Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

April 2012

(1) Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion. Archabbot Justin presided over the blessing of the palms on the steps of the Memorial Lobby at 9:15 this morning; procession into the Archabbey Church and our celebration of the Eucharist followed. The Passion According to Mark was chanted. Until Holy Thursday, Brother Zachary is our Office Heb for the week, and so he presided over Vigils-Lauds, Midday Prayer, Vespers and Compline.

(2) Monday of Holy Week, and after Compline this evening we had our annual Lenten Penance Service. Father Joseph presided and preached, and Fathers Vincent, Columba, Meinrad, Harry and Sean assisted as confessors.

(3) Tuesday of Holy Week. Father Abbot Justin and Brother Kim, our custos of the church, drove to Indianapolis for the archdiocese's Chrism Mass, presided over by our apostolic administrator, the Most Rev. Christopher Coyne. The Bishop Emeritus of Indianapolis, the Most Rev. Daniel Buechlein, is, of course, with us! Brother Kim brought back a supply of the newly consecrated oils, and so he will be supplying a number of our priest-monks with refreshed vials of the oil of the sick. 

(4) Wednesday of Holy Week. After Midday Prayer, Christopher Elam of Bloomington, Indiana, was invested as an oblate novice in the Archabbey Church. We ask God's blessings on all our oblates!  +++  During Vespers this evening, we celebrated the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. After the reading, the priests of the community followed Father Archabbot Justin in laying hands upon Archbishop Daniel, Archabbot Bonaventure, Brother Benedict, and Fathers Simeon, Rupert, Gavin and Augustine, and then Abbot Justin anointed them. After Vespers, Fr. Prior Kurt accompanied Fr. Abbot to the infirmary, for the anointing of our confreres Fathers Richard, Benedict, Mel and Louis Hacker, and Brother Giles.

(5) After Midday Prayer on this Holy Thursday, we invested Julie Wilberding of Greencastle, Pennsylvania, as an oblate novice. Julie is a niece of our Brother Zachary. God's blessings upon her and upon all our oblates.  +++  Our Mass of the Lord's Supper began at five o'clock this afternoon. Archabbot Justin presided, Fathers Bede and Denis assisted, and Brother Anthony of Assumption Abbey served as deacon. Father Denis sang the gospel, and Father Tobias offered the homily. After the homily, Abbot Justin washed the feet of twelve - four monks and eight retreatants and guests, and then presented each with a small gift.  +++  Shortly after the Eucharist, we enjoyed a traditional - and most delicious - Holy Thursday supper of lamb in the Newman Dining Room with our guests and retreatants.

(6) Good Friday of the Lord's Passion. Archabbot Justin presided at our Solemn Liturgy, which began at three o'clock this afternoon. The Passion According to Saint John was beautifully chanted by Fathers Jeremy and Tobias and Brother John Mark. We ate our two community meals today - midday and evening - in silence, listening to a table reading that offered reflections on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary. About a half hour after the Solemn Liturgy, the monastic community gathered in the Chapter Room for our Chapter of Faults, again presided over by Archabbot Justin. Compline at seven o'clock officially closed our day.

(7) The house was quiet most of the day, as final preparations for the Easter Vigil were under way, usually behind the scenes. We had table reading at our noonday meal, but shortly after Vespers we enjoyed some prerecorded music at our "silent" evening meal. The Easter Vigil began at eight o'clock, with Father Archabbot Justin presiding, Fathers Julian and Adrian as assistants, and Brothers Anthony Baker (Assumption Abbey, South Dakota) and Romain Baker (Togo, West Africa) serving as deacons. Father Jeremy, choirmaster, sung the Exsultet,and Father Germain blessed the water. For many years, we have had the house tradition of bringing in a lamb to be blessed by the abbot; we did indeed have a lamb, but "technical reasons" kept it out of the ceremony (too small a basket, too big a lamb, and a bladder that seemingly would never empty!). Our Vigil of the Lord's Resurrection concluded just before eleven o'clock, and many of us then adjourned to our refectory for some wine and snacks before retiring after a long, but grace-filled, day. Among those joining us for Holy Week and the Triduum were 24 participants in a retreat offered by Father Denis, titled "Reflections on the Triduum. 

