Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

September 2012

(1) Father Jeremy is offering the retreat "Vatican II: Rediscovering the Treasure" to 18 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center this weekend.  +++  We continue to get frequent short rains as the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac makes its way across the lower Midwest.

(2) Father Germain is our Mass Heb on this 22nd Sunday and week of Ordinary Time. Brother Victor Schinstock, one of our confreres from Conception Abbey in Missouri, assisted as deacon for the first time in our Archabbey Church. Brother Victor, ordained deacon earlier this summer, is completing his final year of studies toward the priesthood in our seminary.  +++  Today we also commemorated the 125th anniversary of the Great Fire. We thank God that we have been spared from similar natural disasters for so long, and pray for those who protect our property and our people. Our prayers today are especially for the firemen and first responders in our area, who serve us generously and expertly.

(3) Father Germain, Mass Heb, preached at our Conventual Mass this morning on the feast of St. Gregory.  +++  Father Gregory, on this his feast day, remains at St. Mary's Hospital in Evansville. It is hoped that he will be able to return to his rectory at St. Benedict's Cathedral, Evansville, tomorrow or Wednesday. He's been in the hospital going on 18 days now, so he's obviously eager to get back home. His parishioners are eager to have him back as well. They've fixed up a room for him on the first floor of the rectory, sparing him the stairs for a while, and have even installed a temporary shower in these new quarters. We continue to pray he will know the Lord's healing power and peace.  +++  Father Abbot and Brother Maurus left for their pilgrimage to Ireland this morning. Father Abbot will go from there to Rome, for the meeting of the world's Benedictine abbots. He's scheduled to return September 26.

(4) Yesterday evening after Compline, we gathered in the Chapter Room for a Culpa Service. The word in Latin means "fault," and we have the service three or four times during the year. It's a public admission by those who choose to confess publicly their public (obvious) faults, asking forgiveness from the community whom their actions or omissions have offended. Father Prior Kurt presided in Father Abbot Justin's absence, and Brother Martin gave the homily, based on John 8:1-11.  +++  This morning we received the first emails from Fr. Abbot and Br. Maurus, assuring us they had arrived in Ireland safe, sound and on time.

(5) We had quite a show of weather in the mid-afternoon: a severe thunderstorm that lasted about an hour. Fortunately, no reports of injury or damage to us or our neighbors.

(6) Father Germain preached at our Conventual Mass this morning.  +++  Father Gregory was finally released from Saint Mary's Hospital, Evansville, this afternoon, and is now back at his rectory at the cathedral. It's been a long three weeks for him! Our prayers continue as, tomorrow, he begins a regimen of chemo- and radio-therapy.  +++  We celebrated today the 94th birthday of Archabbot Bonaventure, and enjoyed colloquium and cake at our evening meal in his honor. Archabbot Bonaventure is our oldest monk-but only for a few more hours....

(7) Father Cletus Miller from Blue Cloud Abbey arrived this morning to take up residence with us. (Retired Blue Cloud Abbot Alan has been with us for about three weeks now.) Blue Cloud Abbey, one of our five daughter houses, founded in 1950, celebrated its last public liturgy at the beginning of August. Over the next months, the monks there will be joining various dioceses or communities. We're happy to have Father Cletus with us. He is in his 73rd year of monastic profession, his 68th year of priesthood, and is about three weeks older than Archabbot Bonaventure-whose 94th birthday we celebrated yesterday!

(8) Father Raymond Studzinski led the monastic community in our annual study day last evening and this morning. Our topic was, "Living in an Inter-generational Community." Father Raymond is a monk of Saint Meinrad, and has been serving on the faculty and staff of The Catholic University in Washington, D.C., since the late 1970s. Among his specialties are "Religion and Psychology" and "Religious Development." His 1985 book, Spiritual Direction and Midlife Development, has been a helpful guide for many of us!

(9) Father Subprior Guerric is our Mass Heb on this 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (and throughout the week). He preached at our Conventual Mass this morning, assisted by Deacon Christopher Mileski, one of our seminarians from the Diocese of Toledo. Deacon Christopher also joined us for Midday Prayer and the midday meal in our refectory.

(10) This past weekend saw another round of weekend courses. About 50 students were on the hill, taking courses from Dr. Dan Kolb ("Dostoevsky and the Problem of Evil"), Dr. Christopher Lutz ("Medieval Philosophy"), Dr. Keith Lemna ("Ecclesiology and Ecumenism"), and Fr. Brendan, OSB ("Teaching and Preaching in the Context of Lay Ecclesial Ministry").

