his Assistants
The General Council is composed of the Superior General and his two Assistants. The Superior General governs and administers the Society. He consults his Assistants for important decisions. The Assistants are the Superior General’s advisers; they have a deliberative voice in the most important affairs. The First Assistant is Vicar General of the Superior General, i.e., he replaces him in case he is prevented from fulfilling his office or if the office of Superior General is vacant.
[Provisional norm: as long as there are no Assistants, the Secretary General will be Vicar General of the Superior General]
The General Council may call upon the services of visitors from various Districts. The General Council will call for meetings of the District Superiors, the Seminary Rectors, and superiors of autonomous houses, and will set up any other meeting useful for the good of the Society.
The Superior General and his two Assistants will do all they judge useful to preserve, foster, and increase a great generosity, a profound spirit of Faith, and a burning zeal in the service of the Church and of souls in the hearts of all those in charge and of all the other members of the Society.
To this end they will organize and direct spiritual exercises, and meetings which will help to save the Society from lapsing into tepidity, and into compromises with the spirit of the world. They will give an example of priestly virtues in their attitudes and their daily lives.
They will foster a lively and enlightened faith by providing libraries well stocked with the documents of the Church’s Magisterium and by publishing magazines or periodicals liable to help the faithful to strengthen and defend their Catholic Faith.
These directives hold also, mutatis mutandis, for all superiors and especially for District Superiors.
The Secretary General:
The Secretary General sees to the preparation and the reports of the meetings of the General Council. He informs the concerned parties of the decisions taken, after having submitted them to the Superior General for his signature.
He is responsible for keeping the records and the individual files of the members. He is also in charge of reminding the members that they have to renew their engagements. He does so through the District Superior or his secretary. He makes sure that the ordination records are kept up to date.
The General Bursar:
The General Bursar ensures that the legal situation of the Society’s associations in the various countries is normal. Where districts have been set up, he examines this situation with the District Superior or Bursar.
Before the district has been set up, he prepares and moderates the associations together with the members of these associations. He looks after the legality of acquisitions in these regions and the proper administration of funds and legacies.
He administers the Society’s funds and the real estate belonging to it outside the districts. The funds consist of the surpluses from regions not yet organized as districts, and of gifts and legacies bestowed directly on the Society.
He verifies the financial records of the districts.
Consequently, his role is:
- to manage and control the Society’s associations and funds outside the districts;
- to check the associations and financial records of the districts in this domain, and to give an account to the Superior General and to his Council.
- He has no decision-making power.
- He is consulted for the appointments of District Bursars.
- He strives to establish a simple and uniform accounting method for all the districts as well as for the priories.
- He looks after insurance problems of all kinds.
- Through all his relationships with those in charge in the Society, he tries to inculcate in them the spirit of penance and of poverty, and also of prudence.
Seminary Rector and the Status of Seminaries:
Since priestly training is the first and main purpose of the Priestly Society, responsibility for this training is incumbent primarily on the Superior General and on his Council. With the help of his Council, it belongs to him to appoint Seminary Rectors and Professors “ad nutum.” He must see to the good running of the seminaries either personally or through delegates. He provides Seminary Rectors with various regulations to make their task easier. Seminary Rectors thus have a great and noble duty to fulfill before God, before Our Lord, before the Church, for their glory and the good of souls. It is the only visible function that Our Lord saw fit to perform openly during His three years of public life. While taking care of the formation of priests, they must also keep in mind the formation of future professors.
- Acceptance of Seminarians:
They receive requests for enrollment in the seminary through the District Superiors, who submit the files and express their opinions. It is desirable that candidates come for a short stay at the seminary. After examination and consultation with his collaborators, the Seminary Rector decides to admit or refuse them or to postpone their admission. Candidates must not be more than thirty-five years old.
- Dependance During Seminary Training:
Throughout their years of training, seminarians are constantly and in the first instance dependent upon the Seminary Rector. For their vacations, however, the latter will consult with the District Superiors for a profitable use of them, according to the regulations of the seminary. The Seminary Rector has the final responsibility and makes the decision.
- Prolongation of Studies or Dismissal:
The Rector also decides, after consulting with his colleagues, to prolong the studies of some or to dismiss others. In the latter case, he notifies the District Superior and arranges with him to facilitate, if need be, their reintegration into the lay state.
- All Seminaries are International:
The seminaries will all be considered international, for it is desirable that seminarians from other nationalities be received in them, if they have no difficulty with the language. In the case of a candidate for whom a seminary already exists in his language, authorization should be sought from the District Superior, who will consult with the Superior General.
- District Superiors and the Seminaries:
District Superiors, being the first to benefit from the training of young priests, must take a great interest in their recruitment and training. They will interest the faithful in this capital work through continual prayers, through First Mass ceremonies, and by speaking about it in their bulletins.
