(1) Today was the day of the great "internet outage," the reason
why the posting of September's "About the House" was a few days
late. Our IT crew worked throughout the night to fix things. A day
without email and Internet: frustrating from one perspective,
peaceful from another!
(2) Thanks to the perseverance and professionalism of our IT
team (and a good deal of patience from their Hill-full of clients),
email was restored this morning and by mid-afternoon the entire
system was back up and running. Most of us are relieved, but there
are also those who now complain they have no more good excuses as
to why a project didn't get done! +++ Father Jeremy,
our Mass Heb, preached at the Conventual Mass this morning.
+++ The 22nd annual John S. and Virginia Marten
Lecture in Homiletics was presented this evening, one of the first
major events to be held in the newly renovated St. Bede Hall
(which, along with Newman Hall, will be blessed and dedicated this
Saturday). Our speaker was Dr. Lucy Lind Hogan, the Hugh Latimer
Elderdice Professor of Preaching and Worship at Wesley Theological
Seminary. Her talk was titled, "To Teach, Delight, and Move:
Preaching and Rhetoric in a New Age of Evangelism."
(3) Father Vincent is offering the midweek retreat, "To Pray as
Jesus Prayed: The Psalms in Prayer and Worship," to about two dozen
participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center.
(4) After Midday Prayer today, we invested Kevin Hurst of
Columbus, Indiana, as an oblate novice. Congratulations to him, and
prayers for all our oblates.
(5) The Board of Overseers are here for their fall meeting.
Reports from our school and its various departments are splendid
for the present, most encouraging for the future! We're most
grateful for the work of our Overseers. These three dozen men and
women support us--and inspire us--in so many ways. They are always
quick to say they love returning to the hill, even for a few hours.
Likewise, we know we are blessed by their presence.
(6) After three-plus years of planning, revision and hard work,
the renovation of Newman and St. Bede halls was celebrated in fine
style today. Father Abbot Justin presided at a 9:30 a.m. Mass (and
Father Denis, president-rector of the Seminary and School of
Theology preached), after which the monastic community,
seminarians, members of our Board of Overseers and special
guests--about 350 people in all--processed to the "canyon area"
between Bede and Newman. There the blueprints and the ceremonial
key to the buildings were presented to Abbot Justin by Pat Clark,
our director of physical facilities, and representatives of the
primary contractors. After Abbot Justin blessed the water and then
sprinkled the assembly and the main doors of each hall, a dozen
teams, consisting of faculty and staff, co-workers, students and
Overseers, went to their assigned rooms in the buildings to bless
them with water and hang a crucifix on the wall. The weather
certainly cooperated: it had rained quite a bit the night before,
but throughout the morning the skies were clear and the temperature
was brisk but not uncomfortable. The ceremony concluded at 11
o'clock, and all adjourned to the Newman and Anselm dining rooms
for a buffet luncheon. This was a most special day for all of us
here at Saint Meinrad, one of those special days that bring
together the values of "tradition and momentum." In repairing and
restoring buildings that have served us so well and for so long in
the past, we have done what we can to assure that we will continue
to serve God and the Church in the days and years to come. We give
thanks to those who have made this renovation possible: our many
benefactors, friends, co-workers and monks. And, always, we
remember that, as the psalmist says, "If the Lord does not build
the house, in vain do its builders labor." +++ In the
midst of all this activity, Father Meinrad, our director of
oblates, invested Cathy Moriarty of Columbus, Indiana, as an oblate
novice, in a simple and quiet-yet graceful-ceremony in the
Archabbey Church following Midday Prayer. May Cathy, and all who
associate themselves with the people and the place of Saint
Meinrad, know God's guidance and blessings in all they do!
(7) Father Julian was our presider this morning on this
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, taking the place of Father
Brendan, who is in a parish offering a "Saint Meinrad Sunday." He
was assisted by one of our seminarians, Deacon Todd Nance, of the
Diocese of Tulsa. Deacon Todd joined us in the monastic refectory
for lunch after Midday Prayer. +++ This first Sunday in
October is the first of four Monte Cassino Sundays. We had clear,
crisp weather for the procession and rosary this afternoon, and
Father Meinrad preached on "Our Lady of the Table: Mary and
the Eucharist." +++ Shortly before Midday Prayer,
Brother Zachary concluded the weekend retreat at our Guest House
and Retreat Center he was offering to two dozen participants, "Be
Angry But Do Not Sin."
(8) Father Brendan assumed his duties as Mass Heb, including the
preaching of a homily on today's Gospel, the parable of the Good
Samaritan. +++ After supper this evening, Father Abbot
spoke to the community, offering a description of and some
reflections on his recent trip to Rome for the Abbot's
(9) Our Alumni Board concluded a meeting here on the Hill
yesterday. We're grateful for their work in continuing to elicit
support from--and offer support to--our alumni throughout the
country and, in fact, the world!
