Friday, September 28, 2007

Interview with the Founder of the Fraternitas Christi Sacerdotis et Beatae Mariae Reginae

Approximately one month ago the NLM had a photo of the Fraternity of Christ the Priest and Holy Mary the Queen. The blog Creer en Mexico had an interview with the head of this new group which one of our readers translated.

The translation:

On various catholic internet sites... pictures have been displayed [of this Fraternity] and received with a certain surprise by the readers of English, French and Spanish language, since up to that moment the Fraternity had remained unknown.

On the occasion of these communications we asked the founder of this new institute, Fr. Manuel Folgar Otero, to tell us a bit more about the history, the charism and the mission of this Fraternity located in Pontevedra, Spain.

Creer en México (CM): Information about the Fraternity is beginning to be known in various circles of faithful adhering to the liturgy of John XXIII, but it really is not known how very new the Fraternity you head is. Could you sum up its history for us? What is its current status?

Fr. Manuel Folgar (FMF): The Fraternity didn't start as something planned. In the beginning, in 1990, it was a parish prayer group, and from there it has developed until today. We did nothing but listen to God and answer to what we considered to be His will at every step. Nothing would have been possible without absolute confidence in the Most Blessed Virgin. It is always she who brings us to Jesus and who gives us the strength to do what He tells us. The Fraternity is of Our Lady, to her it belongs. The status, since 1999, is that of a private association of faithful of diocesan right.

CM: We are informed that this month of October, you will present yourself before the Commission Ecclesia Dei. What is the objective of this meeting?

FMF: The date has not yet been confirmed, but the objective is none other than to represent to the Holy See our desire to be added to the congregations or associations which are directly dependent from Ecclesia Dei.

One Brother has finished his studies of preparation for the priesthood and another one is in his last year. Of course our wish is that they receive Holy Orders according to the extraordinary rite. We put ourselves in the hands of the Apostolic See in order for it to provide and dispose in what manner everything shall come to pass.

We also offer our readiness in order to be able to accommodate the requests of groups and individuals who desire the liturgy according to the books of 1962 and who don't have priests who take care of them.

Ultimately, we want to live and work completely at the disposal of the Holy See.

CM: Why the interest of the Fraternity to use exclusively the former liturgy?

FMF: This is an important nuance: we do not aspire to use exclusively the Liturgy according to the books of 1962. What we want is that the traditional rite be the official rite of the Fraternity, in such a way that the candidates for the priesthood receive Holy Orders according to said rite and that in the chapels and oratories of the Fraternity this rite is always celebrated. However, we don't refuse to celebrate according to the Novus Ordo if the diocesan Bishop needs our pastoral service for a parish of the diocese.

We believe firmly with His Holiness, Benedict XVI, that the two forms of usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching, and that "the total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness" (Accompanying letter of the Pope to Summorum Pontificum).

CM: The Fraternity consists of 4 groups: laypeople, sisters, brothers, and diocesan priests. In total, how many people do currently compose the Fraternity?

FMF: The Fraternity is still a very small plant in the great garden of the Church. We members all are convinced that there is nothing great in the Church that in its beginnings hadn't been small.

It is a permanent temptation to value the realities of the Church according to the number of members. To succumb to this temptation would mean to become mundane and to measure the strength and apostolic efficacy by the numbers instead of by the quality of the dedication and the seriousness of the commitments.

When I am asked for the numbers I always answer that we who are, are it really and with all consequences, and we are ready to open our house and our heart so that all may come who really want to serve God, the most Blessed Virgin, and the Church.

CM: For the lay members there is an increasing order of relations, from affiliated members to militant members. Is this last degree a kind of Third Order?

FMF: We could basically say so, yes. In this case it is only a question of terminology.

The militant members commit themselves freely to live the spirituality of the Fraternity, which is fundamentally based on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the childlike trust in the most Blessed Virgin, and the communion with the Vicar of Christ.

The Militants form local fraternities and their organization is very simple. They meet weekly in the so-called cenacle, where they pray, receive formation and plan their apsotolic activities.

It is, above all, about their having a solid and robust Christian formation, and being effective instruments at the service of the most Blessed Virgin to extend the Kingdom of Christ. Their first field of apostolate is their own family.