(8) Happy Easter! We observed our "most unusual" schedule of the year on this Day of the Lord's Resurrection: breakfast at 7:30, Lauds at 8:30, Midday Prayer at 11:30, followed by a social in our calefactory and then a fine main meal in our refectory. After a few quiet hours in the afternoon, we regrouped for II Vespers at 5 o'clock, followed by a buffet supper in our refectory. As usual, Compline closed the day at 7:00. May the Lord's blessings be upon us all, as we praise God for the gift of his Son-and may His Spirit be upon us always!

(9) Easter Monday. We continued our festivities by enjoying "Sunday Schedule" with its later rising and prayer times. Today is an O.P.-ranked feast, and so Father Prior Kurt presided at our 9:30 Eucharist and offered the homily.

(10) Our seminarians are back to their classes and the monastery is back to its regular weekday schedule. This Easter Tuesday is one of two O.S.-ranked feasts ("Order of the Subprior"; the other is December 27), and so Father Subprior Guerric presided at our Eucharist. Brother Anthony, of Assumption Abbey, South Dakota, offered the homily.

(11) A breezy, somewhat chilly Easter Wednesday. We continue to sing the Alleluia refrain, but outside of our liturgies some of the Easter leisure is gone-especially, as our students would say, for them. Indeed, there are less than five weeks left in the semester and that means, of course, a number of deadlines for papers and projects are approaching. The school is looking forward to this weekend, as the apostolic administrator of Indianapolis, the Most Rev. Christopher Coyne, will ordain two seminarians to the diaconate. 

(12) This evening our Development Office hosted the Lincoln Hills/Huntingburg Alumni and Friends Dinner. The evening began with Vespers in the Archabbey Church, then a reception in the Alumni Commons and supper in the Anselm Dining Room. We're glad to be able to set aside some time to thank our friends for the support they continue to give for the prayer and work of Saint Meinrad.

(13) The renovation of St. Bede and Newman halls continues, and on schedule! This afternoon a committee met to discuss some of the details of the dedication of the two projects, which will take place on October 6.

(14) A somewhat rainy Saturday, but a happy one for our seminary community. The Most Rev. Christopher Coyne, apostolic administrator of our Archdiocese of Indianapolis, ordained two seminarians to the transitional diaconate this morning: John Kamwendo for the archdiocese and Todd Nance for the Diocese of Tulsa. Last week Scott Woods and Christopher Mileski were ordained to the transitional diaconate in their Diocese of Toledo. Their classmates will be ordained over the next few weekends, also in their home dioceses. God's blessings on all our new deacons!

(15) The Second Sunday of Easter and Father Harry, our Mass Heb, presided and preached at the 9:30 Conventual Mass.

(16) The Monastery Chapter met after Compline this evening to elect two monks to the Abbot's Council and a monk to the Seminary's Board of Trustees.

(17) Father Harry preached at our Conventual Mass this morning.

(18) We enjoyed our usual "special desserts" in the calefactory after supper.  +++  Earlier in the week we received word that our Father Cassian, founder and prior of Monastero di San Benedetto in Norcia, Italy, received the Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award from the Institute of Religious Life near Chicago. Congratulations, Father Prior Cassian!

(19) After Vespers this evening, a number of monks joined Father Abbot Justin in welcoming our co-workers for a social and supper. This annual event is our Service Recognition Dinner, one small way we express our appreciation to the many men and women who help keep the hill up and running 24/7. Some of these men and women have been working with us for over 50 years! We hold them and their families in our prayers.

(20) Our Institute of Priests and Presbyterates concluded session two of their World Priest Program today, which involved 10 participants and staff.  +++  This evening Brother Zachary began offering the Good Shepherd Women's Retreat, "Women of the Bible," to 16 participants.  +++  Father Subprior Guerric, novice-junior master, Brother John Mark, socius, and Novice Anushka left for Gethsemane Abbey (outside of Bardstown, Kentucky) today, for the annual novitiate visit. After two days experiencing the Cistercian ways of prayer and work, they'll return to the hill in time for Vespers Sunday.

