SISTERS ADORERS ACQUIRE NEW CONVENT

Taken for our sister site at www.institute-christ-king.ie

In these challenging times for Ireland, there is great joy in Ardee, Co. Louth!

The former Convent of Mercy, vacated last year has new owners. A young Roman Catholic community, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, purchased the iconic building which comes with an attached chapel and gate lodge set in 10 acres of land.

The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest intends to use the former Mercy Convent as a convent for the the female branch of their order. The Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart are semi-cloistered nuns. The first members will soon begin their community life in the footsteps of the Sisters of Mercy with daily adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the singing of the Divine Office in Gregorian chant. These young sisters will also prepare the convent so that the Institute African missionaries can find in Ardee a place where they can rest, pray and recover from their apostolic work in a much cooler climate.

The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest was invited to serve in Ireland, in the Diocese of Limerick, and established its headquarters there in 2006. The members of this Institute are also resident in the Diocese of Down and Connor (where in 2019 they reopened a former Presbyterian church in Belfast)  and in Galway.

Canon Lebocq, Pro-Provincial of the Institute in Ireland, offered €925,000 to save this property, thanks in part to local donations, but especially with an excess of €600,000 loan.

He said: “Our community is now on its knees, not only in prayer in the chapel, but also financially with over €230,000 to reimburse by 15th August this year. Prayers and donations are welcome!”

Built in the mid-1850s, the convent was designed by John Neville, then County Surveyor for Louth. The three-storey block built of coursed rubble features cut limestone for quoins and window surrounds as well as for the three-bay, single-storey porch in Perpendicular style. 

Founded in 1990, the Institute is a Roman-Catholic Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right in canonical form. The 125 priests of the Institute work all over the world to promote the spiritual Kingship of Christ. A special emphasis is laid on the harmony between faith and culture, and thus the young community has acquired a reputation for promoting the arts, especially sacred music and architecture. 

The Institute of Christ the King celebrates the classical Roman Liturgy, the Latin Mass, in its Extraordinary Form according to the liturgical books promulgated by Saint Pope John XXIII in 1962. This liturgy, promoted by Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis in various documents, attracts today an increasing number of people, especially young adults, students and families.

The motherhouse and international seminary of the Institute of Christ the King is based in Florence, Italy. 105 seminarians are currently being trained for the priesthood. It also has over 60 religious sisters, especially devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who live a semi-cloistered life, and 19 oblates (lay brothers). Among these are nine Irish vocations.

The average age of this community’s members is 24 for seminarians, 28 for sisters, 41 for oblates and 39 for priests. The community has missions in Gabon (Africa) and important apostolates in the United States, England, France, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Sweden and Rome, where their founder, Monsignor Gilles Wach, was ordained to the priesthood by Saint Pope John Paul II. The Vicar General of this community is at present Monsignor Michael Schmitz, who was ordained a priest by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Ratzinger.

The Institute of Christ the King follows the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, which is expressed in the motto of the Institute: “Live the truth in charity,” and could be summarised in the famous quote of the Doctor of Charity:”Cook the truth in charity until it tastes sweet.”

The Institute also expresses its profound gratitude to His Grace Jude Okolo, Nuncio to Ireland and to His Grace Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh. They also thank in a special way His Excellency Matthew Madega, Bishop of Mouila in Gabon for his encouraging words to acquire a house in Ireland where the missionaries can come rest in a prayerful atmosphere.

No date has been set for any public opening and welcome to the Sister Adorers but a family already resides as caretakers on the alarmed premises.

Those who would like to know more about this important news for Ardee and for Ireland can find further information on their website (www.institute-christ-king.ie) or by subscribing to their newsletter.

Contact:

Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

Convent

Moorehall

Hale Street

Ardee A92 F8FP

Co. Louth

Support the forthcoming arrival of the Sister Adorers in Ardee

DEVON BECKONS: NEW MISSION TO COMMENCE LATER IN 2021

Always by the grace of God and following the kind invitation of the Bishop of Plymouth, the Rt. Rev. Mark O’Toole, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest will begin a new apostolate at Chelston near Torquay, Devon later this year.

The Church of the Holy Angels, Queensway, Chelston will be served by a Canon of the Institute and possibly a seminarian.

Apt that the news was announced on the feast day proper of St Thomas Aquinas, doctor of the Church and co-patron of the Institute, Sancte Thoma de Aquino, ora pro nobis!

We look forward very much to arriving in Devon and serving our priestly ministry for the good of souls using the traditional liturgy of Holy Mother Church. The Institute is a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right whose goal is the honour of God and the sanctification of priests in the service of the Church and souls. Its specific aim is missionary: to spread the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ in all spheres of human life. Our work is carried out under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception, to Whom the Institute is consecrated.