CM: The order of the (Sisters) Missionaries of the Fraternity has a charism partly contemplative, partly apostolic. Are all your vocations from Spain?

FMF: The life of the Missionaries has as its central axis Holy Mass, the praise of God and Eucharistic adoration. It is from here that they are able to develop a fruitful apostolate. Their priories are called to be true focal points of spirituality.

The Sisters are Spanish and we ask God that he may bless them and let them grow with new vocations not only from Spain, but hopefully also from the Latin American brother countries!

One year ago, the Mother co-foundress was called to the House of the Father at the age of fourty. She had offered up herself to the Lord as a sacrifice for the holiness of the priests. The good God willed to accept her offering.

At this moment the Sisters direct a small House of spirituality at the Priory itself. Also within the Priory, they have a religious library which is sought out by priests and lay people. They make liturgical vestments and hosts for Holy Mass and they collaborate in three country parishes.

We greatly need new vocations. Their apostolate of prayer and of presence is of vital importance.

CM: The Sons Servants of Holy Mary Queen are the male branch of brothers and priests. Is the formation for the priestly vocations imparted within the Fraternity itself?

FMF: So far the Brothers have attended the Theological Institute in the diocese. Obviously, this formation has been complemented in the Community, aiming for them to know well the doctrine of the Church, the Magisterium, the theology of St. Thomas and the classics of Catholic spirituality.

CM: In addition to the former, the Fraternity has a place for diocesan priests. Do these priests have to know or learn to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite?

FMF: Doubtless that is a necessary requisite. It would be inconsistent with the very being of the Fraternity to scorn such a treasure.

CM: Does the Fraternity intend to extend its mission to other places in Spain or to other countries?

FMF: One of the causes of the slowness in growing is the small number of members and their youth. The Brothers have had to dedicate themselves to their studies, and could therefore not dedicate themselves to an active apostolate. To this is added that have been living in rural area with few inhabitants, which means few youth, in the extreme West of Spain, which is not chraracterized by the easiness of communication with the rest of Spain, above all because of the distances.

This can change with the first ordinations.

Our gaze and our heart are not only fixed on Spain but on all Latin America. I am of those who believe that the Lord not only calls individuals, but also peoples and nations. The "hispanidad" [hispanic world] has much to contribute not only to the Church, but also to the world. There is an incomparable spiritual heritage which we mustn't squander. God will call us to account for it!

Regarding the issue of the Motu Proprio I reject that this treasure, which could bring so much good to the souls, should not be exploited by all of us.

CM: Generally, how have the faithful of your area of apostolate received the traditional Missal and liturgy?

FMF: From the beginning we chose to follow the rhythm the the Church herself has marked. We were certain that this step would be taken some day, and that is what happened.

To our mind, nothing must be imposed, and not even anything done in a rush. People themselves must discover that riches of which Benedict XVI speaks.

Neither is this only about an aesthetic taste or a pure outwardness. It is necessary to educate oneself and discover the liturgical treasure of the Church, to discover the profound reasons for which the Church, always assisted by the Holy Ghost, has codified these gestures, words, prayers ... all this marvelous monument which is the sacred Catholic liturgy. This is not some fashion. This is not about doing something in order not to do what the majority does. No. It is essential that the faithful understand the true reasons and that demands to guide them spiritually, to educate them and to accompany them. We must begin by becoming like children and rediscover the value of silence, the necessity of adoration, the interior participation and not mere outwardness... All this we have been doing for years, and therefore the faithful who affiliate themselves with us love and esteem the Traditional Liturgy.

CM: Is there some final comment you would like to bestow on us?

FMF: Thanks for that "bestow"... The real gift is that you allow me to share with you these reflections. Only one thing. The true participation in the life of the Church and more specifically in the liturgical life of the Church, does not consist in doing things. It consists, above all, in offering oneself up with Christ to the Father. To make of the whole life an act of offering to the glory of God, uniting oneself to Christ the Priest who immolates Himself on our Altars. After all, it is on the altar where our Christian being is born and also where it culminates. It is on the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ where we can find all to which we are called by God. Through the Cross to the light!


Website: Fraternitas Christi Sacerdotis et Beatae Mariae Reginae

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