(10) We welcomed two Benedictines from other monasteries this
evening. Brother Christopher Start, from St. Benedict's Abbey,
Atchison, Kansas, and Brother Bernard Denson, from St.
Bernard's Abbey, Cullman, Alabama, are here for a few days,
considering Saint Meinrad as a possible seminary for their priestly
formation and education.
(11) About 80 priests and personnel from the nearby Diocese of
Covington concluded their several-day annual convocation here on
the hill. We ask God's blessings on them and their bishop, the Most
Reverend Roger J. Foys.
(12) We're expecting about 50 students for another round of
weekend courses in our lay degree offerings. Courses this time
around are "Eucharist," taught by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, OFM;
"Christian Ethics," taught by Fr. Mark O'Keefe, OSB; "Listening in
Pastoral Ministry," by Dr. Tom Robbins; and "American Catholic
Identity: Catechetical Perspectives," by Dr. Thomas Walters.
(13) We joined the women's Benedictine community at Monastery
Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand today in sponsoring a
Benedictine Hills Youth Pilgrimage. The afternoon march began at 1
o'clock at Monastery Immaculate Conception and proceeded along the
six-mile route to Saint Meinrad Archabbey. The group stopped at the
Shrine of Monte Cassino for prayer and a bit of rest. The pilgrims
then entered in procession the Archabbey Church for Vespers,
followed by the sisters and the monastic community. The pilgrims
filled our guest section, and 13 sisters from Monastery Immaculate
Conception joined us in choir. After Vespers all enjoyed a cookout
in the seminary's Holly Tree Courtyard. Crisp, brisk weather for a
pilgrimage, and the four dozen or so youth (as well as the monks
and sisters) obviously enjoyed their spiritual and physical
(14) Father Vincent is our Mass Heb on this 28th
Sunday in Ordinary Time. +++ Father Adrian preached at
Monte Cassino, following the traditional procession and rosary. His
topic was "Vatican II, Mary, and the Church." +++ A
windstorm early this afternoon didn't bring any rain, but did split
a huge branch off one of the trees in our inner courtyard. Many of
us had a good view of the event, as we were in the refectory
enjoying our midday meal when this happened.
(15) Every four years, every monastery in our Swiss-American
Congregation has a visitation-a two-to-four day "review" conducted
by an abbot and one or two monks from other monasteries in the
Congregation. Last evening our visitation was formally begun by
Abbot Gregory Polan of Conception Abbey, Missouri; Fr. Joel
Rippinger of Marmion Abbey, Illinois; and Fr. Matthew Clark of St.
Joseph Abbey, Louisiana. The visitators previously received
the pre-visitation report compiled by six different committees of
Saint Meinrad monks, and this week will meet for personal
interviews with each of our monks. The visitation concludes
Thursday evening, as the visitators present an oral report to the
community on their findings of their review of our report and their
(16) The second full day of our monastic visitation, and our
three visitators are busy indeed. We have 65 resident monks at the
moment, and each of them--in addition to a half-dozen or so of our
confreres working in parishes--will spend at least a quarter-hour
sharing with a visitator his assessment of "how things are" with
the prayer and work of Saint Meinrad Archabbey.
(17) Visitation appointments continue, as do regular meetings of
our faculty, school administrators and co-workers. As is the case
on most Wednesdays during the school year, many of our seminarians
are off the Hill during the day, working at various hospitals,
parishes and service organizations.
(18) Pope Benedict XVI announced this morning that the
Archdiocese of Indianapolis has a new archbishop! The Most Reverend
Joseph William Tobin, who was the secretary of the Congregation for
Institutes of Consecrated Life, will be installed as the sixth
archbishop of Indianapolis on December 3, the feast of St. Francis
Xavier, one of the co-patronal saints of the archdiocese. Before
his work as secretary of the Congregation, Archbishop Tobin, a
Redemptorist, served as head of his order from 1997 through 2009.
Archbishop Tobin's predecessor, our confrere Archbishop Daniel, was
able to travel to Indianapolis for the official announcement this
morning, and he himself received long and loud applause at the news
conference. Father Denis, president-rector of our Seminary and
School of Theology, also attended.
(19) Our monastic visitators left this morning, having given the
Recessus--the report of their findings and
observations--to the monastic community last evening. Archabbot
Justin is required by our Congregation's statutes to respond
formally to the report within three months, and so over the next
few weeks his Council and the community will be reviewing and
discussing the report with our verbal and practical responses in
mind. Bottom line at this point: we are in a good place, have a
strong community, and are capable of and committed to continued
growth and improvement.
(20) We said farewell to 38 students from Seton Elementary
School in Richmond, Indiana, who made a two-day retreat with
(21) Father Mark is our Mass Heb on this 29th Sunday
(and week) in Ordinary Time, and so presided and preached at our
Conventual Mass this morning. +++ Brother Francis gave
the homily at the Monte Cassino Shrine this afternoon; his topic
was, "Mary, our Partner in Prayer."
