USA | Chicago Province Erects Its Fourth Chapter of the Priestly Fraternities
Updated: Nov 9
As the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic continues to expand rapidly in the Chicago Province of St. Albert the Great, another chapter was officially established on November 7, Feast of All Saints of the Dominican Order. The Chapter of Mary Mediatrix is located in the Diocese of Evansville, Indiana, where a remarkably active apostolate of the laity called “Servants of the Redemptor” exists, the same association that paved the way for the birth of the chapter.
All members of the Servants of the Redemptor are Lay Dominicans. Desirous of aligning themselves with a tradition in the Church extending far beyond their own immediate scope, the members conducted a serious study earlier in their formation in order to ascertain which religious family in the Church paralleled most authentically their own vision and commitment. In time, it became clear to them that their spirit was Dominican. Thus, the entire movement entered the Dominican Laity and, with the accompaniment of Brother John Steilberg, O.P., Provincial Promoter of the Dominican laity for the Chicago Province, they are flourishing. More information about this Dominican project can be found on their website.
The Servants of the Redemptor include a highly active association of priests and permanent deacons, who, after very careful discernment and scrutiny on the part of the Order, requested and were granted admittance into the Order as members of the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic. The process was thorough and painstakingly careful, leading to the acceptance of this clerical group as the Mary Mediatrix Chapter of the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic of the Chicago Province. On November 7, 2020, Provincial Promoter, Fr. Michael Monshau, O.P., traveled from Minneapolis to Evansville (700 miles each way), through the courtesy of chapter members who drove him, to preach a day of retreat, to establish the new chapter and to invest its members into the novitiate of the Priestly Fraternities.
As discussions about forming the chapter unfolded during the past year, it became clear that a strong fraternal bond already existed between priests who were associated with the Servants of the Redemptor and other members who were permanent deacons. Eventually, the Prior Provincial, Fr. James Marchionda, O.P., granted dispensations to several deacons to become members of this chapter. Of the four Fraternity chapters in the Chicago Province, this is the only one whose membership is not reserved exclusively for priests.
During Mass at the November 7th Retreat Day, six of the seven charter members were invested as novices and given their names in the Order. Deacon Tom Goebel was received and given the religious name of Brother Thomas Mary. Fr. Jim Koressel received the name of Brother Dominic. Deacon Tom Kempf was received under the name Brother Damien of Mary Immaculate while Deacon John McMullen was given the name of Brother Ephraim. Fr. John Pfister received a combination of the names of his father and great-grandfather as Brother James Martin. Fr. Jeff Read received the religious name of Montfort. Unfortunately, Fr. Jack Durchholz, one of the principal animators of the group, is suffering at home with COVID-19 and so was unable to attend. When he recovers, he will be received through a simple vestition ritual with the name Brother Dominic. They will all receive their novitiate formation from Fr. Gary Blake, a member of the Regina Rosarii Chapter (Joliet, Illinois) who has been functioning most generously as the novice master for the entire Chicago Province.
In order to provide some family wisdom for the members of the new chapter, Fr. Michael Monshau obtained the cooperation of two professed members from other chapters who agreed to transfer their membership to the new Mary Mediatrix Chapter. Fr. Mauro (Egidio) Rodas, who had been a professed member of the St. Vincent Ferrer Chapter (River Forest) and who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, agreed to be transferred to the Evansville group. In a somewhat more unconventional move, Fr. Albert Trudel, O.P., Provincial Promoter of the Province of St. Joseph, gave permission to Deacon Franco Cottrell, a permanent deacon who resides in nearby Louisville, Kentucky (which is in the St. Joseph Province territory) and an active member of the Lay Fraternities, to transfer to the Chicago Province and assume membership in the new Mary Mediatrix Chapter, in whose foundation he had been instrumental. Fr. Alan (Adrian) Guanella, a canonist who is the Prior of the Chicago Province’s St. Vincent Ferrer Chapter, charted all the constitutional integrity of every transaction and prepared all of the documents necessary for this establishment to be made correctly.
Accordingly, the newest entity of the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic in the Chicago Province, Mary Mediatrix Chapter of the Diocese of Evansville, Indiana, came into existence on November 7, 2020, with a membership of nine clerics, five of whom are priests and four of whom are permanent deacons.
fr. Michael Monshau, O.P.