The purpose of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) laid out by its founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, is “the priesthood and all that pertains to it and nothing but what concerns it.” What place, then, is to be found in such an intrinsically priestly society for lay brothers? At first glance it may seem contradictory to include non-priest members in a Society dedicated to the priesthood. But nothing could be further from the truth.
By their consecration to God in the religious life, the SSPX brothers, like any religious, aim to give glory to God and save souls. The brothers of the priestly Society attain this end in a very particular manner, laid out by their founder in their Rule: “to assist the priests in all their duties, not by wishing to take their place in the priestly functions, but by facilitating their apostolic task in many ways… devoting themselves to the priesthood of Our Lord, which is continued in His ministers and on the altar.” And so, while the brothers themselves are not priests, they nevertheless participate in the apostolate in an important, if indirect manner. Through their various manual labors, they free the priests to focus on their sacerdotal functions; and by their prayers and continuous life of sacrifice, they earn graces to make the apostolate flourish.
Our American brothers are prepared for this beautiful vocation at Holy Angels Novitiate. Thus, the particular mission of our apostolate in Winona is to form willing young men into holy religious. Learning to live a life in common, practicing the virtues and counsels, gaining knowledge of and love for the liturgy – all these are important aspects of the formation of a brother in Winona. The centerpiece of the Novitiate’s day is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in keeping with the SSPX’s mission as an intrinsically priestly Society.