(11) This 11th anniversary of 9/11 was a most appropriate day to renew a practice that the shifting of schedules and work responsibilities had made difficult to maintain. For many years, Brother Dominic (and before him, our Brother Lambert Zink, RIP 2005) took care of raising and lowering the United States flag at our Guest House each day. On special Saint Meinrad occasions, they would raise also the Saint Meinrad flag (red and white, with the Saint Meinrad logo). Brother Dominic's work schedule in our infirmary has shifted recently, making it more difficult for him to continue with the practice. And so, after Vice Rector Father Tobias inquired whether any seminarians would be interested in taking on the responsibilities ...16 seminarians immediately responded! Four teams of "color guards" were formed, with the captains being Lance Warren, a second-year theology seminarian from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City; Joe Curry, a second-year philosophy seminarian from the Diocese of Tulsa; Vinny Gillmore, a first-year philosophy seminarian from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis; and Robert Healy, a first-year philosophy seminarian from the Diocese of Tulsa. Each four-man team takes the responsibility for a week of raising and lowering the flag Monday through Friday. Each of our team captains comes with appropriate experience: Lance is a Texas A&M Cadet; Joe, a nine-year Army veteran; Vinny, a graduate of the Air Force Academy; and Robert, an Eagle Scout. The flag flew at half-mast today, in memory of all killed in the terrorist attacks. We remember them in prayer. And we are grateful for the generous, patriotic service of our seminarians

(12) The annual Dolle Lecture in Church Art and Architecture was presented yesterday evening by Archbishop Joseph Dore, retired Archbishop of Strasbourg in France. He spoke on the symbolism and meaning of cathedrals.

(13) Brother Maurus has returned from his 10-day tour of Ireland, and will no doubt be telling us of his excursions and experiences with great enthusiasm! We look forward to the reports. Father Abbot Justin enjoyed the tour as well. He remains in Ireland until Sunday, when he will head to Rome and the Congress of Abbots, which begins the following day.

(14) This feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is an O.P.-ranked feast, and so Father Prior Kurt presided at this morning's Conventual Mass. Brother Victor Schinstock of Conception Abbey, Missouri, completing his last year of studies in our seminary, assisted at the Eucharist and offered the homily, as he also celebrated today his feast day.  +++  About 60 of our lay degree students and their professors are gearing up for another round of weekend courses, which this time around include the following: "Eucharist," taught by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, OFM; "Christian Ethics," taught by Fr. Mark O'Keefe, OSB; "Listening in Pastoral Ministry," taught by Dr. Tom Robbins; and "American Catholic Identity: Catechetical Perspectives," taught by Dr. Tom Walters

(15)  About 30 monks enjoyed pizza at The UnStable for lunch today. Father Prior Kurt, Brother Martin, Brother John Mark, and third-year theology seminarian Tim Wyciskalla (Archdiocese of Indianapolis) teamed up to make 17 large pizzas-including three that were delivered to our monks and health care co-workers in our infirmary. Reservations are already being phoned in for our next "monk lunch" in November!

(16) Father Eugene is our Mass Heb on this 24th Sunday (and week) in Ordinary Time. He was assisted by Deacon Ross Parker, a seminarian studying for the Diocese of Des Moines.  +++  Father Adrian concluded his weekend retreat, "Prayer: What is it Really?", at our Guest House and Retreat Center. Twenty-five participants attended the retreat, as well as joining us for Eucharist this morning.  +++  A number of monks, students and guests enjoyed an organ concert in the Archabbey Church this afternoon. Brazilian organist Cristiano Rizzotto Vidal Pessôa's hour-long performance included works by Langlais, Bach, Peeters and Distler.

(17) After Midday Prayer in the Archabbey Church, we received the oblation of Debbie Apoldo of Harrods Creek, Kentucky. God's blessings upon all our oblates!  +++  This evening in the Gallery, Brother Zachary presented the lecture, "The Body of Christ Reaching Out to the Marginalized." Sponsored by the Institute for Priests and Presbyterates, his talk was the opening lecture of the Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly Lectures in Pastoral Practice Series. Brother Zachary currently serves as coordinator of lay formation in our Seminary and School of Theology. He is also active in ministering to the inmates at the nearby Branchville Correctional Facility.

(18) Eleven priests are taking part in the "New Pastors" Program, sponsored by our Institute for Priests and Presbyterates. (Brother Zachary's lecture yesterday evening was the beginning of this five-day program.) We welcome those about to accept new responsibilities in their care for the people of God!

(19) Toledo alumnus and priest Jeff McBeth is here, along with 45 parishioners from St. Thomas Aquinas and Good Shepherd parishes in Toledo, for a two-day retreat.  +++  This evening at table reading, we finished the article by Fr. Joel Ripinger, OSB, "The Benedictine Intellectual Tradition: an overview." Fr. Joel, a monk of Marmion Abbey in Illinois, will be one of the visitators for our regular monastic visitation next month.  

