Msgr. Gerard Schons, who served since 1953 as a priest in the diocese of Sacramento in various ministries, died on March 23. He was 92.
Philip Carey, president of the Sacramento Traditional Mass Society, issued the following statement:
“It is no exaggeration to say that if it were not for Monsignor Gerard Schons, St. Stephen the First Martyr parish, a fully traditional Mass parish in Sacramento, administered by priests of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, would not exist.
“A Claretian, (Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary), who spoke his mind and loved the Faith, after the 1988 motu proprio ‘Ecclesia Dei’ which extended the 1984 indult making the Mass more accessible, Monsignor Schons was one of the first and few to apply for and receive a celebret from the newly formed Ecclesia Dei Commission.
“Despite discouragement from the Chancery, Monsignor Schons stepped up and agreed to say the Mass at St. Rose Church where Monsignor Edward Kavanaugh was pastor and who gave permission that the Traditional Mass could be said on a regular basis every Sunday and whenever needed. Monsignor Schons said that first Mass on Mercy Sunday, 1989 and for many years after.
“Although he had been ‘retired’ since 1982, he accomplished far more in those retirement years. He would say Mass, hear confessions, and administer the Sacraments on a regular basis at St. Rose Church. He worked with Bishop Gallegos in the Spanish Centro and worked for the Spanish Catholic community in Sacramento.
Bishop Jaime Soto was the celebrant of a funeral Mass for Msgr. Schons on Monday, April 2 at 10 a.m. in Msgr. Kavanagh Community Center in Sacramento.
Further Comments from St. Rose Parish:
Msgr. Gerard Schons was ordained in Chile in 1947, and served in the South American missions until 1953 when he came to Sacramento. Technically retired in 1982, Msgr. continued his active ministry at St. Rose. Although living in Galt, a suburb of Sacramento, he continued to drive daily to St. Rose, over 20 miles from his residence, to spend an hour daily before the Blessed Sacrament at St. Rose, reading his breviary and praying the Rosary. After a lunch in the rectory kitchen, where he often made soup for the parish priests, he would drive back to Galt.
Msgr. Schons was not afraid to tackle difficult issues in his sermons, and he spoke often on abortion, homosexuality, drugs, contraception, pornography.
Nearly 40 priests, and two bishops, attended Msgr. Schons’ funeral Mass. Most of the laity attending were St. Rose parishioners and parishioners of other parishes where Msgr. Schons was active. The Fraternity of St Peter’s St. Stephen Martyr parishioners did not attend, but will have their own Mass on April 23, the one-month anniversary of Monsignor Schons’ death.
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