- Board and Tuition:
District Superiors also will try to find benefactors to pay for the board and tuition of those who cannot pay for it themselves.
When the seminary which is in their district or trains their priests has to be built or enlarged, District Superiors will strive to help the Superior General and the Seminary Rector for the achievement of the construction.
- Visits to the Seminarians:
District Superiors may certainly take an interest in their seminarians and visit them. Nevertheless, they must avoid whatever might hamper the work of the Rector; on the contrary, they must facilitate it in every way. They must bear in mind that the Church has never preferred quantity to quality.
- Pastoral Assistance from the Seminary to the District:
Seminary Rectors, on their part, will avoid whatever might hamper the District Superior. On the contrary, as far as possible, they will gladly offer their own services and those of their priest-professors to help in the pastoral work of the district, it, being understood that this pastoral work rests first of all with the District Superior. They will refrain from appealing to the generosity of the faithful without the authorization of the District Superior. It is the District Superior who determines the collections to be taken up; and their use. Consequently he also determines the collections for the seminary.
Nevertheless, the seminary will, of course, have a bank account into which benefactors who so desire may deposit their offerings.
- Acceptance of Seminarians:
The District Superior:
- He is appointed by the Superior General in his Council for a renewable three-year term. The limits of his district are indicated to him at that time.
- This office is evidently one of the most important; it resembles that exercised by Provincials over their provinces. For a whole region is entrusted to their apostolate.
- He must put to good use the talents and zeal of his fellow priests for the accomplishment of the Priestly Society’s work.
- He is responsible, therefore, to the Superior General for the wise pastoral, spiritual, and temporal administration of his district. As soon as possible, he seeks the help of two assistants and of a District Bursar, whom he presents to the General Superior for appointment after consultation with the General Bursar.
- He submits the names of priory superiors to the Superior General for his approval and then he himself appoints their assistants. He also gives their assignments to the brothers entrusted to him.
- He prepares the files of aspirants to the priesthood and consigns them to the seminary rectors, who decide upon the acceptance.
- Little by little, he organizes the foundation of priories and houses for spiritual exercises. He looks after the pastoral, spiritual, and temporal good order of the communities, according to the statutes and spirit of the Priestly Society.
- Nevertheless, for the foundation or closing of a priory he asks an authorization from the Superior General.
- He strives to set up communities of at least three members or associates of the Society.
- He also organizes the establishment of communities of Sisters of the Society, together with the priory superiors and the agreement of the Sisters’ Superior General.
- He supervises all bulletins and publications issued in his district. He grants authorizations for interviews with the press, radio, or television, with prudence and discretion. All dealings with the civil authorities must pass through him, as must also those with ecclesiastical authorities.
- He authorizes the opening of accounts, the depositing in banks of the funds of priories and of the district. For an expenditure of more than 30,000 Swiss francs, he must obtain an authorization from the Superior General.
- He watches over the spiritual and bodily health of his collaborators; and in agreement with the Seminary Rector, he takes care of the vacations of the seminarians and, if he deems it necessary, gives the Seminary Superior a report on this subject.
- He organizes spiritual exercises for the priests, brothers, and associates of his district.
The superiors of autonomous houses, which are districts in formation, are assimilated to District Superiors.
The Superiors, and Particularly the Local Superiors:
To complete what has been said above, a few special directives will help local superiors in the proper discharge of their duty, which is essential to the efficacy of the apostolate and the good spirit in the Society.
One of their major concerns must be’ for the good order of the community, which facilitates the apostolic work accomplished by the community. To this end they will see to it that the hours of common exercises be known by all. They will have them posted, and have a signal given to warn all members: fathers, brothers, and associates. Community prayers are said in common even when only two members are present.
Superiors see to it that community rooms —the chapel especially, but also the dining room, the meeting hall, the recreation room, the library— are clean and adequately furnished. If they are bursars, they are careful about hygiene both in the kitchen and for the food.
They distribute assignments both inside and outside the community. They take care of directing and facilitating the work of the brothers and of the household employees.
They will strive to promote the sanctification of the brothers and household employees. It is in the true Liturgy and in common prayer that the unity and charity of the community are forged.
Local superiors will also pay special attention to the vocations of priests, brothers, and nuns. They are also responsible for the chaplaincy of the Sisters of the Society if there is a community in the priory’s area.
It belongs especially to them to give proof of the Society’s providential foundation through the supernatural peace, serenity, strength in joy, total trust in Our Lord and His Holy Mother; through their unfailing attachment to the Roman Church and to the Successor of Peter acting as a true Successor of Peter; and through their respect for bishops faithful to the grace of their consecration.