(20) What Happened at Vatican II? by John O'Malley is the book we began for table reading this evening. Depending upon the reader and the meal, we average anywhere from five to seven pages an evening. Our table reading for our main meal each day begins with a section from the Rule of Saint Benedict, then goes on to the martyrology (the particular saint or saints honored on the following day) and then the necrology (the mention of our confrere or confreres who have died on the following day).

(21) Father Eugene preached on this feast of St. Matthew the Evangelist and Apostle. He was assisted by Deacon Todd Nance, one of our seminarians studying for the Diocese of Tulsa.  +++  Father Abbot Justin has sent word from Rome that the Most Reverend Notker Wolf, OSB, monk and former abbot of St. Ottilien, has again been re-elected Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation and abbot of Sant' Anselmo.

(22) Father Harry is offering the weekend retreat, "Covenant: Our Relationship with God," to a dozen participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center.

(23) Father Adrian is our Mass Heb on this 25th Sunday (and week) in Ordinary Time. He was assisted at our Conventual Mass this morning by Deacon Christopher Droste, a seminarian from the Diocese of Evansville.

(24) Father Denis, President-Rector of our Seminary and School of Theology, presented the annual "State of the School" to the monastic community this evening. One hundred fifty-four seminarians from 26 dioceses and six religious communities... the good news does go on, and we have much for which we are grateful. We ask God's blessings on our seminarians, and pray that He will continue to guide our confreres administering and teaching in our seminary.

(25) A day of much thunder and lightning, both in the early morning hours and then again around nine o'clock in the evening. The morning lightning caused our power to flicker for a few seconds - long enough to require resetting all those digital alarm clocks, and long enough so that when the power kicked back in, the fire alarms in the seminary went off. A pretty harsh sound at 6:55 a.m.! Lots of rain accompanied both storms, and more is forecast for tomorrow afternoon and evening.

(26) We received word this morning of a major fire at St. Joseph Seminary College in Louisiana. St. Joseph is one of our five (with the closing of Blue Cloud Abbey, now four) daughter houses, which we founded in 1890. Extensive damage was done to part of the Administration Building and some 60 seminarians are now "displaced" - living in the Guest House and Retreat Center - but, thankfully, there were no injuries. This is the second time in recent memory that Saint Joseph's has suffered a catastrophe; some of their buildings and property were heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina seven years ago.

(27) Father Adrian preached this morning, taking full advantage of our customary practice of "on Sundays and two weekdays." He preached also on Tuesday.  +++  Twenty-one guests from St. Aloysius Parish in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, have joined us for a four-day Scrapbooking Retreat.

(28) Many of our Seminary and School of Theology faculty and administration are in New Harmony today for the annual Faculty Study Day; this year it is led by our Father Raymond, our confrere at The Catholic University in Washington, D.C. who, earlier this month, led the monastic community in a Friday evening/Saturday morning study session. The faculty's absence from the hill results in a "long weekend" (no classes today, Friday) for our students. I am told that great rejoicing was heard, even from a distance!

(29) Father Adrian concluded his week as our Mass Heb by presiding at our Conventual Eucharist on this Feast of the Holy Angels Gabriel, Michael and Raphael. We extend feast-day greetings to our confrere, Father Gabriel, and also to the monks of Conception Abbey, Conception, Missouri, who honor one of their co-patrons - the holy angel Gabriel - on this day. (Their other patron is the Blessed Mother, celebrated especially on December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.) And so happy feast wishes and a promise of prayers to our two confreres from Conception who are studying with us this year: Brother (Deacon) Victor and Brother Macario.  +++  Our usual I Vespers of a Sunday in Ordinary Time yielded this evening to I Vespers of the Anniversary of the Dedication of the Archabbey Church, with Father Abbot Justin presiding.

(30) On this Sunday, we celebrate the day, 15 years ago, when our confrere and Archbishop of Indianapolis, the Most Reverend Daniel Buechlein, OSB, dedicated the newly renovated Archabbey Church of Our  Lady of Einsiedeln. Father Abbot Justin presided at our Eucharist this morning, and Father Julian preached. (Historically, we note that Fr. Julian was the Master of Ceremonies on the actual Day of Dedication in 1997!) A number of seminarians joined us for our Mass, and so we had extra ministers this morning in the form of cross and candle bearers and miter and crozier bearers: a bit of added solemnity for the occasion!  +++  Brother Martin concluded offering a weekend retreat, "Beauty as a Pathway to God: Religious Art and Symbol in the Spiritual Life, Part 2," to 25 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center.

And now, from St. Benedict's Rule...

The brothers should serve one another. Therefore no one may be excused from kitchen duty except for illness or occupation with an essential task, for thus is merit increased and love built up. Let help be provided for the weak so they do not lose heart in this work, but let all have help according to the size of the community or the circumstances of the place.

Chapter 35, "The Weekly Kitchen Servers"
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.