Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

June 2011

(1) Father Abbot Justin presided and preached at our Conventual Mass today, his feast day. The celebration continued in our refectory over supper, as we enjoyed his menu choice (complete with the inevitable red velvet cake, his perennial sweet tooth favorite) and colloquium. Happy Feast Day, Father Abbot, and ad multos annos

+++  We began our summer Monastic Observance Program today; two young men are sharing our prayer, work and recreation through Sunday. 

+++  Brother Raban had back surgery at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville today-a procedure that lasted just less than 9 hours. His first few hours out of surgery this evening suggest the surgery was successful.

(2) Brother Raban is indeed making steady progress in his recovery, and we expect him to return to the hill tomorrow! 

+++  Shortly after Midday Prayer, we invested Debra Order of Newburgh, IN, as an oblate novice. God's blessings upon her, and upon all our oblates! 

+++  Brother Anthony Baker, OSB, a monk of Assumption Abbey, North Dakota, and one of our "visiting Benedictines" these past years, was ordained to the diaconate this morning at Assumption. Congratulations to him and to many of his classmates and fellow seminarians, who will be ordained to the diaconate and the priesthood in the upcoming weeks.

(3) Brother Raban returned from the hospital this afternoon, and continues his recovery in one of our infirmary cells. He's in good spirits.

+++  Father Noël began presenting a weekend retreat, "Living in the Spirit: Exploring the Christian Vocation," to 26 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center.

(4) Two members of our graduating seminary class were ordained to the priesthood this morning in their home dioceses. Congratulations to Father Dustin Boehm (Archdiocese of Indianapolis) and Father Zachary Peterson (Diocese of New Ulm).

+++  And two more of Br. Anthony's classmates (see June 2 entry) were ordained to the diaconate this morning n their dioceses; congratulations to Dominic Petan and Travis Stephens, of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana. 

+++  Dr. Clayton Jefford, Dr. Ryan LaMothe and Fr. Tom Richstatter are our weekend course professors this time around; 52 lay degree students are on the hill this weekend.

(5) The Solemnity of the Ascension has the rank of an O.A., but Father Abbot Justin is in Toledo witnessing the marriage of some family members. Father Subprior Guerric presided at our Eucharist, and Father Germain preached. 

+++  Two more of our seminarians were ordained to the diaconate in their home diocese this morning: we congratulate Patrick Hirtz and Dexter Noblefranca of the Diocese of Memphis.

(6) About 100 priests of the Archdiocese of Louisville will be holding their annual assembly here these next few days. They begin their work tonight and conclude at noon on Thursday. 

+++  The Louisville priests aren't the only ones joining us on the hill. About 50 participants from Indianapolis' St. Barnabas, St. Anthony and Holy Trinity Youth Groups joined us for Vespers this evening. They will be with us part of tomorrow as well.

(7) Father Brendan is teaching a course on Benedictine spirituality to 12 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center this week.

(8) Father Joseph, our Mass Heb, preached on Monday of this week and again this morning. One guest approached me after Mass and asked if Father Joseph was some kind of "rebel," since we usually have weekday homilies on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Father Joseph, however, is simply taking legitimate advantage of the "presider's privilege." Our ordinary practice is that the presider preaches twice during the week (in addition to Sunday), and he is free to choose on what two days those homilies will be.

(9) Father Abbot Justin has landed in Belgium, where he will spend a few days with our Father Thomas, who is completing his first year of studies at the University of Louvain. From there, Father Abbot will go on to Rome to visit Father Ephrem and Father Paul, and then for some meetings with Father Prior Cassian at the priory at Norcia.

(10) We welcome 56 participants taking part in the Archdiocese of Louisville Diaconate Community Retreat this weekend at our Guest House and Retreat Center. 

+++  We celebrate more ordinations of our seminarians today. Congratulations to Michael Chrisman, ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Pueblo, and to newly ordained deacons Drew Braun, Seth Gogolin and Brian Lederer, of the Diocese of Duluth.

(11) Continuing with the ordination celebrations and congratulations from yesterday: Sean Pogue was ordained priest for the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana, and Mauricio Carrasco (Little Rock) and Dustin Collins (Knoxville) were ordained to the diaconate. 

+++  No shortage of groups on the hill this weekend: 26 guests from St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Louisville, have arrived for a women's retreat, and 28 high school students from St. Benedict Parish in Oklahoma, on their way to some summer work in Appalachia, will be spending the night with us. Welcome to all our guests, and prayers for their safe travels!

(12) The Solemnity of Pentecost. This day has the rank of an OA but, since Father Abbot is in Rome, Father Prior Kurt presided and preached at the Eucharist. Having colloquium at our main meal today helped us celebrate the great feast.

+++  This evening marked the official closing of St. Meinrad's Catholic Church and Town's Sesquicentennial Celebration (150 years!). Various festivities and events have been going on since the celebrations were launched a week ago. To the town and our parish we say, "Ad multos annos!"

(13) The first week of this summer's "One Bread, One Cup" Youth Liturgical Leadership Session began this morning. As part of their program, about half of the high school participants joined the monks for Vigils and Lauds at 5:30 a.m.! (The other half will do so tomorrow.) 

+++  About 50 of our oblates began a "Summer Study Days" session, led by Father Harry. The theme for the presentations and discussions: "A Closer Look at the Rule of St. Benedict."

(14) Father Germain, who began his Mass Heb duties yesterday as we returned to Ordinary Time, preached at this morning's Eucharist.

(15) Five oblates professed their final oblations today. We ask God's blessings on Margaret Sherlock (West Chester, OH), Stephen Drees (Mason, OH), Robert Siebanaller (Toledo, OH), and Jerry and Lora Altstadt (Huntingburg, IN). May God uphold them in their promises!

