ON THE COVER - Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz leaves the Chapel
of Saints Peter and Paul at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary
in Denton March 3. Bishop Bruskewitz celebrated the
consecration Mass for the newly completed chapel of the
Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, an order of priests
dedicated to preserving the Extraordinary Form of the Latin
Rite. (SNR photo by S.L. Hansen)|
Bishop Celebrates Solemn Consecration of FSSP Seminary Chapel
By S.L. Hansen
Vatican Represented by Cardinal William Levada
DENTON (SNR) – After 12 years of preparation and construction,
Denton’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, the second seminary of the Priestly
Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), has a new chapel.
On Wednesday, March 3, Saints Peter and Paul Chapel was consecrated
by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of the Diocese of Lincoln, in the presence of
Cardinal William Levada, prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of
Cardinal Levada read a letter from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone,
secretary of state of Pope Benedict XVI, commending the completion of this
In his homily during the Pontifical High Mass that immediately
followed the Solemn Consecration, the cardinal encouraged all to follow the
example Zachaeus exhibited in the Gospel reading (Luke 19:1-2) in giving all
one’s heart in worship through the sacred liturgy preserved by the Priestly
Fraternity of Saint Peter.
He urged unity in the Church. “These different rites, East and West,
testify to the diversity of the Church, yet as Saint Paul said, there is one
Lord…” he said. “Whatever rite is performed it is always the same mystery.”
The chapel itself was built according to traditional Romanesque
standards, providing an ideal setting for the Priestly Fraternity of Saint
Peter, which was established by Pope John Paul II in 1988 for the express
purpose of preserving the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
In keeping with this apostolate, the Solemn Consecration of the
Chapel was celebrated in Latin according to ancient rubrics that have been
observed since the sixth century, possibly earlier. Indeed, the first step
of preparation was to translate the instructions from Latin to English,
since there were no English instructions available. Months of planning and
many hours of rehearsal ensued.
As Bishop Bruskewitz noted, such consecrations “are a very rare
thing, even in the old days.” He said that Solemn Consecration is typically
reserved for cathedrals unless a church has a large enough endowment to
ensure its perpetual operation, because a consecrated church cannot be used
for any other purpose. Most churches and chapels are simply dedicated.
Co-consecrating bishops included Bishop James Timlin, bishop
emeritus of Scranton, Penn., Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, Okla., and
Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, Mo. Co-consecrating priests
included the Right Reverend Philip Anderson, O.S.B., abbot of Clear Creek
Monastery in Oklahoma, and three priests of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint
Peter, including the Very Reverend Father John Berg, F.S.S.P, the Very
Reverend Father Joseph Bisig, F.S.S.P, and Reverend Father Charles Van Vliet,
F.S.S.P, who was deeply involved in the design and construction of the
Numerous priests from the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter and
religious orders were in attendance, along with priests and religious
sisters of the Diocese of Lincoln, architect Thomas Gordon Smith, and many
other guests. Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus and Knights and Ladies of
the Holy Sepulchre served as honor guard.
The Solemn Consecration is comprised of several parts, beginning
with the vesting of the bishops and a procession from the seminary’s small
former chapel (destined to become a conference room) to the front doors of
the new chapel.
After praying for the Lord’s assistance in this rite, the entire
gathering processed around the chapel for the aspersion of the exterior of
the church while the seminary’s Schola Cantorum maintained the prayerful
focus with Gregorian chant.
Bishop Bruskewitz used a branch of hyssop dipped in specially mixed
and blessed Gregorian Water to sprinkle the walls.
Returning to the doors once more, he knocked three times with his
crosier while singing, “Attollite protas, principes, aeternales, et
introibit Rex Gloria.” In English, “Lift up your gates, O ye princes and be
ye lifted up, O eternal gates, and the King of Glory shall enter in.” After
identifying the King of Glory as the Lord of Hosts, the bishop was admitted
with his entourage and all other attendees.
The rite continued with the litany of Saints, aspersion of the
interior walls and floor, and purification of the altars. The chapel has
eight altars in all, because the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite does
not accommodate con-celebration of the Mass. Multiple altars enable large
numbers of priests to celebrate Mass in a single day when they gather at Our
Lady of Guadalupe seminary.
Seminarians then laid a Saint Andrew’s Cross in sand at the foot of
the altar. As the Schola Cantorum intoned Psalm 47, “Great is the Lord and
exceedingly to be praised…,” the bishop took possession of the chapel in the
name of the Lord, using his crosier to write the Latin and Greek alphabets
in the sand.
Bishop Bruskewitz then entreated the Lord to bless and guard the
chapel, considering it to be God’s own house.
Then, the bishop and co-consecrating bishops and priests exchanged
their purple vestments for gold and returned to the former chapel, where the
relics of a number of saints were kept. These relics include Saints Peter
and Paul, Saint John Vianney, and eight priests who were martyred in Mexico.
The relics were brought into the chapel in a second solemn
procession, carefully transported on a bier by four FSSP seminarians. The
relics were “buried” in each of the eight altars, in accordance with church
Bishop Bruskewitz then anointed the walls of the chapel and was
joined by the co-consecrating bishops and priests in anointing and incensing
the altars. On each altar, crosses made of incense were topped with wax
crosses at each of the four corners and in the center, and then carefully
lit as the Schola Cantorum sang, “Veni Sancte Spiritus…” (“Come, O Holy
Ghost…”) With the consecration complete, the sacred ministers departed to
change their vestments for the first Pontifical High Mass ever to be
celebrated in the chapel, while seminarians carefully prepared each altar.
The faithful who had been watching the consecration on channel EWTN in the
overflow rooms eagerly gathered outside the chapel, kneeling on the pavement
to await their turns to receive Communion.
Father John Berg, Superior General of Our Lady of the Priestly
Fraternity of Saint Peter, called the event, “the crowning achievement of a
lot of years of preparation and planning.” Located in rural Denton, Our Lady
of Guadalupe Seminary is the second training institution of the Priestly
Fraternity of Saint Peter. The first was built in Bavaria, Germany.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary is the center of the world’s largest
provider of training resources and materials for priests who wish to learn
the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Men from all over the world, come
to study for the priesthood in the seminary’s seven-year program. Since June
of 2007, priests from more than 70 dioceses in the United States have been
For more information, please visit www.fsspolgs.org.
CARDINAL LEVADA - Sunlight illuminates Cardinal William
Levada, prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the
Faith, during the consecration Mass for the Chapel of Saints
Peter and Paul at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton
March 3. (SNR photo by S.L. Hansen)|
ST. ANDREW’s CROSS - Above, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz uses
his crosier to write the alphabet in a St. Andrew’s Cross of
sand in the Chapel of Saints Peter and Paul at Our Lady of
Guadalupe Seminary in Denton March 3. The action is part of
the Rite of Consecration. (SNR photo by S.L. Hansen) The
completed cross is pictured below (Photo courtesy Priestly
Fraternity of St. Peter)|
CONSECRATION - Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz elevates the chalice
during the first Pontifical High Mass ever to be celebrated
in the Chapel of Saints Peter and Paul at Our Lady of
Guadalupe Seminary in Denton March 3. (Photo courtesy
Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter)|
INTERIOR - The interior of the Chapel of Saints Peter and
Paul at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton is pictured
during the Rite of Consecration March 3. (Photo courtesy
Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter)|