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SAN ANTONIO, Texas (LifeSiteNews) — In a devastating blow to a faithful Texas Catholic family with six children who have made their living running a private ranch, the archbishop of San Antonio, Texas, issued a public letter to all Catholics directing them not to do business with the ranch. The January 30 letter formally prohibits all clergy, schools, retreat centers, and Catholic groups “from contracting with or utilizing Sanctus Ranch for any Catholic-sponsored retreats, meetings, activities, or spiritual endeavors.”

Even where contracts were already signed, the bishop directed them to discuss it with his legal team rather than fulfill their contractual obligations. Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller instructed Catholics against Sanctus Ranch, telling them not “to participate in any of its activities.”

Previous to the archbishop’s action against Sanctus Ranch, the family-owned business had bookings nearly every weekend. Every Catholic booking has been canceled since they were from Catholic groups in the archdiocese, though the family believes other groups withheld their contracts because they knew of the archbishop’s impending move. They also believe the archbishop influenced other dioceses against them. The financial loss amounts to more than $425,000.

The language from the archbishop is so severe that, according to the testimony of locals in the community, the family’s children are being ostracized by their peers as friends feel they should not visit. Mrs. Jennifer Sevigny, who runs the ranch with her husband and children, was in tears, as she told this reporter that she prayed the turmoil would not harm the faith of her children.

She explained the devastating financial impact of the archbishop’s letter, which comes only having narrowly survived the cancellations that resulted from the COVID shutdown a couple of years ago. “We are all in,” she explained. There is no “college fund for the children, no retirement fund,” all of our “blood, sweat, and tears are in this mission,” which is for the glory of God. Despite the crushing blow, Mrs. Sevigny is resigned to God’s will even if that should mean losing everything.

What could motivate such severe action sure to cripple a Catholic family with young children? What is so sinister in this family, who in the eyes of faithful Catholics have lived heroic, sacrificial lives to promote the Catholic faith and live out their family business as a mission to give glory to God?

Were they promoting abortion? Were they condoning homosexuality? Were they offering contraception to guests? Were they advocating women priests? Were they offering scandalous sex education at the school associated with the ranch? Was the father of the family involved in some sexual scandal? Were they involved in illegal immigration?

To all those questions, the answer is a resounding “no.” However, each of those charges are practiced by some priests and Catholic teachers in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, and none have been met with even a warning, let alone a total cancellation.

One of the main charges against the ranch listed in the archbishop’s letter is that the chapel on the ranch “is an unapproved chapel lacking any canonical status” and “(t)here has been no approval granted to conduct sacramental ministry of any kind in this chapel and the altar has not been dedicated for the Sacred Liturgy.”

Sanctus Ranch owner Dan Sevigny replied in a public response to the archbishop’s press release that “in 2019, the Archbishop himself twice celebrated Mass on a non-dedicated altar of the Ranch.” Moreover, the archbishop’s auxiliary bishop, Gary Janak, “also offered Mass on the same altar for a men’s retreat in October 2021.”

“For the Archbishop to condemn publicly his own ministerial conduct, as well as that of Bishop Janak, is the essence of hypocrisy,” Sevigny said.

LifeSite reached out to the archbishop’s office for comment but was only sent the original press release from the archbishop in reply along with a note from Jordan McMorrough, the director of communications, saying “the Archdiocese of San Antonio has no additional comment beyond the content of the statement.”

Nearly 200 people gathered for a town hall meeting on Wednesday at the ranch to learn about the matter and express sympathy for the family. Outside the archdiocesan office on Thursday, a smaller group of 30 gathered to pray for the conversion of Archbishop Garcia-Siller and for the family.

It is likely, though unstated in Archbishop Garcia-Siller’s letter, that the focus of the archbishop’s ire is that local faithful are going to Sanctus Ranch to access the Latin Mass, which the archbishop has severely restricted in his archdiocese.

LifeSite spoke with Fr. Donald Kloster, who is a priest resident at the Sanctus Ranch who offers the Latin Mass daily for the family, guests and retreatants who come to the ranch. They often have local Catholics who long to go to the Latin Mass attend the private Masses at Sanctus Ranch, which is totally permissible according to Church law. However, in the archbishop’s letter, the validity of Fr. Kloster’s masses is falsely called into question.

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By cancelling ALL CATHOLIC retreats, this persecution has resulted in a $40 - $60k monthly loss in revenue. Our organization needs help to survive and funds to pursue legal action against this unjust defamation. Your donation will allow our organization to survive and make payroll for the PRIESTS and FAMILIES involved.

Moreover, the archbishop’s letter also states falsely that Fr. Kloster has been hearing confessions at Sanctus Ranch when the archbishop refused him the needed permission to do that. Fr. Kloster adamantly denies this, telling me that he has had to refuse many requests for confession and has not done one in 11 months since the archbishop refused his permission (faculties) to do that. Fr. Kloster says that he is looking into legally challenging the archbishop’s statements.

Garcia-Siller also attacks the private micro-school set up at Sanctus Ranch: “The operation of Lumen Christi Academy and its misrepresentation to the public. It is NOT approved Catholic school by the Archdiocese of San Antonio.” However, Sevigny points out that “Lumen Christi Academy … does not claim, and never has claimed, to be an Archdiocesan Catholic school.

The ranch owner explained, “Due to its founding families, the ethos of the school has been unapologetically Catholic since its inception. For the Archbishop to claim there is a ‘misrepresentation’ to the public is false and misleading.”

Archbishop Garcia-Siller castigated the family business, saying, “Sanctus Ranch is NOT and has never been an approved Catholic apostolate. It is a privately owned business that is misrepresenting itself to the public. I cannot and will not be silent and witness the people of God being misled by those who are acting independently of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of San Antonio.”

However, the private family-owned ranch in Texas has never claimed to represent the Catholic Church, act on its behalf, or operate as a part of the ecclesiastical structure of the Catholic Church.

Since COVID, over 50 centers around the United States have had private chapels set up where the faithful have access to the Traditional Latin Mass in an unofficial capacity. They are permitted to do so under canon law and the tradition of the Church for millennia. However, the pushback against the underground Church has only begun as bishops steeped in debt from sexual abuse payouts look to brandish control of the faithful and their money. The survival of the underground Church in China came with many sacrifices and much persecution from the government and the official patriotic church, but the faith only grows with persecution, even the most pernicious kind – that from the wolves in shepherd’s clothing.

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel and right here on my LifeSite blog.

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John-Henry is the co-founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of He and his wife Dianne have eight children and they live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout the world. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum, an annual strategy meeting for life, faith and family leaders worldwide. He is a board member of the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family. He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization. He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.