(16) The Oblate Study Days have ended, with high praise for Oblate Director Father Meinrad and the Study Days presenter Father Harry.

(17) Hubert, the brother of Brother Dominic, died this morning after a long illness and battle with Alzheimer's. May he rest in peace!

+++  Fifty participants from Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church in Knoxville are on the hill today and tomorrow for a youth choir retreat.

(18) More ordinations to report-and to celebrate! This morning Ryan McCoy was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Biloxi, and seminarians Jeff Read and Brian Emmick were ordained deacons for the Diocese of Evansville. Congratulations to them, and to all our graduates and newly ordained! 

+++  Father Abbot returned late this evening from his trip to Belgium and Italy. He reports good visits with our confreres Father Prior Cassian and Fathers Ephrem, Paul and Thomas.

(19) Trinity Sunday. Father Subprior Guerric presided and preached, and we enjoyed a colloquium at our main meal. Father Subprior will be our Mass Heb throughout the week. 

+++  Sixty-two students concluded another round of weekend course work this afternoon. Our Dr. Chris Lutz, and guest faculty Chris Urbandowski and Linda Budney, taught courses, respectively, on "Ancient Philosophy," "Servant Leadership in Action" and "Canon Law for Ministry." 

+++  Brother Francis concluded offering the weekend retreat, "Reading the Sacred in Creation," to 20 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center this weekend.

(20) Father Adrian, our business manager, and John Wilson, general manager of the Abbey Press, gave the monastic community a presentation on this coming fiscal year's budget this evening.

(21) Brother Maurus began offering a Midweek Retreat-"Pray Your Way to Happiness"-to 20 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center." The retreat concludes at Thursday noon.

(22) Our "One Bread, One Cup" college interns are enjoying a bit of a break from their previous week's work; in addition to debriefing and continuing with their formation during this week between sessions, they're taking a field trip to St. Louis for some sightseeing.

(23) Father Abbot Bonaventure is filling in as the scribe for About the House for a few days, as Father Prior Kurt travels to Green Bay for the ordination of one of our recent seminary graduates. 

+++  Abbot Bonaventure reports a pleasant "weather day," with daytime temps between 75 and 85 degrees.

(24) The Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist-an O.P., with Father Subprior Guerric presiding and Father Meinrad preaching at the Conventual Eucharist.

+++  We received the oblation of Jim and Sharon Essner of Cape Girardeau, MO, and Jim Schmitt of Albion, IN, after Noonday Prayer. God's blessings upon them and upon all our oblates!

(25) A lot of confreres are away-on temporary summer assignment, on vacation, attending ordinations... Father Abbot Bonaventure reports there were only 22 monks in choir for Vigils and Lauds this morning! 

+++  Two more of our graduating seminarians were ordained to the priesthood today: congratulations to, and prayers for, Father Noah Diehm of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, and Father Luke Ferris of the Diocese of Green Bay. 

+++  And some 4,000 miles or so to the east of our American Midwest, two of our seminarians were ordained to the diaconate. Congratulations and a promise of prayers to  Crispine Adongo and Aaron Wessman, now deacons of the Glenmary Missioners, who were ordained in Kenya! This is Deacon Crispine's home territory, so he'll be playing host to Deacon Aaron and their guests for a few days before returning to the States.

(26) Solemnity of Corpus Christi, an O.P., with Father Timothy presiding and preaching at the Conventual Mass. 

+++  EXTREME WEATHER !!! A tornado, with wind speeds reaching 80+ mph, touched down on the southern end of our grounds around two o'clock this morning. Fortunately, no one was injured, but there was considerable damage to property and structures. At Plant 2 at the Abbey Press, the flat roof was peeled off. The Press warehouse was destroyed, and furniture stored there was damaged. The building housing our groundskeeping equipment collapsed, and the Gessner House lost half its roof. We've lots of cleanup to do but, thankfully, we emerged far more fortunate than have many of our Midwest neighbors this summer.

(27) Cleanup and repairs from yesterday's storm and tornado damage took up a major part of the day, of course. Kudos to Pat Clark, our director of physical facilities, and his splendid crew who are cleaning and scrubbing, fixing and restocking. 

+++The second session of "One Bread, One Cup" began at noon today.

(28) Cleanup from Sunday morning's tornado continues, as it will for some time! 

+++  The permanent deacon class from the Diocese of Springfield, IL, is spending their week here on the hill, undergoing their intensive workshop in homiletics.

(29) Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. The feast is celebrated as an O.A., and so Father Abbot Justin presided at I Vespers yesterday evening and Vigils and Lauds this morning, and also presided and preached at our 7:30 a.m. Eucharist. This year, however, this great feast of the Universal Church runs into a bit of competition from a local event: this afternoon Louisville priest and Saint Meinrad alumnus Charles Thompson was ordained and installed as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Evansville. Father Abbot and a host of monks attended the ordination. We ask God's blessings upon Bishop Charles, and upon all who lead, guide and teach us.

(30) Father Sebastian is home from his teaching and administrative assignment at Canterbury School in Connecticut; he'll be spending the summer with us until about mid-August. We welcome him home! 

+++ Thanks to the tireless cleanup and repair work of our Physical Facilities crew, under the direction of Pat Clark, you'd almost never know we suffered severe damage from the tornado earlier in the week. Almost!

Quote of the Month

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

"Let [the monks] strive to be the first to honor one another. They should bear each other's weaknesses of both body and character with the utmost patience. They must compete with one another in obedience. No one should pursue what he judges advantageous to himself, but rather what benefits others."

Chapter 72, "The Good Zeal that Monks Ought to Have"
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.