Our Rule of Life
The call of Christ invites us to take up the Cross, and to follow in the way of the Cross, in faithfulness and obedience to Christ, and in union with Him, even unto death, in the fulness of resurrection life The Brethren shall endeavour to imitate the Crucified Saviour in every aspect of life, and, through following this discipline in their teaching and pastoral care, to help others to do the same.
ii. They shall endeavour to cultivate, both in themselves and others, a lively sense of the Communion of Saints, practising and teaching devotion to the Saints, especially to our Blessed Lady, and prayer for the departed.
iv. In following this discipline, therefore, the Brethren shall regard as of first obligation those rules and usages which have the authority of the Holy Catholic Church. They are further called to live according to the pattern which belongs to this Society of the Holy Cross, so as to assist the image of Christ being formed in them as they seek to model His Priesthood in their lives.
2. The Rule of the Church
Therefore, in their priestly life they:
ii. say daily the Divine Office, either privately or openly, not being hindered by sickness or some other urgent cause;
iii. observe the appointed fast before Holy Communion, and other fasts and abstinences prescribed, especially those of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday;
iv. use the Sacrament of Reconciliation as conscience requires and at least once a year.
The Society recognises that it has no power of its own to dispense its
3. The Celebration of Mass
ii. The Brethren shall celebrate, concelebrate or otherwise participate at Mass on a daily basis, according to opportunity.
iii. However, when the above cannot be accomplished, they shall join in spirit in the celebration of the Lord’s Sacrifice and in communion with Him, by making an act of Spiritual Communion by visiting, if practical, the Blessed Sacrament.
iv. The Brethren shall carefully prepare themselves beforehand, reciting their intention and making thanksgiving afterwards according to opportunity.
v. The Brethren are asked to wherever possible offer Mass for
the Society and its mission on the following days:
On Fridays throughout the year, sometimes using a Votive Mass of the Holy Cross when permitted by the rubrics.
On the 28th February, the Anniversary of the Foundation of the Society.
On the 27th May, St. Augustine of Canterbury, Missionary.
On 4th August, St. John Mary Vianney, the Cure d’Ars.
On 9th September, Commemoration of Fr. Charles Fuge Lowder SSC.
On 14th September, the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross.
On 27th September, St. Vincent de Paul.
On 30th November, St. Andrew’s Day – for the work of Mission Direct.
vi. The Brethren should take every opportunity to adore the presence of Christ in His Blessed Sacrament so that their lives might be permeated with a tremendous reverence towards this mystery of faith.
4. The Divine Office
i. The Brethren shall recite the Divine Office, daily, in a spirit of adoration and intercession, in the name of all and especially of those under their care.
ii. Where two or more members of the Society work in a common apostolate they should, if practical, join together for the recitation of Morning and Evening Prayer.
iii. The Divine Office should, where possible, be recited in public and the people of God be encouraged to join with the priest in the offering of this prayer and praise. The church bell should be rung beforehand, according to local provision.
iv. If public recitation is not possible, then the Office should be said privately, with the expectation remaining during periods of annual holiday and weekly times of recreation.
v. If genuinely prevented from fulfilling this commitment, because of health or some other reason, an act of devotion should be made to associate oneself with the daily prayer of the church.
vi. The Brethren are encouraged to assist a sick brother in charity, where practical, by reciting the Office with him, or at least part thereof as health permits.
5. The Sacrament of Reconciliation
ii. It is appropriate that Brethren make their confession during Passiontide or at Easter and in Advent. Other times of the year might include Holy Cross tide, anniversary of ordination and always according to conscience.
iii. It is recommended that the Brethren should have a regular confessor to whom they turn and should not generally seek out alternates.
iv. It is recommended that the Brethren should each have a spiritual director to whom they turn for guidance and advice on the life of prayer. They should meet with their director on a regular basis.
v. The Brethren should make a daily self-examination and act of contrition, so that they may be drawn into a deeper surrendering of their wills to the will of God.
6. Prayer and intercession
ii. The Brethren shall commend the day to God on first awakening and the night on going to bed, making the sign of the Cross at rising and lying down.
iii. They shall pray daily for the good of the Society and for other priests, in the offering of Mass and at the Divine Office. They shall especially pray for the Brothers who are sick or in particular need.
iv. The Brethren are encouraged to make use of the Stations of the Cross as a devotion, appropriate to members of our Society, so that they may learn themselves to follow more faithfully in the way of the Cross.
