docile traditionalist orders working w/the poor? Frs Ho Lung&Groeschel's orders 100%?


Are there any traditionalist orders of the Ecclesia Dei type or ones that do the novus ordo EWTN-style that work with the poorest of the poor in poor countries or amongst our poor? I saw the Missionaries of the Poor on Life on the Rock last night and it looks neat what they do and the schedule they keep, but they had video of someone playing the guitar at a mass and some red flags went up. Has anyone volunteered there and can tell me how their mass is? Do they preach what EWTN teaches? I also like the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and their lifestyle from what I’ve heard and seen. Has anyone been there? I think they both do charismatic kind of things, which, though not my cup of tea, I can take as long as the mass is reverent and solemn enough and all the Church teaches is taught without actions/teachings of indifference and/or leaving out teachings non-Catholics wouldn’t agree with. I would like to visit both this year, but I, with a friend, am going on a pilgrimage to Italy (including Rome) and Israel (and maybe Jordan and/or Damascus). Is it safe as non-Jews to go to Syria these days?
Please tell me about the other two but especially any Ecclesia Dei traditionalists who work with the poor. Thanks!


I don’t know that I would use the word “docile” as an adjective to describe the Friars of the Renewal. Part of the reason they were founded was due to a desire to more closely emulate the original Franciscans. While some of the work done by some of their members could be considered charismatic such as that done by Father Stan Fortuna (which is incredible in reaching the young!!!), their loyalty to the Pope and Magisterium is without question. A friend’s son is a Friar of the Renewal and we also got to meet and spend time with several of them at the March for Life in Washington D.C., in January of this year. Their faith and intensity reminded me of what was written of Francis and his companions.

As for Syria, being an American is about as popular as being Jewish in that country. I advise you to contact the State Department for the most recent information and recommendations regarding travel in that area or visit them at If they advise you not to go, don’t go. You have far more to worry about being struck by than Paul did on his way to Damscus.


Fr Benedict Groeschel is a Franciscan. I looked it up. The Franciscans live and work of the poor of the poor. I am pretty damn poor and if you go, Id say about 2 or 3 miles to the city. Past all the grafiti and the drug dealers and the murderers. You will find a vacated and closed Parish that was handed off to the Franciscans… Somewhere among rows of boarded up houses.

Now there are two orders of Franciscans. Saint Anthony or was it Saint Francis actually started two orders. One was to live in strict poverty and one was living in the chaos of poverty… Now the problem with poverty is you need a house and shoes and cloths and food but as you descend into poverty… There is this overwhelming sense of urgencey. Where will I get food? Where will I get transportation? SOme of the Franciscans wrote to Rome to get permission, to say own a car or a house and x ammount of cloths because if you poop your pants. You are quite litterly **** out of luck.

Yes God will provide but how far can I get, with few cloths, little or no transportation and little or no food. Mostly it is up to other people, to be generous enough so that we may eat but in many parts of the world, people live in object poverty with little or no food, shelter, clothing, medicine, health care, transportation or addiquite drinking water. Out of all these things. The most important is clean drinking water and in many parts of the world, including Amerika people have little if no good access to clean drinking water.


I think “docile” means obedient but not blindly accepting everything your boss does or say as infallible (but not questioning their ability to lead or their authority given them for that reason).
Does anyone know if there are good-standing traditionalists that work with the poor and unfortunate or conservative ones that have a reverent (by the rubrics and canons and no innovations with hints of modernism or unnecessary folksiness in the jansenist vein) mass and other services like EWTN has?

