For the first time since coming into clear union with the Pope, the religious institute the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer celebrated the priestly ordination of two of its members on June 22.
Father Magdala Maria and Father Yousef Marie were ordained alongside Fr. Massimo Botta of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter by Archbishop Guido Pozzo, head of the Office of Papal Charities, in Rome.
Both orders are dedicated to celebrating the liturgy in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite – as was done prior to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, also called the Transalpine Redemptorists, were founded in 1987 and were associated with the Society of St. Pius X.
After Benedict XVI issued a document affirming the value of the extraordinary form, also called the traditional Latin Mass, the Transalpine Redemptorists responded by petitioning the Vatican to regularize their situation.
On June 26, 2008, their petition was granted and they were no longer associated with the schismatic Society of St. Pius X. The group now enjoys “undisputed and peaceful possession of Communion with the Holy See.”
Fr. Botta, who was ordained for the Fraternity of St. Peter, told CNA that “my vocation to the priesthood came pretty quickly.”
“I was doing grad school in economics, and I found that economics was taking me the complete opposite direction of what I felt truth should be.”
“During that time I just felt a strong calling to be a priest, and I didn’t even know about the Fraternity of St. Peter.”
He explained that his brother introduced him to the Fraternity, and it appealed to him. “I applied and was accepted and that was it; it was very quick, a question of six months.”
The newly ordained priest noted, “it seems like God had prepared me since I was young for this.”
Fr. Botta, who studied seven years at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Nebraska, has been sent back to the Fraternity's Immaculate Conception parish in Omaha for his first assignment.
His mother, who is Roman, told CNA that he has been looking forward to it, that he is happy, and that she is sure he will work hard.
Gabriella Botta said that of her four children, Massimo was the one she least expected would ever become a priest.
“He was the naughtiest, he had a band, and loved Metallica music,” said Botta. “And suddenly he said, ‘Mom, I want to join the seminary,’ so it was a real big surprise.”
She described him as a shy boy who loved life, his school friends, music and “all of the things any young person loves.”
“I think for a mother it’s actually the greatest event, because I think that somewhere in my life I must have really done something good to have the honor of our Lord calling our son to the priesthood.”
“I think he has changed,” she said. “He has become a man now and after seven years of seminary life, it was just two days ago that he said ‘Mom, I’m beginning to be scared.'”
Fr. John Brancich, pastor at Omaha's Immaculate Conception parish, emphasized that it was a “great grace” for Fr. Botto to be ordained in his home area.
“It’s also a great grace for the Fraternity, because this is the first time that we’ve had ordinations in Rome.”
“This is a very special day for us because the order is so connected with Rome and St. Peter, and the Chair of St. Peter and the Pope. This is a very happy moment for both of our societies.”
Fr. Brancich explained that the traditional Latin Mass has found a “great resurgence” among young people and young clergy, as well as older people “who have rediscovered it.”
“One thing that they consistently comment on is the sense of reverence, the sense of sacredness that they feel when they attend the Mass,” which strongly conveys the worship of God.
He underscored that the goal of being at Mass is to pray, and that the definition of prayer is to “lift your mind and heart to God.”
The ordination took place at Most Holy Trinity of the Pilgrims, the Fraternity's Roman parish, and reflected the universality of the Church.
The Transalpine Redemptorists are based in a monastery on an island in the north of Scotland and also have a monastery in New Zealand. Fr. Magdala Maria is a New Zealander, and Fr. Yousef Marie is from Lebanon.