7. Christian Unity
i. The Brethren must strive in all their dealings to rise above divisions and oppositions and always look for what unites all people in the universal love of Christ.
ii. The Brethren should pray for the unity of the Church Militant and in particular for reconciliation with the Holy See, working towards that end as opportunity occurs.
iii. The Brethren should pray that they may be united in their witness and in their duty to serve each other, so as to strengthen their brothers in the priesthood.
8. The Departed
ii. Upon the death of a brother, Mass should be offered at the earliest opportunity.
iii. The Brethren are expected to attend wherever possible a brother’s funeral rites, especially those from their own Chapter.
iv. The Brethren are encouraged to leave their requests upon the event of their death in written form with the local Chantry Clerk, taking into account the customs of the Society.
v. The Brethren are encouraged to participate in the annual requiem of their Chapter in the month of November, as fellow pilgrims travelling to the Father’s house.
9. Study of the Scriptures and teaching of the Church
ii. The Brethren should study to keep themselves aware of, and in harmony with the teachings of the Universal Church and communicate them to those to whom they minister.
iii. The Brethren shall seek to make the Scriptures and the Patristic writings live for the people to whom they minister.
The evangelistic outreach of their ministry will find its focus in their preaching and teaching. Time should be taken to prepare carefully for this ministry.
iv. The Brethren are commended to read each week the high priestly prayer of Christ, as set out in the Gospel according to St. John chapter 17, and to meditate on their share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
10. Fasting and Self-denial
ii. The Brethren shall observe the appointed fast before Holy Communion, and other fasts and abstinences prescribed, especially those of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
iii. The Brethren are encouraged to practice self-denial on all Fridays (except Solemnities).
iv. The Brethren shall consider prayerfully their commitment to charitable giving, and the work of mission, including that to Mission Direct, and to other causes for the relief of those in need.
v. The Brethren will be aware also how much they lack themselves, and of their own poverty; they must dare to hold out their hands to receive from others and learn from them.
11. The outward life of a Priest of the Society
In so doing:
ii. The Brethren shall be known for their forbearance and good manners, the more so when associating with those with whom they disagree.
iii. The Brethren shall exercise charity in conversation and moderation in their recreational activities. They must avoid giving scandal in any form of personal behaviour.
iv. The Brethren must at all times, whether in public or private, be aware of the language they employ, so as never to take the Lord’s Name in vain.
v. The Brethren are enjoined, when engaged in their priestly duties, to wear appropriate clerical dress at all times.
vi. The Brethren, as they wear the Society’s cross, should do so with humility and respect, mindful of their calling to share in the servanthood of Christ.
12. Recollection and Retreat
ii. The Brethren shall make a retreat each year unless positively hindered, and wherever possible of not less than four days.
iii. The Brethren are encouraged to keep a regular full day of recollection, monthly if possible.
iv. The Brethren are encouraged to participate in other opportunities as may be offered, especially in Advent and Lent, so that in this way their lives may be fed with prayer and be full of the search for God.
13. The Communion of Saints
ii. The Brethren shall have a particular Devotion to Our Lady, the Virgin Mother of God. Through her fidelity, they find a model for their priestly life. As Queen of the Clergy, they should seek her protection to find a model of fidelity for their priestly lives.
iii. The Brethren are commended to use traditional forms of prayer to assist their devotion; including the Holy Rosary, especially in the months of May and October.
To this end:
ii. The Brethren are encouraged to be Priest Associates of the Holy House of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham and to pray regularly for the work of the Shrine.
iii. The Brethren shall consider making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land once during their lifetime and participate in the devotion of the Via Dolorosa.
ii And in the following form:
We should glory
Let us Pray:
iii. The Brethren are encouraged to read a section of the Rule
iv. The Brethren are encouraged to renew their promise to the
v. The Brethren are encouraged to prayerfully and thankfully
16. The Society, its Patronage and Rule of Life
ii. This Rule is not meant to be a burden, nor does it pretend to be complete. It should help the Brethren discover and experience how great is the freedom to which they are called and the joy that the gift of priesthood brings. They are to remember the injunction of St. Paul to be ‘happy in the Lord at all times’ and to rejoice always in his abiding presence.
v. Under God, in the power of the Cross, all things are possible