I’m not sure how poor you have to be before you are poor like the poor that the Missionaries of the Poor (or Mother Theresa in the early days of her order) care for. I have heard that poor immigrants had put their money into the making of beautiful cathedrals of a century or two ago (which, if not only stripped of holy things, some of our leaders now close down or give to Protestants while keeping the impassionately-made flying saucer and origami suburban churches that seem to stress horizontal relationship of the congregation over the vertical one Catholic churches were meant to impress upon us).
I think the poor, in general, know more than us spoiled middle and upper-class do about piety and making sacrifices for our spiritual welfare. If they have the grace and the response, they know what really matters in life. They can be far more giving, just as a short story Mother Theresa wrote used in this “More Stories From the Heart” story compilation. Wealthy people say that it doesn’t matter to Him what we wear to church (usually to excuse ourselves of our little faith if not raised to believe that) when Fr. Groeschel says that people in Harlem who go to church wear the best they’ve got. Oh, we of little faith with our superficial idle talk and/or idle works and attitude. I think the poorest of the poor just have their faith or at least just their sincere selves–if nothing else (like in a coma or in despair), their suffering (if the latter offers it up).
I wouldn’t sell the poor of an degree short. In this age, they may not realize the benefits they would be gaining by giving first fruits of what little they have (even if not monetary) to such a worthy cause as the FOR or MOR’s in this “take what you can” society (that has been shoved down our throats by media and absorbed by many of the poor as well as the affluent, resulting in despair in hard times when their could be some joy in eternal rewards they could mount up) but I believe there is still a good number out there that would give to the more poor as Mother Theresa had indicated in her story.


[right]JMJ + OBT[/right]
Dear workinprogress,

I lived for two weeks with the Missionaries of the Poor (MOP) in the spring of 2003. And I lived with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFR) for 1 and 1/2 weeks during the spring of 2004.

Both communities are entirely faithful to the Magisterium. The CFR, in their friaries, definitely celebrate the liturgy in a conservative manner. Occasionally, they will celebrate a more charismatic-style liturgy, usually in conjunction with a larger, public religious festival or when working with charismatic conferences, etc.

The MOP have an extremely reverent conventual liturgy – all of the brothers prostrate themselves at the consecration of the bread, and again at the consecration of the wine – but, it does lean towards “folksy” in terms of some of the music. And the larger Masses they celebrate for the ghetto community do tend to be “charismatic,” though that’s not quite the right way to describe the experience. Rather, the brothers and congregation tend to sing hymns and bounce around a bit the way that many of the ghetto people are used to when attending the local Protestant churches. Though, I will say, even then the liturgy is still reverent and beautiful.

It is interesting, the MOP have in some ways a startlingly traditional spirituality. But it is dynamically blended with an unmistakable Caribbean beat! [Which won’t appeal to everyone, that’s for sure.]

I will say, if you can manage to go and live as a visitor with the MOP for a week or more . . . it really will floor you. I’ve never been the same – definitely a major step forward in my spiritual life and my living-experiencing firsthand what Christianity is all about:

The second day I was there I bathed and gave TLC to more than several terminal AIDS patients. Later the same day, I buried three of the “residents” who had died two days beforehand — in the graveyard there were skulls and rib cages lying around. One day, on a farm 2 hours outside Kingston, I caught over 500 chickens by hand and helped distribute them out of the back of a truck in the middle of the poorest ghettos in Kingston. I could go on and on . . . truly an amazing experience. Be prepared to eat strange food, though – fish-heads, stews with more bones than meat and beans in them, lots of fruits we don’t have in America, etc.

By the way, I consider myself to be a rather traditional Catholic and entirely sympathetic with your search for “traditional Catholicism” combined with a radical commitment to serve the poorest.

I loved my visit to the CFR as well. Also a life-shaping experience. I highly recommend you visit both communities if you are able.

Also, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) is a conservative-traditional community that does much work with the very poor – you may recognize Fr. John Corapi as a SOLT priest. You might consider visiting SOLT’s headquarters near Corpus Christi, TX (I did so this past spring, and really liked it) and/or spending some time in one of their missions worldwide:

Good luck and may God bless you.

In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.



Thank you “Whosebob” for a commentary from the perspective of one who prefers more traditional masses and other liturgies (thanks to the other responders too). I could take one or two folksy things, but I think mystery of our Faith (at least for the average Joe in any place) is best enriched and maintained by music, art and/or architecture closer resembling heaven and the choir of angels in our minds. If the FOR or the MOP are traditional in many ways, it may maintain that sense of mystery for religious. If they get too folksy, people, who are Catholic and yet don’t know they have to go to Church if possible, may ask why do we come here to church. Of course, I think we have to know what the Church believes and why it believes what it believes. I think if the Boomers (and even the WW2 generation who taught the Boomers or didn’t teach them the beauty of their Faith and the significance of its high art) were told why they do such and such traditional things (like a pre-Vatican 2 “Where is That in Tradition?”), they may have appreciated it more. I think we would have had less experimentation with the novus ordo mass if our Church had learned from their mistakes and taught the significance of what is revealed in thay liturgy. I could be wrong. It’s sad when Episcopalians (though maybe existing more in the high church version) have a (aesthetically) more Catholic liturgy than our masses.
James Hitchcock seems to have non-emotionally-laden takes on what happened at Vatican 2 and what went wrong afterwords. Maybe someone could tell me if he is wrong about things.


