I have been in Rome for two and a half years now. In this time, I have had many graces to assist at the diocesan parish of Rome for the Traditional Roman Rite, as the sacristan for some of this time, as a parishioner, and as an altar server, for many Pontifical Masses, Solemn Masses, Low Masses, private Masses, Vespers, and devotionals. Even before coming to Rome, I had been moved to discern the formation of a community of young men devoted especially to the Passion of Our Lord and to the Most Blessed Sacrament. This community would take form under the Holy Rule of Saint Paul of the Cross, whom we would take as our father and founder.
This is an unconventional path in our present day. But I tell people two things. First, it is not as though I, personally, want to live this rule, that I, Jacob, want to have interrupted sleep to rise for prayers in the middle of the night, that I, Jacob, want to fast three days during the week, that I, Jacob, want to submit myself to a way of life that dictates most every moment, BUT, it is God Who wills this for me. It is not about me, Jacob, it is about God! And not only for me does He will it, but for many men. Second, it is apparent that an attempt was made to divorce the Passion from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and it is also apparent that so many do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, partly on account of this attempted separation. This calls for courageous men to devote their whole selves to keeping the memory of the Passion on their heart and to be inflamed with a pure love for the Most Holy Eucharist. In this sacrifice of themselves, by their life, and also by their words, they will preach this same devotion to the whole Church and they will reinvigorate true love for the Most Precious Gift of the Holy Eucharist!
I have spoken to many priests, many seminarians, and many faithful about my endeavors. So many hunger for this community of men to come to fruition. Even for those whose obligations in life would not permit them to partake materially and physically in this communal life, simply knowing it exists in the Church would bring much hope, joy, and grace to their hearts and to their homes. A group of men needs to arise in the Church, inspired by the example of Saint Gemma, whose love for the Passion and love for the Most Blessed Sacrament were one and the same, in every aspect of her life!
I am currently in discussion with a small number of men about the imminent formation of this group here in Rome, permitting the continuation of my studies and of some of the other men for at least the next two and a half years. We would begin as a community of Catholic laymen with the intent to form an association of the faithful and from that point would seek recognition under a Bishop. I seek your prayers for this evermore so now than before; first, for the courage of these men and for their preservation in their good will, and, also, for the specific intention and success of organizing this group here in Rome.
We turn to Saint Paul of the Cross:
O glorious Saint Paul of the Cross who, by meditating on the Passion of Jesus Christ, didst attain to so high a degree of holiness on earth and of happiness in Heaven, and, by preaching the same Passion, didst offer anew to the world the most certain cure for all its ills, obtain for us the grace to keep it ever deeply engraved in our hearts, that so we may be able to reap the same fruits both in time and in eternity. Amen!
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