Fifty Priests Gather in Econe for Annual Priests Retreat

Source: FSSPX News

From September 4-9, 2017, the Seminary of St. Pius X in Ecône, Switzerland came alive at the end of summer, before the seminarians' return.

Around fifty priests came to follow the priestly retreat this fall. Priests are obliged by Church law to follow spiritual exercises every year. The Statutes of the Society of St. Pius X provide for a yearly six-day retreat, and the hearts of the members find renewed vitality in these refreshing days spent in silence and prayer.

Most of the Swiss, German, Italian, and French priests present were returning to their Alma Mater, whose walls hold for them many moving memories from the beautiful years of their priestly formation. The splendid church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the simple and familiar cells, the vault wherein lie the mortal remains of the founder, the paths through the vineyards and orchards, the majestic backdrop of the Valais mountains: all marvelously favor a spirit of recollection, allowing the soul to focus entirely on God. 

The preacher, Fr. Alain-Marc Nély, Second General Assistant of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, presented in his daily conferences the merciful goodness of God, using Fr. Garret’s work on this theme for his inspiration, along with quotes from Frs. Spicq and Garrigou-Lagrange, OP. The readings during meals were profound developments of the doctrine of the Mystical Body in which the members are one with Christ

The week was punctuated by the various offices in common: Prime in the morning before Holy Mass, Sext at noon before lunch, a Holy Hour in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament before dinner, and then Compline sung before bedtime. All of this allowed the priests to sing God’s praises throughout the day

There is no lack of confessors on a priestly retreat. When they serve each other’s Masses in the morning, and when they have recourse to the merciful pardon of God for themselves, the priests experience yet again “how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell in unity” (Ps. 132:1). 

With their strength renewed by this more intense contact with Our Lord Jesus Christ, they returned to their ministry on Sunday. Leaving behind the harvests of fruit in the fertile valley of the Rhone, they returned with faith and courage to the ranks assigned to them by the Master of the Vineyard.