Ordinations in the Extraordinary Form will take place in England and Wales possibly for the first time in decades next year.
At the request of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP) and with the permission of Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool, two deacons will be ordained to the priesthood on June 17.
The ordinations will take place at St Mary’s Shrine Church in Warrington, North West England.
Writing in the Catholic Herald this week, Fr Armand de Malleray, superior of FSSP in England and Wales, said: “This could be the first time for decades that priests will be ordained in the Extraordinary Form in England. While more bishops worldwide do so – even in their own cathedrals, as in Sydney, Lincoln and Omaha, Toulon and Linz – it does not seem to have occurred over here since the liturgical changes.
“St Mary’s Shrine Church is a fitting place for the ceremony, due to its beautiful Pugin design and because Archbishop McMahon has established it as ‘a centre for the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of Mass and the sacraments’.”
The candidates due to be ordained are Alex Stewart, from Wallasey, and Krzysztof Sanetra, who was born in Poland in 1983 but has been resident in England for some time.
Joseph Shaw, chairman of the Latin Mass Society, said: “This is an important step forward for the integration of the Extraordinary Form into the life of the Church in England and Wales. Many young men from this country have heard the call to serve the Church as priests in the context of the Extraordinary Form, and they are making a valued contribution to the Catholic community in specially dedicated churches or chaplaincies in five different dioceses.
“It is natural and right that our bishops should play a part in ordaining them. Both of these deacons have been supported in their studies by the Latin Mass Society,” he said.
In his article, Fr de Malleray reflected on the recent history of the church where the two men are to be ordained. He said: “The beautiful church of St Mary’s was to be shut down due to shortage of priests. The congregation were not familiar with the Extraordinary Form Mass. But if our priests could keep their church alive, they were ready to give it a try, generously. We have been here 10 months. Most parishioners stayed on, and new faces appeared. With more than 300 visitors per week and three full-time clergy between 29 and 45 years of age, St Mary’s Shrine seems to have a future. Thank God and Our Lady.”
The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter currently has 160 seminarians in Europe and America. The order is made up of 421 priests and future priests in 120 dioceses around the world.