Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

March 2011

(1) Father Columba is on his way to Houston today, to begin tomorrow a four-day workshop on Gregorian Chant at the University of St. Thomas. The workshop is sponsored by St. Basil's School of Gregorian Chant, and their workshop brochure describes Fr. Columba as "one of the world's greatest living scholars of Gregorian chant." Congratulations, Fr. Columba, to a tribute well deserved!

(2) Today Fr. Christopher Coyne, "formerly" a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. The liturgy took place at St. John Church, Indianapolis. Among the monks attending were Fathers Archabbot Justin, Barnabas, Bede, Jonathan, Julian, Denis and Anthony, and Brother Mauritius, a monk from our mother abbey of Einsiedeln, who is with us this year studying in our seminary. Also present were Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, and about 16 other bishops.

(3) This evening we hosted the annual Service Recognition Dinner for over a hundred of our co-workers. These loyal friends joined us for Vespers, and then enjoyed a social and fine supper with a dozen members of the monastic community, including Father Archabbot Justin and Father Archabbot Bonaventure. All of these men and women are blessings to us. May God bless them and their families!

(4) Father Noël began the weekend retreat, "Carnival Capers: Preparing for Lent," at our Guest House and Retreat Center for some 17 participants this evening. The retreat runs through Sunday noon.

(5) About 35 monks marched or rode down to The UnStable for our occasional "pizza lunch" after Midday Prayer. Fathers Prior Kurt and Patrick and third-year theology seminarian Brian Lederer (Duluth) and first-year theology seminarian Timothy Wyciskalla (Indianapolis) prepared some 15 large pizzas and tendered the beverages.

(6) Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time-and the last Sunday before Lent! Father Vincent, beginning his week as our Mass Heb, presided and preached this morning. After Mass we exposed the Blessed Sacrament on the altar, beginning our annual Day of Adoration. We concluded Vespers this evening with Benediction and by again reposing the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle.

+++ After Vespers we welcomed into our refectory the 30 or so seminarians from the St. Luke Formation House who had prayed with us. They enjoyed a brief tour of the monastery afterward.

(7) We welcomed Brother Hugh "back home" today. For almost a year, he had been caring for his mother (RIP February 18) at the Little Sisters of the Poor in Evansville. May she, and all the faithful departed-especially our deceased parents-know the mercy of God and rest in peace.

(8) We transferred our customary "Wednesday Evening Special Dessert" time to this evening, to better honor the mood both of Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. Following desserts and then Compline, Father Abbot Justin offered the community his Lenten Conference.

+++ We also celebrated today the feastday of Father Julian.

(9) Father Abbot Justin presided and preached at our Conventual Mass this Ash Wednesday. After blessing the ashes after the homily, he received them from Father Prior Kurt, and then distributed them to the Prior and the community. As they processed to the abbot to receive the ashes, the monks dropped their Bona Operas in a basket at the ambo. Fr. Abbot reviewed, annotated and signed, and returned them to each monk by the close of the day.

+++ After Vespers we received the oblation of Mr. Scott Tretter, of nearby Oakland City.

+++ And, even with the beginning of Lent, we remember to celebrate the patronal feast day of Brother Dominic.

(10) Many of our seminarians left after their last class this morning or afternoon to enjoy a "long weekend." The faculty and administration enjoy this time as well! Classes resume on Monday.

(11) It was an unusually quiet day here on the hill, even with over 100 Boy Scouts from the Evansville Diocese arriving in the early evening to begin a weekend retreat!

(12) Throughout the year, we have many college seminarians visiting to "take a look at our seminary"-part of the decision-making process by them and their vocation directors as to which theologate they will attend. For these next few days, we are hosting a brother monk, Brother Simon Baker of St. Benedict's Abbey, Atchison, Kansas, who is considering our school for his studies for the priesthood.

(13) Father Sean is our Mass Heb for this first week of Lent but, as he was assisting at a parish this weekend, Father Jeremy presided and preached at our Conventual Mass.

(14) We have set aside four Lenten Monday evenings to tend to our spiritual education and formation. The first of these sessions, presented after Compline by Father Harry, offered an overview of the psalms in our monastic prayer and how they have shaped our common prayer in the Opus Dei.

(15) Father Sean preached this morning on this Ides of March, and in the evening Father Vincent began offering a midweek retreat at our Guest House and Retreat Center. Twenty participants have signed up for "The Return to God in the Rule of St. Benedict."

(16) Among the guests and visitors to the hill this past week were two prospective candidates for the monastery. Both young men spent the better part of a week joining us in the house for prayers, meals, work and recreation. We pray that God may guide their discernment. And, in line with that, we pray for vocations to our monastery each day at the conclusion of our "grace after meals" at our main meal, and as part of our procession to the Shrine of Our Lady of Einsiedeln at the end of I Vespers (Saturday evening) each week.

(17) The violet vestments didn't have a green trim on this feast of St. Patrick, but corned beef and cabbage was on the supper menu.

+++ Happy feast day to Father Patrick!

+++ This evening the monastic community enjoyed an hour session with Abbot Gregory Polan of Conception Abbey (Missouri), who explained the rationale and some of the details behind the revised translation of the Grail Psalter we will soon be adopting for choir use. Abbot Gregory was an excellent person to do this for us: the translation is largely his! We'll be familiarizing ourselves with this translation in various ways over the next months. (This is a different issue than the new Roman Missal we'll be adopting-along with the rest of the English-speaking Church-this First Sunday of Advent.)

(18) Today is the patronal feast day of our Father Christian, who is in his second year pursuing doctoral studies at The Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

+++ Some 33 participants began a weekend retreat this evening at our Guest House and Retreat Center; Brother John Mark is directing "Monastic Practices: Drawing Everyday Wisdom from the Monastic Life."