More recent research into this shows that members of the church that take vows of poverty for their order are listed as Medicent Friars.

Franciscans. (there are more than one order.)

Dominicans and Carmelites. (carmelites live in solitude.)


and the servites.

The story about catching 500 wild chickens was awesome. Did you just like pick them up or use a trap or a net or what?


The Mass that you see on EWTN any priest can celebrate. In fact, they can go all out with Holy water, incense, candle bearers, etc. But unfortunitly, that is a rare event it seems now. Just want to clearify as a priest doesn’t need to enter a particular order to celebrate Mass like that. In fact, I think it should be encouraged to celebrate Mass like that in addition to having Traditional Latin Masses. A great parish that does this is St. John Cantius Church in Chicago.


Funny that you asked this as well. I got this message in my e-mail regarding groups that celebrate under Ecclesei Dei;

Apostolic Adminstration of St. John Mary Vianney S.E. Most Rev. Dom Fernando Arêas Rifan, SSJV Titular Bishop of Cedamusa Campos-RJ BRAZIL

Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter Very Rev. Father Arnaud Devillers FSSP Superior General Fribourg SWITZERLAND

Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest Right Rev. Monsignor Gilles Wach S.T.D., Prior General Sieci ITALY

Fraternity of St. Vincent Ferrer Very Rev. Father Louis-Marie de Blignières FSVF Prior Chémeré-le-Roi FRANCE

Institute of St. Philip Neri Very Rev. Father Gerald Goesche S.T.D. Provost Berlin GERMANY.

Benedictines Clear Creek Very Rev. Dom Philip Anderson, OSB Prior Hulbert, OK 74441 UNITED STATES.

Benedictines Fontgombault Right Rev. Dom Antoine Forgeot OSB Abbot Fontgombault FRANCE

Benedictine Gaussan Right Rev. Dom Marc Doat,OSB Abbot Lezignan Corbieres FRANCE.

Benedictines Le Barroux Right Rev. Dom Louis-Marie de Geyer d’Orth OSB Abbot Le Barroux FRANCE

Benedictines Randol Right Rev. Dom Eric de Lesquen,OSB Abbot Cournols FRANCE

Benedictines St. Pierre de Clairac Very Rev. Father Prior, OSB (unknown) Saint Pierre de Clairac. FRANCE

Benedictines Triors Right Reverend Dom Hervé Courau, OSB Abbot Chatillon Saint Jeans FRANCE

Religious Institute of the Holy Cross of Riaumont Very Rev. Father Jean-Paul Argouarc’h Prior Liévin Cedex FRANCE

Canons Regular of the Mother of God Right Rev. Monsignor Wladimir-Marie de Saint-Jean Abbot Lagrasse FRANCE

Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem

Very Rev. Dom Daniel Oppenheimer CRNJ Prior La Crosse, WI 54601-7215 UNITED STATES


[quote=Bill_A]More recent research into this shows that members of the church that take vows of poverty for their order are listed as Medicent Friars . . . The story about catching 500 wild chickens was awesome. Did you just like pick them up or use a trap or a net or what?

[right]JMJ + OBT[/right]

I believe the Dominicans take vows of poverty too. And lots of orders have their members take vows of poverty, come to think of it.

The MOP do take vows of poverty, and chastity, and obedience – the traditional vows corresponding to the evangelical counsels given by Our Lord.

Each MOP brother also takes a fourth solemn vow – free service to the poor.

Telling the chicken story always brings a smile to my face . . . actually, I caught chickens twice while I was visiting the MOP. One time, it was at a farm were the chickens were roaming free within a large, fenced-in coup. The next time, the chickens were kept in large warehouse-like enclosures, with three to four chickens crammed into a small steel-wire cage.

