Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

November 2011

(1) We celebrated the Solemnity of All Saints, with Abbot Justin presiding at, and Father Meinrad preaching, the Conventual Mass. The Sunday Schedule we followed today allowed for a bit of extra morning rest.  

+++  One of our confreres, Father Harold, celebrated not only the memory of the entire heavenly court of saints but that of his patron saint in particular. Father Harold lives and ministers in Evansville, and faithfully attends to the sick and suffering in that city's hospitals.

(2) Father Abbot presided at and preached the Conventual Mass on this Solemnity of All the Faithful Departed. Following the Mass, we made our customary procession to the cemetery to bless the graves and ask God's peace on those who have gone before us. 

+++  We prayed for the living as well - especially Father Tobias, who celebrates his patronal feast day.

(3) A rainy day in Southern Indiana - a truly "fall day." 

+++  It's also Brother Benedict's 92nd birthday! In his honor, he was seated at the abbot's table for our evening meal, and we had cake and colloquium in his honor. Ad multos annos, Brother Benedict!

(4) Father Noël began offering the weekend retreat "Good Grief" to about a dozen participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center.

(5) The feast day of Brother Zachary is today and so, as is our custom, we prayed for him by name at Vigils-Lauds and at our 7:30 a.m. Conventual Mass.

(6) Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. Father Noël is our Mass Heb. 

+++  Along with most of the United States, we set our clocks back one hour before retiring last night. As many of the readers of this Chronicle know, we sit right on the time line, and so we have an awkward, sometimes inconvenient, situation: we remain one hour behind Ferdinand, Jasper and Huntingburg - neighboring cities where many of our co-workers, doctors and service people live. 

+++  Fourteen third-year theology seminarians in our Seminary and School of Theology professed their candidacy for the priesthood during the seminary's Sunday Eucharist this morning, including Brother Victor Schinstock, a visiting Benedictine from Conception Abbey, Missouri. The presiding bishop was the Most Rev. Timothy Doherty, Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana. Congratulations to these men, and may God uphold them in their vocation.

(7) This evening after Compline, Father Abbot Justin offered the community a conference in the Chapter Room.

(8) We celebrate today the feast day of Father Godfrey. Ad multos annos!

(9) Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. This is an OP-ranked feast, and so Father Prior Kurt presided at our Eucharist. Brother Romain, one of our "visiting Benedictines" from Togo, Africa, was deacon and preached. 

+++  We welcomed Father Louis Hacker back from the hospital this afternoon. It's good to have him back with us!

(10) We hosted benefactors and friends from the Jasper, Washington and Loogootee region this evening. We enjoyed the opportunity to offer the some hospitality. 

+++  Our Father Matthias, working and living in Beech Grove (near Indianapolis), was taken to the hospital in Indianapolis this morning, complaining of back pain. Diagnosis will begin with an MRI. 

+++  Father Richard returned from the Jasper hospital, where he had been getting some routine evaluation these past few days.

(11) Today is Veterans Day, and our prayers are with those men and women who have served our country. They are among those to whom we owe an unpayable debt. We pray, too, that God will keep safe our men and women currently serving, and will guide us all in our quest for peace. 

+++  Today is the feast day of our  Brother Martin. 

+++  Brother Anthony Baker, a "visiting Benedictine" from Assumption Abbey, South Dakota, was deacon and preached at our Conventual Mass this morning.

(12) About 30 monks enjoyed lunch at The UnStable after Midday Prayer this afternoon. 

+++  Today is the actual 50th anniversary of the monastic profession of Brother Mario; we helped him celebrate by having him sit at the abbot's table for supper and having colloquium in his honor.

(13) Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time, and Father Jeremy is our Mass Heb. The year - the Liturgical Year, at least-is fast coming to a close: next Sunday is the Solemnity of Christ the King, and then we begin Advent, brought in this year by the full implementation of the third edition of the Roman Missal.

(14) We celebrated Father Rupert's 90th birthday today! We had colloquium in his honor at our evening meal and enjoyed a fine, specially prepared birthday cake.

(15) Father Jeremy preached at our Conventual Mass this morning. The rain, which began yesterday evening, continued throughout much of the night and continued to fall steadily all morning and a good part of the afternoon.

(16) Lance Schortmann of Louisville was invested as an oblate novice after our Midday Prayer. God's blessings on all our oblates! 

+++  Archbishop Daniel enjoyed a visit with several of his brother bishops today. Archbishop John Vlazny (Portland) and Archbishop James Keleher (Emeritus of Kansas City in Kansas), along with Abbot Justin, joined the archbishop for a meal and conversation this evening.

(17) Our seminarians have departed for Indianapolis, where they will participate in the National Catholic Youth Conference. Their Thanksgiving break begins at the conclusion of the Conference on Saturday; classes will resume November 28. 

