Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

July 2011

(1) We began the new month by celebrating the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. Father Prior  Kurt presided at our Eucharist on this O.P.-ranked feast, and Fr. Pius preached. 

+++  The second week of the "One Bread, One Cup" program concluded at noon.

+++  And the last of our graduating class of deacons was ordained to the priesthood today. Congratulations to Fr. Jorge Gomez of the Diocese of Tulsa! (Actually, one more graduate is still to be ordained: the ordination date of Brother Mauritius Honegger, OSB, a monk of our mother abbey Einsiedeln, who studied in our seminary this past year, has yet to be announced.)

(2) Today was the first full day of the annual conference of the North American Association of Benedictine Oblate Directors (NAABOD). Fr. Meinrad, our own oblate director, has organized and is overseeing the conference, which involves 84 participants. The conference runs through June 6.

(3) Our return to Sunday liturgical "Ordinary Time"-today is the Fourteenth Sunday-is late this year, as Easter occurred about as late in April as it possibly could, pushing the post-Pentecost solemnities well into June. Fr. Harry, our Mass heb, presided and preached this morning. 

+++  Although not celebrated on this Sunday by the Universal Church, we do recognize that it is Fr. Thomas' feast day. We send our greetings and best wishes across the waves to Belgium, where Father has just concluded a year of studies at the seminary at Leuven. As things have developed, the American seminary at Leuven is closing this year. Fr. Thomas will continue his studies in Leuven, but he will be moving into a new residence. We pray for an uncomplicated transition.

(4) We had a regular "weekday schedule" for Independence Day, although the monastic community did enjoy some extra company for supper. We gathered with the participants of the NAABOD conference in the Newman Dining Room for the evening meal.

(5) Fr. Harry preached at this morning's Eucharist. 

+++  The last full day of the NAABOD conference featured several "on the hill tour options": Brother Flavian's wood-burning shop, Brother Kim's weaving shop, and Brother Martin's pottery shop and Art Studio.

(6) The oblate directors joined the monastic community in the Archabbey Church at 7:30 for Mass, and then a "planning team meeting" for some officially concluded this year's conference. Kudos to Fr. Meinrad and his staff for a well-run conference! Blessings upon our directors, and upon all our oblates!

(7) "Can you see what I see?" Lo and behold, a giant crane ascended the hill and came to rest near the kitchen driveway at 6:30 this morning. Fortunately for some, disappointing to others, this crane is very much of the mechanical, and not aviary, species. Throughout the morning, its crews carefully unloaded a 20-foot, 64,000-pound generator, which is being installed on a custom-built concrete pad just north of the Power House. Watching its installation was "the thing to do" this morning, and many did from the calefactory, rock garden and health services entrance.

(8) We celebrated the feast day of Fr. Eugene's patronal saint today. Ad multos annos, Fr. Eugene! 

+++  Fr. Prior Kurt has been appointed to serve also as the monastery's Master of Ceremonies I. He moves into this position as Br. Matthew prepares to depart for graduate school later this summer. Br. Elijah, one of our junior monks, has been serving as Master of Ceremonies II; he will continue in that position.

(9) Many of our alumni, priests and lay degree students alike, are familiar with the pioneering work in the field of adult baptism and the (in 1972) new Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults by Saint Meinrad monk Fr. Aidan Kavanagh. Fr. Aidan spent only a little time teaching in our seminary here; the greater part of his professional career was devoted to teaching at the University of Notre Dame and, especially, the Yale Divinity School. We were reminded of both person and performance in the monastery yesterday evening, as our daily reading of our monastic necrology reminded us that today is the fifth anniversary of his death. It's an occasion to thank God for the blessings he bestowed upon Fr. Aidan, and also to keep in grateful prayer all those who have taught and guided us in the ways and means of the Christian life.

(10) The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Fr. Vincent, our Mass heb, presided and preached at our 9:30 a.m. Eucharist. 

+++   Father Archabbot Justin presided and preached at the "One Bread, One Cup" concluding  Eucharist for this summer's last session with the high school participants. 

+++  Father Archabbot Lambert is home for a brief visit. Today he presided and preached in Jasper at a Eucharist commemorating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Memorial Health Care Center.

(11) This eleventh of July is celebrated by the Universal Church as the Feast of St. Benedict. We celebrate that solemnity on March 21, and so today we celebrate the Feast of All Benedictine Saints, ranked an O.P. Father Prior Kurt presided and preached at our usual 7:30 a.m. weekday schedule Eucharist. 

+++  Today is the first full day of a homiletics week for 12 permanent deacon candidates of the Diocese of New Ulm, MN. The program runs through July 16; our own Dr. Rick Stern and alumnus Fr. David Scotchie (T'93) are conducting the workshop.

(12) We welcome seven men, six of whom are priests, who are engaging in a "Stoking the Fire" mini-sabbatical sponsored by our Institute for Priests and Presbyterates here through August 7. Three of the men are alumni: Mark DeSutter (C'78, T '82), Dr. Patrick Murphy (T'88) and Fr. Bill Bowling (T'97).

(13) Thirty-seven participants are taking part in the annual conference of the Monastic Worship Forum, which began yesterday and continues through Saturday morning. The theme is, "Ancient Wine in New Wineskins: Celebrating Eucharist with Twenty-First Century Documents." Presenters include Sr. Julia Upton, RSM, and Dr. Paul Ford. 

+++  Today is the patronal feast day of  Br. Silas, who returned to the house just last week after working for a year in Louisville. Happy feast day, Br. Silas.

(14) Br. Martin concluded his three-day midweek retreat, "Beauty as a Pathway to God: Religious Art and Symbol in the Spiritual Life, Part 2," to 29 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center. 