The Bishop of Plymouth made the following statement to the faithful of the parishes concerned on Sunday:

Statement to Holy Angels Church, Chelston
and to The Assumption of Our Lady Church, Abbey Road – 7th March 2021  

You will be aware that Fr John Smethurst will be celebrating his final Mass as Parish Priest here on 15th August.  Whilst he will continue to live in the area, in his own home, he will no longer be exercising care of the Parish from that date.  I want to put on record our immense gratitude to Fr John for all that he has given here at Chelston these past years.  I know that he is much loved and that you will miss his priestly pastoral care of you.  You will appreciate that it is only right that at this stage of his priestly ministry, Fr John no longer have the responsibility of the pastoral care of a community.  Whilst we hope he will remain well for many years to come, I know we will want to wish him well for the next stage of his priestly ministry where he will no doubt be available for priestly supply in this part of the Deanery, having submitted his resignation from ecclesiastical office as required by the Canonical requirements of the Church. 

I am sorry to say that there is no priest, diocesan or Religious, presently in the Diocese, available to come to Chelston after Fr John departs.  Nevertheless, it is important that we seek to ensure that all the people of Holy Angels continue to receive pastoral and spiritual support.  This will come under the oversight of Fr Colin Groombridge at the Assumption of Our Lady Church, Abbey Road, who will be your new Parish Priest. A Sunday Mass will continue to be celebrated here and the timing of this is to be worked out later.  The deanery clergy are also looking at the provision of a Sunday evening Mass at a Church in the area.  There will need to be close collaboration between the community here and the community at Abbey Road and I thank Fr Colin for taking on this new responsibility. 

Although there is no priest from the diocese available to come and work at Chelston, we are hoping to have a priestly presence here by establishing Holy Angels as a Shrine Church, with a priest, and possibly a seminarian, from the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest ministering here.  An integral part of the Institute’s charism is using the traditional Latin liturgy for Mass and the Sacraments.  Holy Angels would be a place of devotional and spiritual life not just for the local community, but for people further afield in the Diocese.  There will be Eucharistic adoration every day, the Celebration of Morning, Evening and Night Prayer daily, as well as opportunities for Confession. 

So, whilst the normal pastoral needs of parishioners are met by Fr Colin, the Shrine and the Institute will maintain a Catholic priestly presence and devotional life in the Church.  We see this as being an integral part of the mission of the Church in this area, and complementary to other aspects of the life of the local Church.  The priest, or priests of the Institute – because others will visit at times – will hopefully also assist with pastoral care in the hospital and the local primary school.  This will all be done in collaboration, and with the guidance and co-operation, of Fr Colin.

This pattern of a Shrine Church, overseen by the Institute, in a local parish, is already happening in other places in this country – in the Dioceses of Lancaster and Shrewsbury.  It has proved to be very successful, and the presence of the Institute in those places is much appreciated.  The priests of the Institute are very respectful of local people, and participate well within the local deanery, and collaborate well with local clergy.

One of their number will be joining a meeting with the Parish after Easter, in 5-6 weeks’ time, when you can hear more about them, their work and their charism as well as ask any questions.  I am sure that you will make him, and other members of the Institute, welcome. 

I believe that this ‘new beginning’ for the Catholic community can be one filled with many graces and blessings, not just for the local Church but for the whole Diocese.  I thank you for your cooperation and ask for your prayer and support for this new chapter in the life of the Catholic community here.

+Mark O’Toole
Bishop of Plymouth

NEWS FROM GABON

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. The Institute was canonically erected on 1 September 1990 by Monsignor Gilles Wach and Canon Philippe Mora in Gabon, Africa. It is therefore perhaps appropriate to bring some news in the form of a series of galleries from Gabon.

Midnight Mass

3 years of the Apostolate at Pointe Denis and Christmas Day Mass

Christmas dinner at the Mission de Mouila

Christmas holidays football game in Sibang with Les Écuyers de Notre-Dame

Nativity Enactment

Christmas fair of the Saint-François-de-Sales school in Mouila

NEW HOME FOR THE INSTITUTE IN ROME

On Christmas Eve, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest was invited by rector of the Basilica of Saints Celso & Giuliano in Rome to make this beautiful Roman baroque church our new home in the Eternal City.

Not far from Castello Sant’Angelo, the Institute will begin the care of this apostolate by offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sundays and Feast Days at 10am and will be present during the week for confessions and adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Please pray for our apostolate in Rome and for our priests and seminarians that serve the Church in the Eternal City.

Santi Celso e Giuliano is a minor basilica and it has held this status by custom and practice since ancient times. The church is located on Vicolo del Curato 12, just off Via del Banco di Santo Spirito, the road leading to Ponte Sant’Angelo.

SS. Celso e Giuliano is a ‘papal chapel’. Canons of the collegiate church are mentioned in the 14th century. Cardinal Giovanni Antonio Sangiorgio d. 1509 had been the Archpriest, and was buried in the church and in the 17th century, it is recorded, there was an Archpriest and seven Canons. Now there are Canons with the blue pom pom!