(19) The Solemnity of St. Joseph-an O.P. according to the ranking of liturgical feasts, and so Father Prior Kurt presided and preached at our Conventual Mass.

+++ After Midday Prayer, we received the oblation of Raul and Judy Longoria of Bartlett, Tennessee.

+++ And, happy feast day to Father Joseph!

(20) Father Julian, our Mass Heb, presided and preached on this Second Sunday of Lent. The Archabbey Church was rather full, as our weekend retreatants and other guests joined us.

+++ After Compline, we welcomed the Most Reverend Christopher Coyne, the recently ordained auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. In anticipation of tomorrow's solemnity, we enjoyed a modest social at "Jack's in the Commons."

(21) Auxiliary Bishop of Indianapolis Christopher Coyne presided and preached at our Eucharist on this solemnity of St. Benedict. Some six dozen oblates (who are on retreat) and our seminarians joined us for Mass, so the Archabbey Church was quite full.

+++ This was Bishop Coyne's first visit ever to Saint Meinrad; he will be returning at the end of April to ordain one of his seminarians and Brother Romain, a monk from the Monastery of the Incarnation in Togo, West Africa, to the diaconate. The other deacon candidates in our seminary will be ordained in their home diocese throughout May and June.

+++ We celebrated the feast days of three of our confreres today: Brother Benedict, Father Benedict and Brother Benjamin. May God's grace sustain them in their monastic life!

+++ In the midst of our celebration, we received word that our confrere, Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, OSB, archbishop of Indianapolis, suffered a minor stroke. He is recuperating in an Indianapolis hospital.

(22) The oblate retreat, which began Sunday evening, ended at noon today. Father Adrian directed almost 80 oblates, 64 of whom stayed at our Guest House and Retreat Center. During the retreat, we invested one oblate and received six final oblations. May God continue to bless the many men and women who associate themselves with the prayer and work of our monastery!

(23) Amy Halt of Bloomington, Illinois, was invested as an oblate in the Archabbey Church after Vespers today. Congratulations to her, and to all of our recently invested and professed oblates.

(24) Thirty junior high students from Trinity High School, Whitesville, Kentucky, began a 24-hour retreat on the hill. We pray for them, and for all who come to the hill seeking to strengthen their relationship with the Lord.

+++ The "slype" is the passageway that connects the Archabbey Church and the monastery. It's that glass-enclosed area that, if you walk outside the church before weekend Vespers or Sunday Mass, you'll see the monks lined up, preparing to process into the church. This week workmen have begun to repair and replace the glass and the frames of the slype-the first major work done on this structure since the dedication of the renovated Archabbey Church in 1997. The improvements will help keep the air conditioning in during the summer and the heat during the winter.

(25) We had some scattered snow flurries this morning, on this solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord. Father Prior presided at our Eucharist (an "O.P.") and, at his invitation, Father Julian preached.

(26) After Vespers, Scott Woods, a second-year philosophy seminarian from the Diocese of Toledo, was invested as an oblate novice. We congratulate him and welcome him to our oblate family.

(27) On this Third Sunday of Lent, Father Joseph began his service as our Mass Hebdomadarian. (As is sometimes the case, he also serves as our Heb and the Divine Office.)

+++ We celebrated the feast day of Father Rupert today. The weather was not at its best, but Father still is in many ways; I believe he went for his daily ride on his "tri-bike." God's blessings, Father Rupert!

(28) As part of our Lenten observance, we remained in choir after Compline this evening. Father Julian offered a brief reflection on his favorite psalm, and then as a community we alternated the psalm in our usual manner, using the translation from the revised Grail Psalter from Conception Abbey (Missouri) we will soon adopt. Brother John Mark also gave a reflection on his favorite psalm, after which we prayed that psalm. This exercise-we'll do this again next Monday-both familiarizes us with the new translation and offers us a chance for some "common lectio."

(29) Father Richard went and returned from Jasper Memorial Hospital today, having some minor surgery done. He seems in good spirits and health!

+++ Father Paul Turner, a priest of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, is offering conferences this evening and tomorrow morning to the seminary community regarding the forthcoming translation of the Roman Missal. Father Paul is a prolific author and a consultor for the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. He received his S.T.D. in sacramental theology from Sant' Anselmo, the International Benedictine University in Rome.

(30) Father Abbot Justin concluded the third of three "mini-mission" talks at Saint Paul's Parish in Tell City this evening.

+++ Work on the repair and remodeling of our slype continues.

(31) Sixteen priests from the Archdiocese of Louisville are enjoying their last full day of a five-day Ignatian Retreat at our Guest House and Retreat Center.

+++ Father Richard continues to recover from his surgery earlier in the week; this morning he vacated his temporary infirmary room and returned to his own cell. We are blessed to receive excellent care from our dedicated nursing staff, who presently assist seven of our confreres who are now full-time infirmary residents: Brother Benedict, Father Eric, Father Donald, Father Simeon, Father Benedict, Father Aurelius and Father Mel. We keep in prayer also our sick confreres off-the-hill, especially Archbishop Daniel, who continues his rehabilitation from his stroke, and Father Severin, whose cancer appears in remission.

Quote of the Month

No "question of the month" this time around, and so our tireless research assistant has some time off. We do conclude with a quote from the Rule of St. Benedict:

"So the one who needs less should thank God and not be sad. And whoever needs more should be humble about his weaknesses and not gloat over the mercy shown him."

Chapter 34, "Whether All Should Receive Necessities in Equal Measure"
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.