Below is the letter from Fr. Stefan Frey, the District Superior, presenting the news to the faithful in Austria.
Dear friends and benefactors!
Heaven gave us a gift in Vienna that has exceeded our wildest expectations. For years we have been looking for a suitable church, because the temporary arrangement - which ended up being long lasting - of our former St. Joseph Chapel in Bernardgasse, with its very expensive rent, could never have been a permanent solution.
Since 2008, our Viennese faithful have been praying intensely for this intention. St. Joseph made us wait and tested our patience and perseverance until the year dedicated to him.
But today he has answered our many prayers in an superabundant way and has given us not just any church, but the Church of the Minims of Maria Schnee – Mary of the Snows - consecrated to his most holy wife.
It is one of the most renowned, beautiful, and oldest churches in the city of Vienna, in a prime location, and whose historical and cultural significance cannot be appreciated enough! Our gratitude to the good St. Joseph is limitless! How marvelously he hears those who pray to him with confidence and perseverance.
But we are also aware that this sublime gift is linked to a great mission and a heavy responsibility. The Church of the Minims now offers vast possibilities for the apostolate and therefore unique opportunities to strengthen the Catholic tradition in Vienna.
May the Most Holy Virgin Mary of the Snows and her Holy Bridegroom help us with their powerful assistance to fulfill this responsibility, for the greater glory of God and the salvation of as many souls as possible!
The miracles of divine Providence
How did the Society of Saint Pius X come to acquire such a magnificent church in Vienna? With God, nothing is impossible, and obviously God wanted to make the impossible possible, humanly speaking.
Indeed, the circumstances of this wonderful success story can only be described as miraculous. Here are the most important cornerstones that suggest that God was involved from the start:
- November 18, 2020: On the feast of the consecration of the churches of St. Peter and St. Paul, we received the quite surprising proposal to take over the church of the Minims of the “Italian Congregation Madonna della Neve,” to which the church was given in 1784 by Emperor Joseph II as the Italian National Church in Vienna (the Convent of the Minimals was later moved to the former Monastery of the Trinitarians, near the Church of the Trinity).
- May 20, 2021: Feast of St. Bernardin of Siena. As a young priest, St. Bernardin had received from the Blessed Mother the gift of miraculous powers, and we asked him for nothing other than a miracle. The saint answered us, because all the members unanimously agreed to give to the SSPX the most important Marian church in the city of Vienna!
- May 25, 2021: On this day of commemoration of two Italian popes – St. Gregory VII and St. Urban I -, on the eve of the feast of St. Philip Neri, the great apostle of Rome, the notarial signing of the donation contracts took place at 6.30 p.m. With this, it was clear to us that God has obviously given the SSPX the mission to faithfully pursue the centuries-old heritage of the Italian community in Vienna.
- June 29, 2021: The Holy Apostles Peter and Paul sponsored the start of our enterprise: providentially they were present at the coronation. On the day of their solemnity, the new property was inscribed in the land register of the city of Vienna and thus officially became definitive. However, the Society will not be able to take possession of this property until June 3, 2022, the anniversary date of the donation of the church to the Italian Congregation by Emperor Joseph II, on June 3, 1784.
The SSPX is the official owner of the Minoritenkirche [Church of the Friars Minor]. What does this patronage tell us? It is certain that with the Church of the Minims we have received no other mandate than that of faithfully continuing in Vienna the apostolic tradition that St. Peter and St. Paul established in the Church of Rome, the Mother and Mistress of all churches, in the name of Christ, and to defend it firmly against all the aberrations of today.
We are not an old-fashioned Tradi Club, but simply Roman Catholics and we have the ardent desire to serve the Catholic Church with all our might and to help her rediscover her 2000-year-old apostolic tradition, from which alone flows all supernatural vitality, as from the root to the widely branched tree of the Church.
May Almighty God bless this work which has amazed everyone. May all His holy auxiliaries accompany our new mission with their constant intercession, in particular St. Clement Marie Hofbauer, patron of our Viennese priory, who worked for four years as rector of the Church of the Minims and there revived Eucharistic love in the heart of the Viennese with its grandiose celebrations in honor of the Blessed Sacrament.
With my priestly blessing.
Fr. Stefan Frey