Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

March 2014

Week of March 2

Father Julian was our principal presider at our Eucharistic celebrations this week. On Sunday we had our annual "Eucharistic Day": we exposed the Blessed Sacrament after Mass for adoration until Vespers, which we concluded with Benediction. For some years now, our practice has been to schedule this Eucharistic Day on the Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday.

At the conclusion of Vespers on Shrove Tuesday, we sang the "double alleluia," our last singing of that ancient word until the Easter Vigil.

On Ash Wednesday, Abbot Justin presided at our Eucharist, during which he blessed and distributed the ashes. During that Eucharist, the monks handed in their Bona Opera-their plan as to how they will "take on a little extra good work," or "set aside some indulgence," during the holy forty days. In his Rule, St. Benedict writes that "the life of a monk should be a continuous Lent." Ever the realist, however, he realizes that few have the strength for this, and so he urges his monks to make special efforts to cultivate virtue and avoid vice at least during this special season of penitence and prayer.

On Friday, Father Gregory was finally released from St. Mary's Hospital, Evansville, where he had been since February 13. He's now back in his infirmary room. He's delighted to be back home, although he's not at all excited about the pureed diet he will be on, as he says, "for the rest of my life." Still, his spirits are good.

Week of March 9        

Father Patrick was our Mass and Office Heb during this first full week of Lent. Father Abbot Justin departed for Gethsemani Abbey after Sunday's midday meal, where he gave a week-long retreat to the community there.

On Wednesday afternoon, we had the first of four "Lectio Group Meetings" during this Lenten season. Each monk has signed up to be in a group with five to eight confreres, who will meet to read and reflect upon the coming Sunday's gospel.

All in all, it's been a pretty quiet week. The Friday temperature topped out at 61, the highest it's been in quite some time! Many of us enjoyed a program of organ, piano and choral music Friday evening, presented by the Greenville, Illinois College Choir. Finally, two of our seminarians were ordained deacons for the Archdiocese of Louisville this Saturday the 15th.

Week of March 16

Father Sean was our Mass Heb for this Second Sunday (and week) of Lent, although two solemnities "interrupted" the flow of the Lenten season . . . .

On Wednesday, we celebrated the solemnity of St. Joseph, an O.P.-ranked feast; Father Prior Kurt presided at the Conventual Eucharist, and Brother Macario Martinez, a monk of Conception Abbey, Missouri, this year completing his studies at our seminary, assisted as deacon and preached.

On Friday, we celebrated the Solemnity of our patron, St. Benedict. The Universal Church celebrates this feast on July 11, but we (and others) have chosen this date for the major annual celebration. It is the date of his passing, and is also an important "historical marker" for us on the hill: March 21, 1854, is the formal date of founding by our mother abbey, Einsiedeln, in Switzerland; and on the same day, 100 years later, Saint Meinrad Abbey was raised by Pope Pius XII to the status of an Archabbey. We had two deacons assisting at our 9:30 a.m. Conventual Mass: once again, Brother Macario; and Deacon Elijah Cho, from the Diocese of Busan, South Korea.

Among the large groups visiting the hill this week: 39 high school students from Our Lady of Providence, Clarksville, Indiana, making a three day retreat; 32 young men and women from St. James Catholic Church, Louisville, making a day of prayer; and 60 of our oblates, making their annual retreat under the direction of Father Vincent, who led a series of reflections on "Christ in the Cloister: Shaped by Word and Sacrament."

Week of March 23

Over 60 of our lay degree students were here for the weekend, continuing to work on their programs by taking one of the following courses: "Catholic Sacraments," taught by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, OFM; "Christian Ethics," by Father Mark, OSB; "Prophets and Poetry," by Father Harry, OSB; "Early Church History," by Dr. Kimberly Baker, and "American Catholic Identity," by Father Brendan, OSB.

Father Vincent is our Mass Heb on this Third Sunday (and week) of Lent. Tuesday was the Solemnity of the Annunciation, however-an O.P.-ranked feast, and so once again Father Prior Kurt presided at the Conventual Mass. At his request, Father Vincent preached and, as is our custom, our celebration continued at the evening meal as we enjoyed wine (during Lent only on Sundays and solemnities such as this) and colloquium.

Wednesday evening we honored a number of our veteran and retired co-workers with a special dinner. These men and women keep our house and home going, and we are grateful for their tireless service and care.

Abbot Justin departed Friday morning to go to Marmion Abbey, Illinois, to attend a meeting of the Abbot President's Council. Here on the hill we had the spring meeting of the Board of Overseers and Board of Trustees of our Seminary and School of Theology. We're grateful for these men and women who devote their time and talents to support-and improve-the many programs we offer!

As we move into the last weekend in March, Father Colman will be Mass Heb for this Fourth Sunday (and week) of Lent. We've been fortunate to have a number of our seminary deacons assist at our Sunday Masses this semester. This weekend Deacon Cristobal De Loera of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City joined us for the Eucharist.

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.