They will have a boundless devotion to the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in keeping with the infinity of His Kingship over persons, families, and societies. If they must express a political preference, it will always be in accordance with the social Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
They will spread this devotion through the true Sacrifice of the Mass and through devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, as well as through devotion to the most Blessed Virgin Mary.
VI. DE SODALIUM VIRTUTIBUS: The Virtues of Members
(This chapter merely outlines the main directions. A more elaborate spiritual and pastoral directory will be written for the members of the Society.)
- A great love of God, of the Holy Trinity, will inflame the hearts of the members of the Society. This charity must be such as to naturally engender chastity and poverty, to constantly urge them to the gift of self through Faith and ready, generous, and loving obedience.
- This charity will arouse hunger and thirst for the virtue of Justice, giving first of all to God what is due to Him through the virtue of Religion. The interior dispositions of devotion, adoration, and prayer will help them to perform with the greatest perfection the most sublime Act of Christian Prayer: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
- Charity toward Jesus in the Eucharist and toward His Holy Mother, ever present at His Offering, will spur members of the Society to ardent devotion to the Eucharist and to the Virgin Mary, in her Compassion with Jesus, Priest and Victim for the redemption of our sins.
- Nourished by this constant interior prayer, charity toward neighbor will manifest itself in the whole apostolic life of the members of the Society. In their avid desire to save souls, they will accept with joy all contradictions, humiliations, and trials in following Our Lord. Like Him, they will win souls through humility, gentleness, discretion, and magnanimity. In the performance of apostolic works, they will strive to be docile instruments of the Holy Ghost, in order to transmit eternal life to souls.
- This fraternal charity will be first manifested towards superiors, by a generous submission and constant respect, and towards members of the community, by a spontaneous spirit of service, by self-forgetfulness, by a great simplicity and frankness, by a constant evenness of temper and contagious joy, and, last but not least, by a desire for the sanctification of each and every one.
The virtue of religion and detachment from the world are expressed also in external attire. The habit of the members of the Society is the cassock. The cassock is both a testimony and a sermon. It repels wicked spirits and those subject to them; it attracts upright and religious souls. It greatly facilitates the apostolate.
The superiors judge whether it is fitting to wear the black clerical suit and Roman collar in countries, such as the Anglo-Saxon countries, where they have been customary for a very long time.
As immodesty and concupiscence of the flesh more and more invade society, so does the presence of the cassock prove to be more necessary.
Poverty, which is an immediate effect of the virtue of charity, strongly urges us to free ourselves from any needless expense or useless object. That is why the members of the Society will avoid contracting the habit of smoking, which becomes a slavery. They will be careful to break with the habits of the world, which has become a slave to radio, television, vacations, and costly leisure.
Hence, there shall be no television set in our communities. A few chosen newspapers and a selection of magazines will be sufficient to give us useful information.
Our true television is the Tabernacle, where dwells He Who puts us in communication with all the spiritual and temporal realities.
In the choice of the cars, which would be necessary for their charge or their apostolate, they will use moderation.
VII. DE SODALIUM SANCTIFICATIONIS MEDIIS ORDINARIIS: The ordinary means of sanctification of the members
- In order to grow daily in these virtues, in union with God, in submission to the Spirit of Our Lord, the members will take it to heart never to omit celebrating or attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, except in case of force majeure. They will consider it a singular grace to serve Holy Mass.
- In the communities, there shall ordinarily be four times of prayer in common. The first is in the morning and comprises: Recitation of Prime, (or Lauds on Sundays and holy days of obligation). Mental prayer. Holy Mass. Thanksgiving. Priests, by adding the time needed, may profitably recite a part of their breviary during this first period.
- The second time of prayer, as far as possible, will be before lunch. The hour of Sext shall be recited. The third, as far as possible, will be before dinner. It includes the Rosary and the prayers to St. Michael the Archangel and to St. Joseph. At the beginning of this half-hour of prayer, benefactors and special intentions will be recommended.
- The fourth time will be after the evening meal; it is Compline, sung as far as possible, or chanted. A free period of mental prayer is advised at this time, still in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Compline may be sung either immediately after the meal or after a recreation, but never before the meal. Recreation must never follow this evening prayer, after which silence must be observed more carefully.
- Superiors will see to it that the Blessed Sacrament is often exposed during the third time of prayer or at another favorable time, in order to give the community an opportunity to adore the Blessed Sacrament.
- They will bear in mind that nothing edifies the faithful more than the prayer of the priests. They are therefore entreated to say their prayers in the church. If there is some evening meeting, it will be held before or after the common prayer; and participants in the meeting will be invited to the community prayer.
