Priests at the service of the gospel and the Church
Like Christ, the Good Shepherd, who goes to look for the lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7) wherever it is lost, the priests of the Institute of the Good Shepherd want to be "all-terrain" priests, open to the world and to the realities of today's evangelization.
Our ministry is exercised in a multitude of ways, according to pastoral needs, and according to the needs of the different local communities, at the request of the bishops. In town or in the countryside, the priest adapts to the way of life of his faithful, to dwell in the midst of the flock entrusted to him.
"The general end of the Institute is the Glory of God through the perpetuation of the Catholic Priesthood as received from Christ on Holy Thursday and transmitted to this day in the heritage of the See of Peter, as its source. The Institute affirms its profound Romanness because it is anxious to preserve the Tradition of the Church in its perpetual relevance."
— Statues of the IBP, II, §1
A life of fraternal community
Common life is the rule for the priests of the Institute of the Good Shepherd. All are divided into small communities, typically of three members, in which they lead a common life. In particular, they share at least one meal each day, as well as pray or sing an hour of the Office of the Breviary (lauds in the morning, or vespers or compline in the evening) according to the custom of the house.
In this way, common life is truly at the service of the needs and demands of the apostolate. The priest finds in this common life the comfort, the support and the friendship of his confreres, so necessary for the balance of a priestly life today. The priest, in fact, is not a man who lives in solitude, but on the contrary he thrives in good understanding with his confreres. This company is a source of security and joy, which can be expressed in the influence of his apostolate.
"The particular purpose of the Institute is the complete exercise of the priesthood, the Catholic hierarchy and Tradition, according to a form of life adapted to its mission and in the privileged help of a common life entirely ordained to the apostolate."
— Statues of the IBP, II, §2
Three types of apostolates
First of all at the Seminary of St. Vincent de Paul in Courtalain, in the diocese of Chartres. It is here that the future priests of the community are trained. This formation house holds "the first place in the Institute" (Statutes, III, §1) because it is the guarantee of our future developments and of the unity of the Institute. Courtalain hosts spiritual retreats for our priests once a year, as well as various congresses or study days in different fields of ecclesiastical science: philosophy, theology, Church news, etc.
Additionally, several young priests are undertaking studies in Rome, in Toulouse, or in other Pontifical Universities. This very particular attention given to higher studies and the attainment of canonical degrees (Master and Doctorate) in Philosophy, Theology and Canon Law. This is the pledge of a serious and applied implementation of our own charism: to know and disseminate the Tradition of the Church in all its aspects.
Called to respond to all kinds of pastoral needs in France and elsewhere in Europe, most of our priests assume parish apostolates as pastors, vicars or chaplains.
The re-evangelization of the countryside has thus become a mission that the Institute willingly assumes in countries of ancient Christendom! How many churches in our villages are now devoid of priests? No more baptisms or weddings, no more Masses on Sunday. A real challenge for the Church today is to revive small local communities around the liturgy, and to find there a missionary spirit, to conquer again Christian hearts and souls!
3. Missions in Latin America and Africa
From the founding of the Institute, several priests and seminarians from Latin America joined the community. Thus, the second canonically erected house was in Bogotá, Colombia. Once formed in France, according to the traditional spirit of our community, these Latin American priests are sent home to provide spiritual and missionary support to the faithful attached to the Tridentine Mass. For example, in Brazil many groups of the faithful are waiting for a priest trained in the traditional form.
in Africa as well, two IBP priests have started a new mission in Kampala, Uganda: catechism for adults and for hundreds of children, parish ministry, missions in the bush, and soon to open a primary school and a college.