First Week of December
November 30 was the First Sunday
of Advent. Father Colman was our Mass Heb. We enjoyed a brief
midweek visit from Abbot Vincent of Marmion Abbey, and closed out
the week with a "monk lunch" at The UnStable.
Second Week of December
Father Harry was our Mass Heb
for the Second Sunday (and week) of Advent. It was a busy week for
him, as he also gave the community the first of our Advent
Conferences Wednesday afternoon.
Sunday was also a very special
day for our Father Patrick, and I reproduce here what I wrote for
our in-house Community
This past Sunday I was
honored to represent us at the retirement ceremony of Father
Patrick, held at the Kentucky Air National Guard facilities
(adjacent to the Louisville airport). The day began
with Father Patrick's last Mass as chaplain, which was celebrated
in the cargo hold of a C130 aircraft (a high wing, 4-propeller
cargo and troop transport). I was assured this was the first Mass
ever celebrated on an aircraft at the base! The ceremony, led by
Colonel Dale, the Acting Commander of the 123rd Air Wing of the Kentucky
Air National Guard, recognized Father Patrick's 5 years of service
in the Air Force, one year in the Reserves, and 14 years in the Air
National Guard. The ceremonies, attended by about sixty of his
military superiors, colleagues, and "parishioners," included his
receiving the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal (First Oak Leaf
Cluster) and the Kentucky Distinguished Service Medal.
It was clear from what
was said-both during the formal ceremony and in my conversations
with many who approached me informally-that Father Patrick's
service in the U.S. and at several of our
bases overseas was highly valued. The Acting Commander
twice publicly thanked Saint Meinrad for our allowing Father
Patrick to serve our men and women in uniform for so many years.
Congratulations and well done, Father Patrick!
Justin presided at the Conventual Mass on Monday, December 8, the
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Brother Simon Baker, OSB,
of St. Benedict's Abbey in Atchison, Kansas, assisted as deacon and
gave the monastic community our second Advent Conference in the
Chapter Room Wednesday afternoon.
About 80 of our oblates came to
the Hill this week for a retreat presented by Father Columba,
focusing on "Some Tools for Experiencing the Presence of God
in the Daily Life of a Benedictine Oblate."
Third Week of December
Father Eugene was our Mass Heb
for this Third Sunday (and week) of Advent. In addition to Sunday,
he preached three other days during the week.
During this week before
Christmas, we usually have a Penance Service and an Anointing of
the Sick. Father Sean presided and preached at our Penance Service,
which took place immediately after Compline on Monday. He and four
confreres served as confessors. We celebrated the Anointing of the
Sick during Vespers on Wednesday. Father Abbot anointed seven of
our confreres in the Archabbey Church, and after Vespers proceeded
to the infirmary, where he anointed nine of our confreres in their
At a Chapter Meeting this week,
our five candidates were accepted into the novitiate! They will
receive the scapular and begin their year-long novitiate on January
19. We congratulate these men for taking another step in their
considering of our way of life, and assure them of our prayerful
and fraternal support.
Saturday evening Father Adrian
led about 20 participants in the Service of the Longest Night, a
time of special prayer, listening to the Word, and reflection,
offered specifically for those for whom the Christmas season is not
so merry, due to the loss of loved ones, health, or other painful
The service reminds us of one of
our greatest hopes: that God's Word comes to shine light into our
We concluded the Third Week of
Advent in the monastery with our tree-trimming party, which we held
in the calefactory after Compline. We thank our juniors, novices
and candidates of their competent and cheerful hosting of the
Fourth Week of December
Father Adrian was our Mass Heb
on the Fourth Sunday of Advent.
On Monday, the Archdiocese of
Indianapolis announced that Auxiliary Bishop Christopher Coyne has
been named bishop of the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont. We
congratulate Bishop Coyne, who will be installed on January
Also on Monday, Father Abbot
Justin offered the special blessing to Father Edward, who on
December 29 left for Rome and the Collegio di Sant' Anselmo, the residence of the Abbot Primate and
the International Benedictine House of Studies. Father Edward will
be directing various Monastic Formation Programs at the
Collegio, as well as offering hospitality to the
many "Benedictine guests" visiting the Eternal City.
Archbishop Daniel returned to
his cell in the infirmary. He had been recuperating and undergoing
physical therapy at Scenic Hills Care Center in Ferdinand since his
hip replacement in mid-September.
We celebrated our "Midnight
Mass" at 10 o'clock Christmas Eve, and celebrated the "Day Mass" at
9:30 the next morning. Abbot Justin presided at both; he also
preached at the Christmas Mass "at night," while Brother Luke
assisted as deacon and preached at the Day Mass.
We followed our Sunday schedule
on both Friday and Saturday, St. Stephen's Day and St. John's Day.
Father Prior Kurt presided and preached on the feast of the
Church's first martyr, and Father Vincent presided and preached on
the feast of the evangelist.
Last Week of December
our Mass Heb for most of the Christmas Octave, presided and
preached on Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Family. On the last day
of the year, we varied our table practice a bit: after the
customary selections from the Rule of
Benedict, the Martyrology, and our
Necrology, we set aside further public reading for the meal and
enjoyed listening to some Hayden! A pleasant-and quiet-way to "move
into" the new year!
As this year closes, we thank God
for the many blessings he has bestowed on us and our "Saint Meinrad
Family." And we offer thanks to our friends, benefactors and
co-workers: the many men and women who bring out the best in us and
so help us offer our best to others.
We remember also those for whom
2014 has not been "a good year." We ask God to grant them
perseverance, patience, endurance-and a lasting hope. And we pray
that God may send them his angels and their friends, companions to
help them carry their burdens. May they indeed find in this coming
year a strong and lasting peace, a calm and confident