(1) Father Thomas is enjoying a home visit with us, taking a
break from his doctoral studies at Leuven—and of course we’re
putting him to work. He presided and preached at our Conventual
Mass this morning, to begin his service this week as our Mass
Hebdomadarian. +++ The closing hours of the afternoon
brought some hope for stormy weather. The skies darkened, the wind
picked up, thunder rattled around far off—but, alas, no rain, or
not much to speak of. At least the temperature dropped into the
mid-80s for a while. Areas around us did receive some rain, so
we’re grateful for their temporary relief.
(2) Father Mel returned from the hospital today. He is in good
spirits, happy to be back. He will continue his recuperation from
his fall a few days ago in his infirmary cell. +++
Father Columba began offering his chant workshop, “Bringing to Life
the Word of God in Song,” to 19 participants at our Guest House and
Retreat Center this evening.
(3) Shortly after supper this evening, Brother Jerome fell in
one of our stairways. The Saint Meinrad area First Responders, who
happened to be at our firehouse for a practice, were here within
two minutes. They stabilized Brother Jerome and got him ready for
the ambulance journey to the Jasper hospital. Fortunately, Brother
Jerome was not seriously hurt and returned to the monastery around
11:30 this evening.
(4) On this Independence Day, we thank God for the freedoms and
liberties our country enjoys, and we ask His blessings on all who
strive for human rights and justice. +++ Father Thomas,
continuing on with his duties as Mass Heb, preached a fine “Fourth
of July homily” this morning. +++ We followed our
regular weekday schedule today, with some late afternoon/early
evening modifications: after Vespers, we enjoyed a modest social in
the calefactory while several confreres began the grilling of
burgers and brats, which the rest of us eagerly feasted on around
six o’clock. So as not to rush our celebration, we prayed Compline
individually this evening.
(5) Brother Andrew was experiencing some chest pains this
evening and so our monk/nurse, Brother Zachary, took him to the
hospital. The word is that Brother Andrew did have a small heart
attack. He will be further diagnosed tomorrow, and our hope is that
he’ll be returning to us soon.
(6) Brother Andrew is doing better; he’ll undergo some
procedures today and will hopefully return to us tomorrow.
+++ Temperatures continue to soar. Most of our work these
past weeks has been indoors: painting, putting up or taking down
walls, regular repair and maintenance of equipment. Of course, the
heavy work of the renovation of St. Bede and Newman halls
continues—on schedule. +++ An unidentified person
gained access to the monastery’s food supply this evening, leaving
behind eight boxes stuffed with Krispy Kreme donuts. Prosecution of
this violation of monastic space and discipline will be difficult,
as most of the evidence has been tampered with and key elements are
(7) Brother Andrew returned from the Jasper hospital today. He
looks in good shape and has promised to take things “just a bit
easier.” +++ Earlier this week, Father Stephen was
hospitalized for a few days. He had just returned from vacation and
was experiencing some shortness of breath. He’s now back at his
rectory in Lake Village,Indiana, doing just fine.
(8 ) Father Adrian is our Mass Heb on this 14th Sunday in
Ordinary Time. +++ About 50 of our lay degree students
were on the Hill this weekend, taking various courses. Dr. James
Helmer taught “Catholic Social Ethics,” Dr. Clayton Jefford taught
“Synoptics, Acts, and General Epistles,” Fr. Damian Dietlein, OSB,
taught “Women in Early Christianity,” and Dr. Ryan LaMothe
taught “Marriage Counseling.” +++ Just as we began
Vespers this evening, the skies opened a bit—and we enjoyed about
five minutes of rain. A welcome sound and sight. It didn’t last
long, but we are looking forward to cooler and wetter weather this
evening and on into tomorrow. May the Lord bless those who work our
land, especially under these most difficult conditions!
(9) About a hundred Conventual Franciscan Friars from Mt. St.
Francis, Indiana, are holding their annual convocation here on the
Hill. Some of our guests have expressed some confusion about the
different varieties of habits processing through our church!
(10) Brother Terence was experiencing some breathing
difficulties and so we took him in to the Jasper hospital this
afternoon. First reports are that he is resting comfortably, has
improved a bit, and may be in for five or six days.
(11) Most of the Universal Church celebrates the feast of St.
Benedict today. We do as well, but since here on the Hill our major
celebration in honor of St. Benedict is on March 21, we honor today
also all saints of the Benedictine Order. An O.P.-ranked feast,
Father Prior Kurt presided at our Conventual Eucharist and Father
Adrian, Mass Heb, offered the homily. We followed our weekday
schedule today, but we did enjoy colloquium at
our evening meal, along with our customary special Wednesday night
(12) This past Monday, Father Columba began the second session
of a week-long retreat, “Bringing to Life the Word of God in Song.”