- They will go to confession every other week. This sacrament must be held in high esteem, both for oneself and for the faithful. Holy priests have spent their lives in the confessional. There, the efficacy of the Sacrifice of the Cross is particularly exercised, according to Our Lord’s words: “Nunc judicium est mundi, nunc princeps hujus mundi ejicietur foras” (Jn. 12:31). The pastoral ministry of the Sacrament of Penance is of capital importance for the sanctification of a parish and for the awakening of vocations.
- The yearly six-day retreat must be a preached retreat and not a private retreat. The choice of the retreat master and of the location must be a matter of special concern. The atmosphere of silence and true liturgical worship, the firmness of the master’s faith and doctrine will contribute to procure a real spiritual renewal.
VIII. DE SODALIUM SANCTIFICATIONIS MEDIIS PECULIARIBUS: The special means of sanctification of the members
- Before becoming members of the Society, aspirants have a school year of spirituality to complete, during which they will strive to give back to Our Lord the place that belongs to Him in their soul and in their whole person. To this end, they fill their intelligences with His light, through meditative reading of the Gospel, the Fathers, and spiritual writers. The Liturgy, Gregorian chant, music, and Latin will also be subject matters for their studies. This year, however, must be aimed above all at a true conversion, a restoration of order by banishing bad habits and acquiring natural and supernatural virtues through vigilance and prayer. Mystical and theological knowledge of the Holy Mass will increase their devotion to these Sacred Mysteries and to the Virgin Mary, CoRedemptrix and Mediatrix.
- There may be some variation in the schedule and in the studies, according as the aspirants are already priests or are destined or not to the priesthood.
In the main house or in some other designated for the purpose, there will be a community of a more contemplative character, dedicated to the celebration of the Holy Mass, the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the preaching of retreats on the premises, and the hearing of confessions.
Some members, with the Superior General’s approval, might be permanently attached to this community. All those who so desire might, with the same authorization, come to spend a year or two in this community in order to increase their sanctification and their fervor.
This community must be the Society’s solid base and its lightning rod. It must enable the Society to keep always its true purpose, which is the sanctification of the priesthood, and its essential devotion to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and to Our Lord’s Sacred Passion, as also to remain firm in doctrine and truly zealous for the salvation of souls.
- The year of spirituality would find its normal place in this community. The Liturgy could thus be given a splendor that would truly help souls to rise to God. The diversity of age and experience would provide opportunities to practice fraternal charity and would make it possible to say in very truth: “quam bonum et jucuruium habitare fintres in unum.”
IX. Reform of the Statutes:
The statutes of the Society may be amended by Bishop Faure at any time. The General Chapter can also modify the statutes. For that, it will be necessary to count on the vote of at least three quarters of the members and moreover, with the favorable vote of the Superior General.
Appendix: Some Rules Concerning the Use of the Society’s Goods:
If we wish to define the spirit that members of the Society must have in this matter, we could sum it up in two dispositions which may seem contradictory, but which are nevertheless complementary:
- They should have a magnanimous heart, far removed from all avarice, and from all exaggerated attachment to that which the world covets. Consequently, they should know how to give alms, and to practice charity, first towards their own people —namely the Society by mutual help.
- On the other hand, they ought to be careful to administer wisely goods which do not belong to us and which, often, have been given us by persons who have deprived themselves to assist us. To go against these attitudes of charity and justice would turn away from us the blessings of St. Joseph, to whom, beyond any doubt, we owe the extraordinary temporal graces which permit the growth of our works. This spirit will effectively foster mutual fraternal help in the Society. It will lead us to avoid indiscreet meddling in the domain of other priories and encourage us, on the contrary, to promote the growth of the district and of the Society and to help vocations.
Some practical directives:
- Members of a community or of a priory must be anxious to balance the community’s budget through their apostolic labors; that is to say, cover everyday expenses and the ordinary upkeep of the property.
- Further, it seems desirable and fitting to be able to give each priest, a sum corresponding to 200 Swiss francs every month in addition to his Mass stipends, besides defraying the ordinary expenses of his apostolic travels. But this is to be done on the express condition that the priests hand over to the superior or the bursar whatever they receive in the course of their ministry, without exception.
- To work out this solution, the superior will arrange with the chapels to have a collection taken once a month solely for the priory, over and above the sum received for the apostolic service every Sunday.
- He will remain in contact with benefactors through a bulletin or a monthly newsletter to keep them informed of all that concerns the Priory, the district, the seminary. If, at the beginning, this solution proves difficult, he will appeal to the District Superior.
- It is desirable that each priest have his own car.
- Brothers, being religious, must hand all gifts over to the superior and are entirely supported out of the community’s budget.
- The superior, or the bursar, will strive to make the best use of the property in order to reduce expenses, without, however, transferring it.