A Brief Introduction

During its General Assembly held July 7 to 19, 2014 at the Sulpician Seminary in Issy-les-Moulineaux, the delegates elected its General Council to lead the Society of the Priests of Saint Sulpice for the next six years (2014-2020). Here is a short profile.

Reelected Superior General was Ronald D. WITHERUP, PSS of the United States. Father Witherup is from the Diocese of Erie (Pennsylvania) and, prior to being Superior General, had served eleven years as Provincial of the U.S. Province of Sulpicians. A biblical scholar by training, he holds a doctorate in biblical theology and frequently preaches priest retreats, gives lectures on the Bible and theology, and continues active participation in various professional groups, including the Catholic Biblical Association of America (CBA), the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), and the Association Catholique Française pour l’Étude de la Bible (l’ACFEB). Father Witherup has authored or edited fifteen books, most recently, The Word of God at Vatican II: Exploring Dei Verbum (Liturgical Press, 2014) and La Bible: Guide pour Tous (Médiaspaul, 2014).

Father David D. THAYER, PSS, also of the United States, was reelected a consultor and now serves as first consultor. He is from the Archdiocese of Hartford (Connecticut) and holds a doctorate in Philosophy. Father Thayer is a member of the formation faculty at Theological College in Washington, DC, where he also teaches philosophy and Latin at the Catholic University of America. He has served for the last 27 years on the committee for publishing the Bulletin de Saint-Sulpice, an annual journal for priestly formation and the French school of spirituality, for which he has been serving as Editor-in-Chief. Father Thayer continues an active interest in the French school, about which he has written numerous articles. He also has translated for private publication several lesser known works of Sulpician founder, Jean-Jacques OLIER.

Reelected for a term and now serving as second consultor is Father Argiro RESTREPO Sierra, PSS, a Colombian from the Archdiocese of Medellín, who has been serving in Montreal for many years. He was elected for the Province of Canada, where he also holds citizenship. Father Restrepo is a member of the formation team of the Major Seminary in Montreal, where he teaches dogmatic and fundamental theology. Holding a doctorate in theology, he is interested primarily in the topic of divine revelation, but he also continues to do research in the area of the French school of spirituality. One of his recent publications is « Jean-Jacques Olier et l’amour de la Croix », BSS 34 (2008): 380-406.

Also reelected to the Council, and now serving as third consultor, is Joseph HO THU, Rector of the Major Seminary in Hue, Vietnam, where he had earlier served as a member of the formation team. Father Thu, who comes from the Archdiocese of Hue, holds a doctorate in theology from the Institut Catholique in Paris. Father Thu was elected as a representative from regions outside the three main centers of the Society, which in the past were considered “mission” territories. It is understood, though, that all the members of the General Council function together for the good of the whole Society, and not simply as representatives of a region.

The fourth consultor, Father Pierre de MARTIN de VIVIÈS, was elected for the first time to the General Council and is the representative from France. A native of the Archdiocese of Lyon, Father de Martin is on the faculty of the Regional Seminary Saint-Irénée in Lyon, where he also teaches Bible at the University of Lyon. He holds a doctorate in theology (ICP) and a doctorate in history of religions and religious anthropology from the Sorbonne (Paris IV). He has published several books on the Bible, the most recent being Anges et Démons (Nouvelle Cité, 2013), and La Fin du Monde (Nouvelle Cité, 2014).

L to R: Frs. de Martin, Thayer, Witherup, Ho Thu, and Restrepo

The new Council will hold its first full meeting at the Generalate in Paris December 8-12, 2014. The three Provincials, Fathers Jean-Marc MICAS (France), Jacques D’ARCY (Canada), and Thomas R. ULSHAFER (USA) will also be present, as will the General Treasurer, Father Phillip BROWN, who is also Rector of the Theological College of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. The main agenda item will be the implementation of the propositions adopted at the General Assembly in July.

Council members signing the Acts of the Assembly during the closing Eucharist, July 19, 2014