+++  Fr. Donald continues to grow weaker and so, at the recommendation of our nursing staff, we began our customary vigil for-and with-him. Confreres have signed up to be at his bedside throughout the day and night hours.

(15) Thirty-five guests from St. Martin de Porres Parish, Memphis, Tennessee, are at our Guest House and Retreat Center, enjoying a several-day retreat. 

+++  Our vigil with and for Father Donald continues. As it so happens, today is Fr. Donald's patronal feast day, a celebration he shares with Fr. Archabbot Bonaventure. We wish both our brothers God's peace and strength!

(16) The Solemnity of Our Lady of Einsiedeln, the patroness of our Archabbey Church. An O.A., with Father Abbot presiding at both the Eucharist and I and II Vespers. This was also the closing day of the Monastic Worship Forum, and so Fr. Godfrey, executive secretary of that group, offered the homily.

(17) Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Father Sean is our Office and Mass heb. 

+++  Fr. Eugene concluded offering a weekend retreat, "Reflections on the Richness of  Old Testament Biblical Wisdom," to 19 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center. 

+++  Father Prior Kurt is away from the hill for about a week, and so he will rely on the notes taken by Archabbot Bonaventure to catch up on events when he returns.

(18) First full day of this year's Alumni Reunion-a turnout of about 170 and so the hill is comfortably crowded. Fr. Archabbot Justin and Fr. Vincent gave presentations today.

(19) The Most Reverend William Medley, alumnus and bishop of Owensboro, presided and preached at the Alumni Mass this afternoon. At the evening banquet, Abbot Gerald Benkert, OSB, of Marmion Abbey, became the 19th alumnus to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award.

(20) Archabbot Bonaventure went to the doctor's office for a regular checkup this afternoon. He ended up with a pacemaker and a hospital bed for the night! Reports are that he's doing just fine.

(21) Archabbot Bonaventure is back with us, in good health and spirits! 

+++  Today we celebrate the feast day of our confrere, the Most Reverend Daniel Buechlein, archbishop of our Archdiocese of Indianapolis. God's blessings upon him and his ministry.

(22) Dave Maloney has concluded offering "A Step II Retreat for Recovering Alcoholics and Alanons" to 32 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center.

(23) Weekend courses are in full swing as are also, unfortunately, the continuing sizzling temperatures and soggy humidity. 

+++  Fr. Vincent is giving the weekend retreat, "Of Signs and Symbols: The Sacraments of the Church," to 10 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center. 

+++  We celebrate the feast day of another expositus today: Fr. Prior Cassian, who serves the community of monks at San Benedetto Priory in Norcia, Italy-the birthplace of SS. Benedict and Scholastica. May God continue to bless and guide Prior Cassian and his community.

(24) Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, and Fr. Christian is our Office and Mass heb. Father is home for a few weeks this summer from The Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.), where he is pursuing a doctorate in systematic theology.

(25) After Midday Prayer, we invested Deborah Apoldo of Harrod's Creek, Kentucky, as an oblate novice. Congratulations and a promise of prayers!

(26) After Midday Prayer, we received the oblation of Ann Smith of Grahanna, Ohio, and David Annable of Monroe, Ohio. Congratulations to them, and our continued prayers for all of our oblates! 

+++  Father Prior Kurt returned to the hill last night, and so resumes authorship of "About the House."

(27) And Father Prior Kurt returned just in time for his feast day. He eagerly endorsed the house custom of requesting a favorite menu for supper and so, for the second year in a row, it was meatloaf with all the trimmin's.

(28) Our Institute for Priests and Presbyterates (IPP) has been sponsoring a "Stoking the Fire" sabbatical program this summer. This evening, five of the participants, along with Fr. Ron Knott, director of IPP, joined the monastic community for supper in the refectory.

(29) On this feast of SS. Mary, Martha and Lazarus, Fr. Christian preached on this "Second Holy Family" at this morning's Conventual Mass. 

+++  Fr. Augustine was taken to Jasper Hospital around eight this morning; he had fallen by his bed and required some assistance to get up. The doctors think he has suffered a minor stroke; they are keeping him in the hospital at least overnight for observation.

(30) As the tongue-in-cheek account of the people in the drought-stricken land has it, "a few drops of rain fell from the sky, landed on someone, and it took two buckets of sand to bring him to consciousness again." It was just a few drops of rain this afternoon, the first we've had in quite a while. 

+++  Fr. Augustine remains in the hospital at Jasper, alert and talkative, and getting ready for some more tests throughout the weekend.

(31) This last day of the month and the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time was a day of jubilee celebrations on the Hill. We honored six confreres: Fr. Cyprian, celebrating 60 years of monastic profession; Br. Dominic, Fr. Warren and Br. Mario, celebrating 50 years; and Fr. David and Fr. Edward, celebrating 25 years. Father Abbot Justin presided and preached at our ten o'clock Eucharist. The guests of the jubilarians joined the monastic community for both lunch and dinner in the Newman Dining Room. To our jubilarians: ad multos annos, and our thanks for your years of faithful witness and service.

Quote of the Month

We end our month's entries with a quote from the Rule of St. Benedict:

But as we progress in the monastic life and in faith, our hearts will swell with the unspeakable sweetness of love, enabling us to race along the way of God's commandments. Then we will never depart from his teaching and we will persevere in his doctrine in the monastery until death. Likewise, we will participate in the passion of Christ through patience so as to deserve to be companions in his kingdom. Amen.

Prologue, vv. 49-50
Translation by Fr. Terence Kardong, OSB, monk of Assumption Abbey

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.