The hens that are donated to the brothers, which they distribute live to the ghetto population, are egg-laying hens. When they “run out” of eggs, the farmers typically burn them, as no supermarket would ever sell them for meat – they are not bred to be eaten, and don’t have all that much meat on the bone.

But now, many of the farmers within a couple of hours of Kinsgton stay in touch with the brothers; and when a batch of chickens is used up (as far as egg-laying goes), the brothers come pick them up.

After catching or grabbing each chicken, we would throw them into the back of a large truck. Then we would climb into the back of the same truck with the 800 - 1,000 chickens, and ride back two hours or so into the heart of old Kingston for the distribution.

This whole prcess was quite an affair each time. There was one time during the distribution mayhem when a very large glop of chicken poo was kicked by a flailing chicken into my unfortunately-open mouth. I was so traumatized that my brain seemed to turn off my taste buds – of course I had nothing to wash it out with.

When I got back to the cloister that night, Brother Max, the vicar general, opened the gate. He was laughing at me tell my chicken poo story. Then he all of a sudden got a very serious look on his face . . . and ordered me to take a thorough shower before coming to Vespers. I must have smelled unfathomably fowl!!!

In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.



Yeah when your doing charity work, I dont think Monks are humble enough not to notice people are sweating. I was cutting grass one day and it was the usual 100 degrees out. My pastor said he was going to visit someone. I said do you know how to get to their house and he said no. I said I will show you how to get there and of course. Went out of his way to tell me a I smelled like grass and gasoline on the way. Nice way to teach people about humility. This guy needs one of his own.

What a great story


I work with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in Honduras as a lay missionary with the Missioners of Christ ( They are excellent, holy and dedicated to evangelization. We lay volunteers are blessed to be able to pray morning prayer and attend daily Mass with them at their friary several times per week. They are awesome! I am using my time in missions to discern God’s will for my life and sometimes feel very drawn towards their order!


I’m not sure I could bear to learn conversational Spanish. I may learn how to read Spain-Spanish so as to read St. John of the Cross or something. I heard priests of coastal orders have to learn another language. The MOP probably don’t have to worry much about that (laughing).
To do the week-long volunteer-stay, do you have to wear long sleeves and long pants of some kind (I think it said to ijn the info packet), but on clips of volunteers in action that I see on EWTN, volunteers seem to be wearing short sleeves. Do they get all their brothers from Asian countries (including India, though I still can’t think of Indians and Iranians as Asians)? I’m not against that, but it would be strange to be the only white brother amongst them (though I did actually have that experience during my homestay in Japan). I don’t even see of Latin or black ethnicity on the video clips–very peculiar. I wonder, though, how it is that their order seems to attract so many from Asia when they could be no further from Asia than there.


Because in most Asian Countrys like China the government does not tolerate religon. The Seminarians escape and come to the US. One told us he escaped 3 times and was twice jailed.


you can volunteer with the CFR’s (franciscans of the renewal) in New York and speak English!


[quote=workinprogress]The MOP probably don’t have to worry much about that (laughing) . . . do you have to wear long sleeves and long pants of some kind . . . Do they get all their brothers from Asian countries (including India, though I still can’t think of Indians and Iranians as Asians)? . . . I don’t even see of Latin or black ethnicity on the video clips–very peculiar. I wonder, though, how it is that their order seems to attract so many from Asia when they could be no further from Asia than there.

[right]JMJ + OBT[/right]
Dear workinprogress,

Actually, it is “house rules” with the MOP that the only language spoken in conversation between brothers/priests is English – they are pretty strict about this outside the novitiate, as it helps to maintain unity. For many of the brothers, this is a difficult and long-term effort, as many do not speak English as a first or even second language before joining the community. English is also the only language they use in the liturgy, though occasionally there is a bit of Latin.

Visitors to the community should expect to wear long pants 90% of the time – purchase a pair or two made from synthetic fabrics that breathe well. Shirts may be either long sleeve or short sleeve, but should tuck into your pants. What they really don’t want men or women to wear are “tank tops” with no sleeves at all.

