The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter is a society of apostolic life of pontifical right, that is, a community of priests who, without taking religious vows, carry out their mission together in the Catholic Church, under the authority of the Holy See. This mission has two aspects: first, the formation and sanctification of priests; second, the care of souls and pastoral action at the service of the Church. The Saint Peter’s Fraternity carries out this mission using the liturgical books in force in 1962, as specified in its decree of erection in 1988, confirmed by a decree of Pope Francis dated February 11, 2022.
The Fraternity was founded on 18 July 1988 at the Abbey of Hauterive (near Fribourg, Switzerland) by a dozen priests and some seminarians. Shortly after its foundation and thanks to the help of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, it was welcomed by Bishop Josef Stimpfle, Bishop of Augsburg (Germany) in Wigratzbad, Bavarian Marian Shrine. It is here today that the European Seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter is located, which is the Motherhouse of the Community. The General House is located in Fribourg, Switzerland. The Society currently has 341 priests and 185 seminarians.
The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter has two houses of formation: the first in Wigratzbad, Germany, the second in Denton, in the United States (State of Nebraska). These two seminaries are organized according to the norms in force in the Church concerning priestly formation. The candidates thus follow a year of spiritual preparation (year of propedeutics) before beginning the cycle of philosophy (two years), then that of theology (four years). During these years of prayer, study and community life, the candidate for the priesthood gradually acquires human maturity, personal discipline and greater union with Christ. The spiritual life in these two seminaries is centered on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, thus carrying out this faithful observance of the «liturgical and disciplinary traditions» in accordance with the provisions of the Motu proprio Ecclesia Dei adflicta of 2 July 1988, that is at the origin of the foundation of the Fraternity (cf. Constitutions, art. 8). Philosophical and theological studies are based on the principles and method of St Thomas Aquinas (cf. Constitutions, Art. 10).
Even after the seminary, the priestly life of the priest requires ongoing formation through personal studies and community formation sessions.
Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter
The members of the Fraternity are sent to serve the faithful in various apostolates throughout the world, where Bishops have entrusted them with a pastoral mission in accordance with their own charism. The Fraternity thus works on four continents (complete list of our houses and apostolates). Priests live in small communities and work to spread the Gospel by taking care of parishes, through youth education (schools, camps and youth movements) and by organizing conferences, catechism courses, pilgrimages, retreats and other activities.