(21) About 25 monks enjoyed a pizza lunch at The UnStable after Midday Prayer today. Pizza chefs Fathers Prior Kurt and Patrick were assisted by second-year theology seminarian Timothy Wyciskalla (Indianapolis) and first-year theology seminarians Adam Ahern (Indianapolis) and Jeremy Goebel (Evansville). Two pizzas were also delivered to our confreres and in the monastery infirmary and their caretakers.  +++  A few dozen young parishioners from the Evansville Diocese parishes of St. Clement (Boonville) and St. Rupert (Red Brush) were on the hill today, making a day-long retreat in preparation for their Confirmation.

(22) Father Eugene, our Mass Heb, presided and preached at our Conventual Mass this morning.  +++  This afternoon Matthew Scheeser, who had entered our novitiate this past January, left the monastery to return to his home and, after a short break, take up work as a church musician in the Washington, D.C., area. We are grateful for Matthew's time with us, and pray the Lord continue to guide him in his discernment.

(23) Today and tomorrow about 75 individuals will be on the hill, participating in a  meeting of school principals from the Indianapolis Archdiocese.

(24) It has been announced that Father Mark (whose patronal feast day we celebrate tomorrow), currently pastor at St. Mary's Parish, Huntingburg, will be returning to the hill in August. He will resume full-time teaching in our seminary, as well as offering spiritual direction to our seminarians. Father Godfrey, currently vice rector of our seminary, will become pastor of St. Mary's. These appointments are effective in August.

(25) Feast of the Evangelist Mark. Father Eugene, our Mass Heb, preached.

(26) Father Jeremy began a several-day retreat for 19 parish secretaries, titled: "Caught in the Crosshairs: The Sacrifice of Service." The secretaries come from parishes in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Illinois.

(27) A sad day for us. Forty-seven-year-old co-worker in our Abbey Press IT Department Kevin Wilson collapsed in his office shortly after noon today. All efforts to revive him proved unsuccessful. Kevin leaves his wife and seven children, one of who works in our Development Office. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace.  +++  Our Board of Overseers met for the first session of their spring meeting today. Among those honored at the evening meal was John Wilson, who is retiring from his position as general manager of the Abbey Press in July. John has been working with us, first in the Business Office and, more recently, in the Abbey Press, since the late 1970s. We're most grateful for his service!

(28) The Board of Overseers concluded their spring meeting just before noon. The Board of Trustees met after lunch, and Archabbot Justin accepted their recommendation that Fr. Denis be appointed for a second five-year term as president-rector of our seminary. Congratulations, Father Denis!  +++  Father Louis Hacker, whose feast day we celebrate today, experienced chest pains this morning, and so was admitted to the hospital in Jasper for observation. We keep him in our prayers.

(29) Fourth Sunday of Easter. Father Adrian is our Mass Heb.  +++  The "first run" of Father Gavin's new play, "Between Friends," concluded with an afternoon performance today; the play premiered Friday evening, and had a second showing Saturday evening. The final two performances are scheduled for next weekend. The performances take place at the amphitheater at Lincoln State Park. "Between Friends" details the "literary relationships" among President Lincoln and Generals Grant and Sherman during the Civil War. Well done, playwright and co-producer Father Gavin!

(30) On this last day of April, I prepare to hand over the next few weeks of entries to the capable "pen" of Brother Francis Wagner. Brother Francis professed his vows in 2008. He serves as associate editor in our Publications Division (Path of Life Publications) in our Abbey Press, in addition to his duties as assistant director of oblates. Brother Francis will be keeping you informed of things, while I take a few weeks of vacation-which suggests our closing quote from St. Benedict's Rule for the month....

"Brothers who are about to set out on a journey should commend themselves to the prayers of all the brethren and the abbot…. And no one should presume to tell anyone else what he has seen or heard outside the monastery, for that causes great harm."

Chapter 67, "Brothers Who are Sent on a Journey"
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.