Bring a pair of exercise shorts just in case they have you help in a construction project. Brothers and volunteers will wear t-shirts and shorts (but not short shorts! like “biker shorts”) when participating in that type of intensive labor.

I recommend bringing a pair of sandals or teevas or something like that for daily wear. But you might also bring a pair of sneakers and some socks.

Don’t bring but one or two changes of clothes or you will feel over-packed. The brothers each only have two pairs of shirts, pants, underwear, etc. Every day they spend time hand-washing their clothes, and you can join the crowd and wash your clothes too – no need to pack more than a couple days’ worth.

I found it extremely helpful to have most of my clothes made of lightweight synthetics, as all articles are air-dried on clotheslines, and it just takes too long with cotton fabrics.

Also, don’t plan to wear anything that you will feel bad about having stained with mud, poop, food, ???.

Do bring a small battery-operated alarm clock. Don’t worry about packing too many toiletries, they will provide you with just about anything basic you need – shaving cream, toothpaste, soap (at least they did when I visited), etc.

You should pack plenty of sunblock, and should also pack some laxative pills. Trust me, eating rice at almost every meal when your body is not used to it will plug you up like nothing else!

Bring a small nylon napsack to carry a few things around with you between work sites (e.g. a change of shirt). But nothing too fancy as you don’t want to attract extra attention on the streets in the ghetto.

Be prepared to feel frightened the first day or so. I had the feeling like my head was dunked underwater for about the first 36 hours I was there, and then I finally relaxed. My brother (sibling) visited later the same year by himself and reported having the same experience – actually, he said for the first two days he kept thinking, “I need to get away from this place right now!” By the way, I have visited six different communities and this experience of fright was unique to the MOP. I think it stems from the environment’s austerity and poverty being so stark.

As far as ethnic diversity in the community: the brothers hail principally from the Philippines, India (northern and southern), some from Central America, and a few from Haiti and Uganda.

There is a “white” elderly priest, originally from America I think, that lives in the community and actually helped Fr. Ho Lung to get the MOP started (beforehand he was a missionary in Japan). But he has an advanced case of Alzheimers and so is not an active member within the community.

When I was there about 18 months ago, there were no caucasian brothers at all – not any from the USA or Canada or from Europe. In fact all of the brothers themselves hail from the third world. They are themselves the poor. The MOP have mission houses in most of the locations from which the brothers originate – the third world is still ripe with vocations because the people are poor and not saturated with a materialistic perspective that poisons many against the self-sacrifice involved in a religious vocation.

I hope that this brain-dump is in some way useful or informative if you are planning or thinking about planning a visit to the MOP in Kingston, Jamaica. May God bless you.

In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.



Something to think about: if you’re going to live with the truly poor, a guitar may be a lot more practical than a pipe organ. “Silent Night” was written for the guitar because the pipe organ wasn’t working, and it is a very reverent piece. It is not that the guitar is a fundamentally less reverent instrument than the others, but because it is not practical for a large space and less elaborate than what a large congregation can put forward. For a small, cash-strapped parish, guitars are also inexpensive and easy to repair and maintain. (Most often, the musicians supply their own.) Likewise, the simpler, more “folksy” trappings for Mass are sometimes more appropriate when the Mass itself is held in a small, simple setting.

My dad cannot stand guitar masses, but they have their place… particularly if a parish has fine guitarists and poor (or no) well-trained organists.


I did not KNow O.P. Is order of Preachers. Fr Vincent is of this order and my research shows they Take Medicant Vows. It would be wonderful if Fr Vincent would come out and tell us what its like. How he gets around and whether he ever has doubts about whether God will provide.


[quote=Bill_A]I did not KNow O.P. Is order of Preachers. Fr Vincent is of this order and my research shows they Take Medicant Vows. It would be wonderful if Fr Vincent would come out and tell us what its like. How he gets around and whether he ever has doubts about whether God will provide.

[right]JMJ + OBT[/right]

I am not sure if this is helpful or not, but the community to which I have been referring is the MOP – Missionaries of the Poor. Please visit their website.

Indeed, OP does stand for “Order of Preachers” – also known as the Dominicans.

Both the OP and MOP are mendicant orders.

In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.



Thanks that helps.

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