Servants of the Holy Family

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Servants of the Holy Family
(Servi Sanctae Familiae)
SSF coat of arms.jpg
Abbreviation S.S.F.
Formation Feast of the Holy Family (January 9, 1977)
Founder Reverend Anthony D. Ward, Father Superior
Type Private religious community for men
Purpose Sanctification through the traditional Latin Mass

The Servants of the Holy Family is a traditionalist Catholic church in Colorado Springs which professes adherence to traditional Catholic doctrine and morals. Their spiritual life centers on the Liturgical Calendar, especially the traditional Latin Mass.[1]

In accordance with fire department regulations, in January 2014 Servants of the Holy Family was obliged to change its street address. It is now found at 8528 Kenosha Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80908.

Purpose of the Foundation[edit]

Their stated purpose is "to aspire after and achieve by the grace of God the sanctification of its members and the salvation of souls through their prayers, sacrifices and apostolate". It intends to accomplish this chiefly by attachment to the Holy Sacrifice of the traditional Latin Mass and to the Roman Breviary. Other important devotions observed by all the members are Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, the frequent reception of the sacrament of Penance, keeping days of recollection on a regular basis, and praying the Holy Rosary with one of the approved litanies daily. Also, frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament as well as mental prayer are considered most important for all of the members, who are to regard holiness of life as their primary objective. According to their website, their apostolate is the salvation of souls through the Mass, the Catholic Liturgy, the dispensing of the Sacraments, traditional Catholic sermons, morality, the spiritual life, and teaching of the Baltimore catechism.[2]


Servants of the Holy Family was founded in 1977 on the feast of the Holy Family by Reverend Anthony D. Ward, who is their Father Superior, and was placed under the patronage of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The community has been located in Colorado since March 1977. Since that time the community has accepted priests, seminarians and brothers as members. The mother house with its chapel is situated on ten acres of land south of the Black Forest near the city of Colorado Springs, Colorado.[3]

Relationship with the Catholic Church[edit]

In 2004, Michael John Sheridan, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Colorado Springs, sent a letter to some 60 families warning them that, despite the claims of the Servants of the Holy Family priests, the organization is not part of the Roman Catholic Church. "I entreat you to separate yourself from the Servants of the Holy Family and return to full communion with the Roman Catholic Church," the bishop wrote. "No one can claim to be authentically Catholic if he or she is not in communion with the diocesan bishop and the Pope."[4] The community responded to the local media by saying, "Servants of the Holy Family will neither participate in a public debate or controversy, nor will it in any way contribute to the strife and division already present today in the Catholic Church. If anyone is interested, he or she may come and see for themselves what we are about."[5]

On July 31, 2013, Bishop Sheridan issued a new declaration setting forth the recent history of relations between the Church and the Servants of the Holy Family.[6] After the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum was issued in 2007, the bishop related, he visited the community and, "moved with compassion" for its adherents, granted temporary faculties to its priests to hear confessions. Subsequent canonical talks aimed at bringing the Servants back into the Church broke down, however, when Fr. Ward refused to attend meetings and instead sent a letter accusing the bishop "of fostering and protecting modernism, ecumenism, religious liberty and indifference, liturgical abuse, and, in summary, promoting a false new religion."[citation needed]

In the 2013 declaration, Bishop Sheridan revoked the temporary faculties he had granted to the priests of the community, and explained "that the Servants' priests Anthony Ward, Michael J. McMahon, Mark R. Violette, Kevin D. Simons, and Allan R. Kucera, are not in good standing with the Diocesan or the Universal Catholic Church." Sacramentally, the bishop warned, "the celebration of the Holy Eucharist" by priests of the community "is illicit and a grave moral offense." Further, the absolutions these priests purport to give within Confession "are invalid," as are weddings they purport to solemnize for Catholics.[7] Bishop Sheridan forbade the Servants from celebrating any "acts of public worship," including sacraments and sacramentals, and cautioned that "it will be an act of spiritual danger for Catholics who will attend these celebrations."[citation needed]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Servants of the Holy Family -- from their website
  2. ^ About Us-Servants of the Holy Family -- from their website
  3. ^ About Us-Servants of the Holy Family -- from their website
  4. ^ "Bishop Warns Of Rogue Church To Membership". 15 November 2004. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Bishop Warns Of Rogue Church To Membership". 15 November 2004. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Diocese of Colorado Springs (July 31, 2013). "Declaration of Most Reverend Michael J. Sheridan". 
  7. ^ See Code of Canon Law, Canon 966 §1 ("The valid absolution of sins requires that the minister have, in addition to the power of orders, the faculty of exercising it . . . .") and Canon 1108 §1 ("Only those marriages are valid which are contracted before the local ordinary, pastor, or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them . . . .").

External links[edit]