Fifteen participants have been “singing his praises” at our Guest
House and Retreat Center. The retreat ends tomorrow.
(13) Twenty-two members, spouses and guests of our High School
Class of 1967 began arriving today for their
45th reunion. They’ll be with us through Sunday
(14) This weekend brings another round of weekend courses in
our Seminary and School of Theology’s lay degree programs.
About six dozen men and women continued their program this morning,
and will conclude tomorrow afternoon. Course offerings this time
around: “Dostoevsky and the Problem of Evil,” taught by Dr.
Dan Kolb; “Medieval Philosophy,” taught by Dr. Christopher
Lutz; “Ecclesiology and Ecumenism,” taught by Dr. Keith Lemna; and
“Teaching and Preaching in the Context of Lay Ecclesial Ministry,”
taught by Fr. Brendan, OSB.
(15) Father Pius is our Heb this week, but on this Sunday,
beginning the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Father
Vincent presided at the Conventual Mass in his place. Father Pius,
in addition to being our refectorian, is also in charge of managing
the many requests for pastoral assistance that come our way, and
not infrequently he has to assign himself to assume weekend
ministry at a parish—as was the case today. +++ The
novice-junior master and four novices from the Trappist Abbey of
Gethsemani, Bardstown, Kentucky, arrived this afternoon for a few
days’ visit. We welcome our brothers as they join us for prayer,
meals and recreation. +++ Brother Terence has taken a
turn for the worse over the weekend. This morning it seemed as
though he was very near death; the report this afternoon, however,
is that he seems much improved.
(16) Solemnity of Our Lady of Einsiedeln. Father Abbot Justin
presided and preached on this O.A.-ranked feast, and we gave our
five Benedictine Scholars (five college-age men living, studying
and working with us for two months) some liturgical experience by
having them serve as cross and candle, miter and crozier bearers,
and as lector.
(17) We celebrated a “local feast” today: Father Abbot Justin
presided at our Conventual Mass, marking the feast of All Holy
Monks of Einsiedeln and Saint Meinrad. +++ This evening
Brother Luke began a midweek retreat for nine individuals, “Tools
for Good Works,” based upon Chapter 4 of St.
(18) Twelve permanent deacon candidates from the Diocese of
Davenport are halfway through their “homiletics week” here on the
Hill. The week is led by our own homiletics professor, Dr. Rick
(19) Brother Terence continues to show much improvement, and
there are indications that he may be “out of the woods”—and ready
to return to our own scorched earth here. It has been a little
cooler this week, especially in the evenings, but the word is that
there’s still a lot of summer ahead of us.
(20) A number of monks were joined by off-the-Hill guests for a
concert this evening, presented by 130 members of the
Brentwood,Tennessee, Sonshine Youth Choir. The choir is made up of
120 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors, whose primary
responsibility is to lead the 8:30 worship service at the Brentwood
United Methodist Church in music each Sunday morning. The Sonshine
Tour has been with us before. Their tour this year takes them from
their home to Chicago and points in between, where they will sing
in churches, retirement homes, facilities for the mentally,
physically, and emotionally challenged, children’s day camps, and
juvenile detention centers. They treated us to a program consisting
of accompanied and a capella, traditional sacred
choral selections, hymn tunes and multicultural pieces. A most
pleasant way to spend an hour on a Friday evening!
(21) Mr. Dave Maloney is presenting “A Step 11 Retreat for
Recovering Alcoholics and Alanons” to 35 participants at our Guest
House and Retreat Center this weekend.
(22) Father Christian, home for part of the summer and taking a
break from his doctoral studies at The Catholic University in
Washington, D.C., is our Mass Heb for this 16th Week in Ordinary
Time. He presided and preached at our Conventual Eucharist.
+++ Abbot Jerome Kodell of Subiaco Abbey, Arkansas, joined us
for Vespers and supper this evening. Abbot Jerome is giving a
retreat to the sisters of the Monastery of the Immaculate
Conception in Ferdinand. He gave the retreat to our monastic
community a few years back, so it was good to see an old friend
(23) Over 200 of our alumni are enjoying the first day of our
annual reunion. The weather is as hot as ever, but the spirits of
all are good.
