The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP) is one of a growing number of traditional communities which have flourished in recent years.
Founded in 1988 by 12 priests and a small group of seminarians, with the approval of Blessed John Paul II, its numbers have now grown to 250 priests and 150 seminarians worldwide.
Fraternity priests offer the traditional Latin Mass ( Roman Missal of 1962) and provide wide-ranging pastoral care to the larger Catholic community.
Their spirituality and work are centred on the traditional prayers and sacramental forms which have produced so many saints in previous centuries.
The FSSP was largely of European foundation, but then spread to the USA, Canada, the UK and then to Africa and South America.
The Fraternity started work in Australia in 2001 and is currently active in Sydney, Parramatta, Canberra and Adelaide.
In 2003, permission was granted by Cardinal George Pell for the opening of a novitiate house in Sydney.
This novitiate, Ezechiel House, has as its purpose the formation of candidates from Australasia for the first year of studies towards the priesthood (year of spirituality).
Upon completing the novitiate year, these seminarians continue their studies of philosophy and theology in either America or Bavaria. The total length of studies is approximately seven years.
Over a period of ten years, 15 men have commenced formal studies at Ezechiel House.
Even though only a minority of candidates are typically expected to persevere through the seven-year program of seminary studies, already three have been ordained priests, with a fourth soon to be added (31 May).
In addition to these, two other men are still completing their theology studies in America.
Currently, three men are undergoing their first year of studies at Ezechiel House.
These men will leave for the USA in August to join approximately eighty other seminarians in the Fraternity's English-speaking seminary in Nebraska.
With many new enquiries being received at Ezechiel House, another intake of novices is expected for next calendar year, but this blessing of an abundance of vocations brings with it a heavy burden of meeting the material costs involved.
In addition to its own weekly expenses, Ezechiel House is required to pay for part of the tuition fees of the seminarians continuing their studies overseas.
With medical insurance and transport costs added to this, the average expense per seminarian, per year, amounts to approximately $14,000.
Like other recently-founded congregations, the FSSP is entirely dependent upon the financial support of the faithful in order to cover these expenses.
To this end, on 28 June, 2014, the Fraternity will hold its biennial fundraising dinner in Sydney, with the hope of raising half of its anticipated financial burden for the next two years.
To purchase tickets to the dinner, please contact Mrs Gillian Sofatzis: 0432 353 924. For more information on the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, visit their website: fssp.net, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fr Damonn Sypher, FSSP