(22) After Compline this evening, Mr. Matt Eckert, our business
manager, and Mr. Greg Tate, the general manager of our Abbey Press,
gave about an hour-long presentation of our financial status and
the projections and plans of our Abbey Press. Both men are
relatively new in their positions. Greg assumed leadership of the
Abbey Press this past July 1, and Matt began his new work in our
Business Office on August 31. "Not a beat was missed," as they say,
and both presentations were thorough and optimistic.
(23) We have many guests and retreatants on the Hill this week.
One of those groups includes 53 priests and personnel from the
Diocese of Lexington, here through the 26th for their
presbyteral assembly. Welcome to them and their bishop, the Most
Rev. Ronald Gainer.
(24) Another group on the hill this week are the 38 priests
enjoying Father Eugene's retreat, "The Biblical Prophets: What They
have to Say to Priests Today."
(25) We also have a half-dozen recently ordained priests
participating in an Institute of Priests and Presbyterates
workshop, "Gearing Up to be a Pastor." Among the participants are
three alumni, Fr. Dustin Boehm of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis,
class of 2011; and Fathers Anto Peterraj and Jegan Peter of our
class of 2009, from the Diocese of Palayamkottai in India, now "on
loan" to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for several years.
(26) As several retreats come to an end today, another begins.
This evening Brother Maurus begins offering the weekend retreat,
"St. Benedict's Way," to two dozen participants at our Guest House
and Retreat Center
(27) Today begins a very busy weekend on the hill for the Office
of Group Accommodations and our housekeepers. Seven guests from St.
Leo Catholic Church in Murray, Kentucky, are with us; six guests
from Signature HealthCARE of Buckhead, from Louisville, are taking
part in a "Spiritual Practices Retreat"; 32 women from St. Barnabas
Parish in Indianapolis are making a retreat; and there are 25
guests from Nativity Catholic Church in Evansville attending a
retreat given by Father Noël. This small sampling gives some idea
of the diversity of groups we welcome to the Hill. And God bless
(28) Father Meinrad is our Mass Heb on this 30th
Sunday (and week) in Ordinary Time. He was assisted at our
Conventual Mass this morning by Deacon Alan Carter, a seminarian
studying for the Diocese of Lexington. +++ The
Archabbey Church was full, another group joined us; 50 students and
staff from Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis will be with
us through tomorrow. +++ This afternoon we had the last
procession and rosary of the season at Monte Cassino. Father
Vincent gave the homily, titled "Mary, the New Eve."
+++ Finally, this evening the 27 seminarians from the St.
John's Formation House of our seminary joined us for Vespers, and
then supper in our refectory. Brother Peduru, who belongs to the
"house," gave his classmates tours of the non-cloistered parts of
the monastery thereafter.
(29) After Compline this evening, we adjourned to the Chapter
Room, where Father Abbot Justin offered his reflections on the
recent visitation of our monastery.
(30) Our confrere, Archbishop Daniel, is enjoying a three-day
visit with his support and prayer group. We welcome Archbishop John
Vlazny (Portland, OR), Archbishop James Keleher (emeritus, Kansas
City, Kansas), Archbishop Daniel Ryan (bishop emeritus,
Springfield-in-IL), Bishop Robert Banks (bishop emeritus of Green
Bay), and Bishop William Higi (bishop emeritus of
Lafayette-in-Indiana). The bishops will be here through
tomorrow. +++ Our junior monks and novices hosted a
pumpkin-carving party in the calefactory after Compline this
(31) On this eve of All Saints, we resumed at First Vespers the
practice of wearing our cucullas for Vespers, Vigils-Lauds and
Mass. Father Abbot presided at the First Vespers of this
solemnity. +++ Less liturgical and with a definite nod
to the secular, our juniors and novices hosted a Halloween party in
the calefactory after Compline. The freshly carved pumpkins from
last night presented themselves, their grins and grimaces now
glowing from the candles placed therein. Cheeses, crackers, pumpkin
and apple pies, and roasted pumpkin seeds supplied nourishment,
while conversation and a most esoteric "monastic quiz" provided
entertainment. All figures, shadowy and substantial, were safely
inside and, most likely, asleep long before midnight!
On this eve of the Solemnity of All Saints, we remember in
prayer those who have gone before us, especially our parents,
confreres, friends--and all who for us make up the heavenly cloud
of witnesses to whom we owe much and for whom we are grateful.
And now, from St. Benedict's Rule. . .
For obedience given to superiors is given to God, who said:
"Whoever listens to you, listens to me." And it should be given
gladly by disciples, for "God loves a cheerful giver." If a
disciple obeys grudgingly and murmurs not only out loud but
internally, even if he carries out the order, it will not be
acceptable to God.
Chapter 5, vv. 15-18, "Obedience"
Translation by Fr. Terence Kardong, OSB, monk of Assumption