(24) This is the principal day of the Alumni Reunion. Evansville
Bishop Charles Thompson, an alumnus of our theology class of 1987
(and who, as a third-year Louisville seminarian was in the very
first class taught by your chronicler, who was fresh out of grad
school way back in that fall of 1986!) presided and preached at the
reunion’s Eucharist (your chronicler/his former professor served as
his liturgical M.C.!). During Mass an unexpected downpour, all too
brief, did give us some temporary relief, but forced the
cancellation of the planned outdoor photograph. At the evening
banquet, the Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Mr. Bernie
Niehaus of Vincennes, Indiana (high school class of 1955) and Fr.
Donald Wolf of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City (college class of
1977, theology class of 1981).
(25) This afternoon we welcomed Brother Terence home from his
two-week stay in the hospital. He’s delighted to be back, and we’re
delighted to have him here once again! He’s lost some weight, but
not his good spirits—nor his humor, nor his desire to get back into
things. We’ll be forcing him for a while to take things easy—which
will certainly be difficult for him! +++ Our alumni and
their spouses and guests concluded their annual reunion today. We
pray for safe travels and look forward to next year.
(26) About 50 participants in an ACT’s Women’s Retreat are here
from Corydon, Indiana, for the next few days.
(27) Today was the feast day of Father Prior Kurt. Following our
custom, he was Office Heb for Vigils/Lauds and Vespers, and we
had colloquium at the evening meal in his
honor. +++ We continued that celebration by starting a
new one. After supper we moved into our calefactory for ice cream
novelties and a “goodbye” to the five young men who have been with
us the past two months. These Benedictine Scholars, as we have
called their program, are college-age men who have spent the last
eight weeks participating in our liturgies, meals and recreations,
working part-time each day with one of our monks or co-workers, and
taking a course for college credit. This is the first year we
sponsored this program and it proved a success—for them and for us.
We hope to see some of these men in the future, and our Director of
Vocations, Br. John Mark, is already making plans for next summer’s
(28) About 50 participants from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis
are making a “Young Adult Retreat” here this weekend.
+++ And we welcome 16 permanent deacons from the Archdiocese
of Louisville and their wives, also with us for a weekend
(29) Today was the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, but it was
definitely not an ordinary time on the Hill. We celebrated jubilees
today—many of them! Our jubilarians were Father Richard Hindel
(65th of ordination), Fathers Sebastian, Aelred,
and Aurelius, and Brothers Philip and Maurus
(60th of monastic profession), and a rare
“double-jubilarian,” Father Gavin, who celebrated his
65th anniversary of profession and his
60th of priesthood. Archabbot Justin presided and
preached at our Eucharist, and a fine meal and afternoon reception
followed. We thank our jubilarians for their faithful prayer, work
and witness, and wish them ad multos annos!
(30) Back to “ordinary time,” and Father Meinrad began his week
as our Mass Heb. +++ The Diocese of Covington began
their seminarian retreat this evening; their 28 seminarians and
retreat leaders, and Bishop Roger Foys, will be with us through
(31) Father Paul returned from Rome and the Biblicum a few days
ago for a two-month “summer stay.” It’s good to have him back. And
we now welcome his classmate, a monk and priest from Lebanon, Fr.
Toni Eid, OLM (Lebanese Marionite Order), who will be staying with
us for a few days. Fr. Toni is also studying at the Biblicum and,
in addition to English, speaks French, Italian, Arabic and
German. This is his first visit to the United States.
As we conclude this month’s report, we congratulate Romain
Botta, OSB, who was ordained priest for the Monastere de l
‘Incarnation in Togo, West Africa. Fr. Romain had been studying
with us at Saint Meinrad these past years, and so he now begins
ministry in his homeland. His confrere, Br. Philippe Tchalou, OSB,
will be returning to the Hill in the fall to continue his studies
and formation for priesthood. Our Father Cyprian and Father Harry
represented us at the ordination and will be sharing their
experiences with us in the near future.
Father Romain was the last of the 20 members of our class of
2012 to be ordained. However: my mistake, I neglected
to include in our listing the ordination of Dustin Collins to the
priesthood on June 2. Father Dustin is well into his priestly
ministry for the Diocese of Knoxville.
Congratulations to Fathers Dustin and Romain—and to their
classmates, our new priests of 2012!
And now, from St. Benedict’s Rule…
In his teaching, the abbot ought
always stay close to the apostolic pattern: “Correct, entreat,
reproach.” That is to say, he should vary his approach according to
the situation, mixing threats and enticements, now showing the
sternness of a taskmaster, and now the tender affection of a
father…. Let him tailor his approach to meet each one’s character
and understanding; he will thereby suffer no loss of the sheep
entrusted to him, but even enjoy the increase of a good flock.
Chapter 2, “The Qualifications of an Abbot,” v. 23-24, 32
Translation by Fr. Terence Kardong, OSB, monk of Assumption