Father Robert C. Pasley, right, rector of Mater Ecclesiae, Berlin, stands with Rev. Mr. Joseph Heffernan, FSSP, who will be ordained May 31 in Nebraska. Thirty people from Mater Ecclesiae will travel to Nebraska for the ordination.
Mater Ecclesiae Chapel in Berlin was founded by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio on Oct. 13, 2000; during the Great Jubilee Year, on the feast of St. Edward the Confessor whose parish we were originally part of, and on the day of the miracle of the sun at Fatima. Special Divine blessings have been a part of this mission church from the beginning. Mater Ecclesiae started as a unique experiment. It would be the first diocesan-owned and run mission that exclusively offered all the sacraments according to the Missal of St. John XXIII, the 1962 Missal. Bishop DiMarzio was not sure that it would work but gave the commission to give it a good try.
Well we did, and 14 years later, seven years after the Papal Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, and four years after a massive merging of parishes, Mater Ecclesiae continues to flourish. Not only are we an active participant in the life of the Camden Diocese and the church, but God has blessed us with numerous vocations. Three of our parishioners have joined the Carmelite order. Marisa Consoli, now Sister Maravillas of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, is a member of the Carmel at Elysburg, Pa.; Kathleen Gilbert, now Sister Mary Magdalen of Jesus Crucified, is a member of the Carmel in Buffalo, N.Y.; and a young man from our parish, Thomas Heffernan, now Brother Seraphim of the Assumption, is a professed brother at the Carmelite Monastery in Wyoming who has been selected to go on to the priesthood.
Finally, Brother Seraphim’s brother, the Rev. Mr. Joseph Heffernan, FSSP, will be ordained to the sacred priesthood by His Excellency, the Most Rev. Athanasius Schneider, at the Cathedral in Omaha, Neb., on Saturday, May 31, 2014. Father Heffernan is a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.
The Fraternity of St. Peter was established by St. John Paul II in 1988 to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass and sacraments. Its province in North America covers the United States, Canada and Mexico. The closest parishes to Camden are St. Michael’s in Scranton, Pa., Diocese of Scranton, and Our Lady of Fatima in Pequannock, N.J., Diocese of Paterson.
Thirty people from Mater Ecclesiae will travel to Nebraska for the ordination. Father Heffernan will be the first priest ordained from our parish.
Father is a native of Bensalem, Pa., and he will return to the Delaware Valley to celebrate two Masses of Thanksgiving. His first Solemn Mass, in the Extraordinary Form, will take place at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, on Trinity Sunday, June 15, at 2 p.m. He will then return to Mater Ecclesiae and celebrate his first Solemn Mass here on the feast of Corpus Christi, Thursday, June 19, at 7:30 p.m., followed by the traditional Eucharistic procession.
We thank God, we thank Our Lady for her constant protection and intercession, we thank St. Joseph, we thank Bishop DiMarzio for his foresight and we thank Bishop Galante and Bishop Sullivan for their continued support. Every day at Mass we say a prayer for vocations, I would like to close by sharing it with you. Please God, may we have many more priests and religious vocations.
Priest: Let us pray for vocations:
All: O God, we earnestly beseech Thee
To bless the Church with many priests,
brothers, and sisters,
Who will love Thee with their whole
Be faithful to their vocation,
And gladly spend their entire lives
To teach Thy truths, serve Thy Church,
And to make Thee known and loved.
Priest: Bless our families, bless our children.
All: Choose from our homes those who are
needed for Thy work.
Priest: O Mary, Queen of the clergy,
All: Pray for us. Pray for our priests,
seminarians and religious.
Obtain for us many more. Amen.
Father Robert C. Pasley, KCHS is rector of Mater Ecclesiae, Berlin, www.materlatin.org