+++  Over a dozen nurses and nurses' aides staff our monastery infirmary, and they certainly have had their hands full these past months. As I've reported several times, each of the nine cells in our infirmary is occupied. As a small but sincere gesture of appreciation, Abbot Justin and Prior Kurt, representing the monastic community, treated our lay infirmary staff to a pizza supper at The UnStable this evening. Fathers Prior and Patrick prepared the pizzas, and Brother Hugh created a special dessert. Father Gavin designed a thank you card, signed by many in the community, and Brothers Raban, Dominic, Zachary and Elijah minded the infirmary during the supper so that as many of our lay staff as possible could join in the fun. Each of our infirmary staff was presented with a medallion created by Brother Martin, and they, along with their spouse or invited friend, took home a loaf of our Abbey Kitchen's freshly baked raisin bread. It was as good time for all, and we were happy to offer this modest "thank you" to our dedicated, skilled and caring health care workers.

(18) Brother Zachary began offering the weekend retreat "Be Angry But Do Not Sin" to 19 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center.

(19) We invested David Nelson of Rockfield, Kentucky, and Edwin Wells of New Carlisle, Ohio, after Midday Prayer. May God bless them and all our oblates. 

+++  Another round of weekend courses began for about 60 of our lay degree students. The instructors this weekend are Fathers Harry, Eugene and Denis, Fr. Tom Richstatter, and Drs. Ryan LaMothe and Tom Walters. 

+++  An Indiana University vocal ensemble gave an hour-long concert in the Archabbey Church this afternoon.

(20) Sunday, the Solemnity of Jesus Christ our Lord and King. An  OP-ranked feast, Father Prior Kurt presided and preached at the Conventual Mass. 

+++  About a hundred co-workers joined us for Mass, and then afterward for a reception in Jack's. These men and women work with us, for us, every day; on this Sunday of Thanksgiving Week, it's a privilege to pray with them, and praise and thank the Lord for his many blessings. 

+++  This afternoon we were treated to another concert in the Archabbey Church: the Evansville Brass Quintet and organist Mark X. Hatfield presented a fine program for the enjoyment of many.

(21) After yesterday's celebration of the solemnity, Father Adrian began his week as presider at our Eucharist this morning. 

+++  Mr. Mike Ziemianski, our vice president of development, and several members of his staff presented the monastic community with the annual Development Office report this evening in the Chapter Room after Compline. This was the first time we had audio-visual capability in the Chapter Room; now, with the proper equipment, we're able to meet there (just a hundred feet south of the church), rather than make our customary, somewhat torturous, trek around the Newman Hall construction up to the fourth floor of Newman!

(22) A rainy day almost all day: a light but steady drizzle, which makes for perfect November weather! All seemed to be very quiet on the hill today, as many are getting ready in various ways for the Thanksgiving break.

(23) After supper this evening ,we expanded our usual "Wednesday special dessert" evening a bit and, thanks to the creative and careful shopping of our junior monks, enjoyed some fine wines, cheese, fruits and sweets in the calefactory. Before moving into the Archabbey Church for Compline (at 7:15 this evening), Abbot Justin briefly addressed the community, recalling a number of blessings we have experienced over the past year. We give thanks to God, and keep in prayer those who are so good to us!

(24) Thanksgiving Day, and we enjoyed a traditional meal with all the traditional desserts! A small group of guests and seminary students remaining on the hill over the break joined us for our noonday meal. Father Adrian, our Mass Heb, presided and preached at our Eucharist - 9:30 this morning, as we were following our Sunday schedule.

(25) Some say the day after Thanksgiving is the quietest day of the year. It is quiet here today! Leftovers - both on the bone and on the dessert table - are slowly disappearing.

(26) The choirmaster, sacristan, and master of ceremonies and their assistants spent a good part of the day preparing new books and finalizing details for tomorrow, when the full implementation of the third edition of the Roman Missal becomes effective. We began some minor changes in our practice of the Divine Office at I Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent this evening.

(27) This First Sunday of Advent brings with it the full implementation of Roman Missal III. Father Julian is our Mass Heb and, as a former master of ceremonies of the monastery, as well as one who has given many workshops on the new translation, he was well prepared to lead us in our first Eucharistic celebration. All went smoothly.

(28) This evening after Compline, Brother John Mark, vocation director for the monastery, gave the second of three presentations on "The Culture of Vocations." We again met in the newly AV-equipped Chapter Room.

(29) Father Vincent is giving a weeklong retreat, "User-Friendly Spirituality: The Lectionary and the Liturgy of the Hours," to eight priests at our Guest House and Retreat Center.

+++  And, on this next-to-last day of November, we enjoyed our first sighting - a brief one - of snow for the season.

(30) Brother Romain Botta, OSB, a "visiting Benedictine" from Togo, Africa, was our deacon at our Eucharist this morning on this feast of the apostle Andrew.

Quote of the Month

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

"But if local circumstances or the workload or the heat of summer demand more [wine for meals], the superior has the power to grant it. But he should be constantly vigilant that excess and drunkenness do not creep in. We read that wine is absolutely not for monks. But since monks in our day cannot be convinced of this, let us at least agree not to drink to excess, but sparingly."

Chapter 40, vs. 5-6, "The Quantity of Drink"
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.