Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

November 2014

 

First Week of November

All Souls' Day fell on Sunday this year, and our commemoration of all the faithful departed took place with Archabbot Justin presiding at Mass in the Archabbey Church. Seminarian Michael Charles Ajigo Abiero (Diocese of Owensboro) assisted as deacon, and Father Ephrem delivered the homily. The celebration concluded with the customary procession of monks and guests to the cemetery. In the evening, in accordance with long-standing tradition, the seminarians processed to the cemetery to honor and pray for those monks who faithfully labored as "living stones" to build the firm foundation on which Saint Meinrad Archabbey stands.

Father Patrick was our Mass Heb for this 31st Week of Ordinary Time. On Monday, we helped Brother Benedict celebrate his 95th birthday. Brother Benedict, who resides in our infirmary and typically takes his meals there, joined us in the monastery refectory for the occasion, taking a seat of honor at the abbot's table. The community celebrated with cake and colloquium. Ad multos annos, Brother Benedict!

Archabbot Justin announced four appointments during the week. Father Christian, after returning from graduate studies at The Catholic University of America this fall, will take up teaching and faculty responsibilities in the Seminary and School of Theology for the second semester. Meanwhile, Father Edward will finish his work with the Institute for Priests and Presbyterates in early December, and shortly thereafter head to Rome, where he will fill a new position as coordinator of guest services at Sant' Anselmo, a Benedictine house of studies.

Additionally, Father Noël, who has been serving as secretary to the archabbot, will take up residence in the school January 1 to serve on the formation staff there. Meanwhile, Brother Francis has been appointed to the secretary post effective January 1. He will leave his position at the Abbey Press, but will continue to write for the Publications Division, and also continue his work with the oblate program and in the ministry of spiritual direction.

Second Week of November

Father Edward was our Mass Heb for this 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, also serving as presider and homilist for Sunday's Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. Seminarian Andy Syberg (Archdiocese of Indianapolis) assisted as deacon.

On Sunday in Chicago, Father Anthony received the National Religious Vocation Conference Recognition Award during the closing banquet for the 25th Jubilee Convocation. While he was a member of the NRVC Board, he served on the executive, finance and editorial committees, among others. Father Subprior Guerric and Brother John Mark, who gave several presentations at the conference, were also present. Congratulations, Father Anthony!

During the first part of the week, Archabbot Justin and Father Denis, president-rector of the Seminary and School of Theology, attended the dinner for Saint Meinrad's client bishops during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Fall General Assembly in Baltimore.

Work continues on the replacement of heating and cooling lines between St. Gregory Hall and the Archabbey Library. Since this project has created a rather large (and deep) pit, the Great Sidewalk in that area (directly to the south of the Memorial Lobby steps) is closed to all vehicle and pedestrian traffic during regular work days. Each evening, a temporary bridge is placed over the chasm to allow pedestrian passage. This situation is likely to be in effect for some time, so getting from one side of campus to the other outside during the day (on the west side of the Archabbey complex, anyway) requires some forethought.

Archabbot Justin announced this week that, with his agreement, Archbishop Tobin has appointed Father Timothy as administrator of St. Isidore in Bristow and St. Martin in Siberia, with residence at St. Isidore. The appointment is effective November 26, and Father Timothy will continue his work in the archives here on the Hill.

On Friday, we honored Father Rupert on the occasion of his 93rd birthday! Father Rupert, who is still going strong, took a seat at the abbot's table for the evening meal, and the entire community celebrated with cake and colloquium. Ad multos annos, Father Rupert!

We were saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Colette Kennett, 63, who was the energetic director of Saint Meinrad's "One Bread, One Cup" program from 2010 to 2013. Colette died Thursday in her home in West Baden, Illinois, where the funeral Mass was held on Monday, November 17. May she and all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Third Week of November

Father Jeremy was our Mass Heb on this 33rd Sunday and Week of Ordinary Time. Brother Maurus and Father Prior Kurt returned to the hill after enjoying their 11-day pilgrimage through Eastern Europe. Father Prior resumed the "About the House" entries-and thanks Brother Francis for filling in so competently during his absence!

Father Denis Quinkert had a successful knee replacement at Jasper Hospital early in the week but, due to some complications, was transferred to Jewish Hospital in Louisville.

Brent Stamey, our primary organist, joined us in our refectory for supper and then in our calefactory for special desserts Monday evening. Brent will be married on November 29, and he and his wife will reside in Bloomington, Indiana. We congratulate Brent on his marriage, and are glad he'll continue to play for our liturgies on special feasts and on the weekends.

On Friday evening, Fathers Abbot and Prior, on behalf of the monastic community, hosted our health care and infirmary co-workers at a pizza buffet at The UnStable. This is the fourth year we've held this special gathering, and we've been told by our nurses in no uncertain terms to keep it going! About 14 pizzas were made by Fathers Prior Kurt and Patrick and Brothers John Mark and James.

Each of our infirmary co-workers received a work of pottery fashioned by Brother Martin, and they and their spouse or guest took home a loaf of bread from the Abbey Bakery. We are grateful for the expert care these women provide in helping us keep fit in both body and soul!

Fourth Week of November

On Sunday we celebrated the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Father Prior Kurt presided and preached. We also held our annual Co-workers' Reception and Appreciation Gathering: about a hundred of our co-workers and their spouses and guests joined us for the Eucharist, and then for a reception in the Alumni Commons. We continue to give thanks-as we continue to realize how blessed we are with the generous and competent service of our many employees.

Father Julian assumed the duties of Mass Heb on Monday. He presided and preached at the Conventual Mass on Thanksgiving Day. We followed our Sunday schedule that day, which allows for a bit of extra sleep and has us sitting down to the main meal at midday-and a fine meal it was, which we enjoyed in the dining room in St. Anselm Hall with about 30 seminarians and family members of several monks.

On Thanksgiving eve, we held our "Occasion of Appreciation," an opportunity to enjoy some fine wines, cheeses and other specialties after supper, while a monk-this year, it was Father Thomas, still considered "newly returned" from his graduate studies at Leuven University in Belgium-reflects on "thanksgiving" and some of the many reasons we as a community have to be thankful.

This week also saw the return of two of our confreres: Archabbot Lambert, who has returned home after serving six months as chaplain to the Carmelite Sisters in Denmark, Wisconsin, and Brother Matthew, on a Thanksgiving and Christmas break from his graduate studies at the University of Toronto. Father Raymond, a professor at The Catholic University in Washington, D.C., was also with us for a few days.

In our December edition of "About the House," we will begin with the last day of November-a Sunday that introduces the season of Advent and leads us toward the holy days of Christmas. Our prayer for our readers as we begin the season of joyful expectation and waiting is that the Prince of Peace, whose birth we prepare to celebrate, may indeed touch your hearts with His strength and gentleness, with His compassion and consolation.

Each day the monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey write another page in the long history of Benedictine monks throughout the world. Here Father Prior Kurt reports on some of last month's events at Saint Meinrad.