The Fraternity is the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, an organization active in 37 dioceses in the U.S. and seven in Canada. The group's Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, located in Denton, Nebraska, in farm country southwest of Lincoln, focuses on the singing of Gregorian chant, and has released several albums. One of those, Requiem, appeared on the major Sony label and achieved strong commercial success.
The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter itself was canonically established in 1988 by Pope John Paul II. The organization operates two seminaries; one, St. Peter, is located in Wigratzbad, Germany, and is aimed at German and French speakers; Our Lady of Guadalupe, for English speakers, was the second seminary, and opened in 1993. The seminaries' singing and liturgy are exclusively in Latin. Our Lady of Guadalupe's membership has grown each year since then, and Requiem featured the singing of many of the 75 young priests-to-be in training at the time. The priests sing chant four times a day as well as attending classes, growing food and eating meals together, beekeeping, and even participating in competitive sports (the seminary basketball team has placed as high as third in a league consisting of other American seminary teams).
The signing of the Fraternity to Sony was shepherded by the production team of Kevin and Monica Fitzgibbons, whose De Montfort Music firm has specialized in developing accessible performances and recordings of early sacred music. Requiem brought on board top Sony engineering talent in the form of producer Christopher Alder and engineer Brad Michel, both Grammy winners. One unusual aspect of the album was the priests' stress on the texts, reproduced in full in the album's booklet; rather than presenting chant as part of a mystical realm, they invite listeners to contemplate its words as they themselves do. ~ James Manheim