Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

June 2013

(1) My thanks to Brother Francis for his most able editorship and interesting postings for the month of May! I'm resuming my editorship this month, all the while looking for a "long-term" replacement, for I'll be away from Saint Meinrad-on sabbatical-from July through the first part of November.  +++  Today was the patronal feast day of Archabbot Justin. He presided at our Conventual Mass in a low-key manner, with no miter or crozier. We enjoyed colloquium in his honor at our evening meal, at which Father Prior Kurt, speaking on behalf of the community, extended to Father Abbot our best wishes and "ad multos annos."

(2) We celebrate the solemnity of Corpus Christi as an O.P., and so Father Prior Kurt presided and preached at the Conventual Eucharist.  +++  This was an extra special day for St. Mary's Parish in Huntingburg. The outgoing pastor, Father Godfrey, had organized an occasion for the parish to acknowledge and celebrate the many years the monks of Saint Meinrad have been privileged to serve as the community's pastors. (The Evansville Diocese will take over the pastoral care of St. Mary's in June, when Father Godfrey becomes the rector of Evansville's St. Benedict Cathedral. Father Gregory will remain at St. Benedict as pastor/rector emeritus.) Abbot Bonaventure, Abbot Justin, and former St. Mary's pastors Father Meinrad and Father Pius were among the concelebrants at St. Mary's principal Mass this morning.

(3) The mundane and the mechanical are no strangers to life in the monastery. Work continues on the plumbing in our refectory, and we awoke this morning to discover that one of the two elevators in the monastery is out of order. This adds a bit of a challenge to those monks serving as lunch attendant and table waiters this week, since the broken elevator is the more convenient one for transporting food from the main kitchen to our refectory and back again.  +++  Brother Hugh returned to the hill, having had successful abdominal surgery in Jasper about a week ago. He'll be residing in one of the infirmary cells for the time being.

(4) Brother Maurus returned from the IU Cancer Center in Indianapolis today. He is happy to be back, of course, and is now tending to the business of answering the many calls and cards he received during his 10-day hospitalization. He is improving, but still has a ways to go for complete recovery. We keep him, and all our ill and aging confreres, in prayer!

(5) Today was the actual day of ordination to the priesthood of Abbot Bonaventure-70 years ago! We had colloquium in his honor at our evening meal, and enjoyed some fine wines supplied for the occasion by his nephew. Ad multos annos, Abbot Bonaventure!  +++  Today was also the 30th day since the death of Brother Terence. Following our custom, the Conventual Mass this morning was offered for the repose of his soul.

(6) Father Meinrad has been our presider at the Conventual Mass since Monday. While tending well to that ministry, he's putting the finishing touches on the plans for the upcoming Oblate Study Days, which begin this coming Monday, the 10th.

(7) The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an O.P.-ranked feast, and so Father Prior Kurt presided at the Conventual Mass. Father Meinrad, our Mass Heb, preached.  +++  Seventy-three guests from Bartlett United Methodist Church in Bartlett, Tennessee, concluded their two-day youth retreat here on the hill. 

(8) We said goodbye to one large group yesterday, but the hill is far from empty. Yesterday 70 members of the Archdiocese of Louisville arrived for the Diaconate Community Retreat, which will run through tomorrow. And tomorrow, in addition to our guests of The Einsiedeln Society, 20 boys and girls from St. Patrick Catholic Church  in Kokomo, Indiana, will begin a two-day youth retreat. Finally (!), we have 57 of our lay degree students here today and tomorrow, taking one of the following weekend courses:  "Creed in History and Theology" by Dr. Richard Collins; "Book of Genesis" by Fr. Damian Dietlein, OSB; "Servant Leadership for Ministry" by Ms. Chris Urbanowski; "Ministry to Families" by Dr. Ryan LaMothe; "Adult Religious Education" by Dr. Thomas Walters; and "Benedictine Spirituality" by Fr. Brendan Moss, OSB. We pray that all our guests and visitors-those studying, those retreating, those relaxing-may find their time with us grace-ful and profitable.

(9) Father Tobias is our Mass Heb for this Tenth Sunday (and week) of Ordinary Time.  +++  About 86 guests of our Einsiedeln Society joined us for Vespers, a social and supper this evening. Father Tobias served as MC for the evening; Father Abbot Justin offered the prayer before the meal and Father Denis spoke after the dinner, reflecting on his first term as president-rector, and sharing his vision for his current term. The evening concluded with Father Abbot offering his blessing to these men and women who so generously support our prayer and work.

(10) A rather quiet day, although we did adjourn to the calefactory after supper this Monday evening for our weekly "special desserts."

(11) Another chapter in our history concluded this morning, as Marty Gym-known for its exercise facilities and, especially, The UnStable, located in its basement-was demolished. It is a strange feeling, indeed, to see the location of 40+ years of memories leveled in a few hours. Our crews will be sorting out the various piles of brick, wood, and steel over the next couple of weeks, before turning the territory over to our grounds crew. The first home of The UnStable is gone but, as you will soon read, The UnStable lives!

(12) There were several large tour groups on the hill this morning, crowds large enough that three of our confreres were simultaneously conducting tours-same time, different points of interest, of course-each to groups of 40+!

(13) Father Eugene is the presenter of the Oblate Study Days this year. He has been discussing "Encountering Jesus in the Gospel of Luke" with the 52 oblate participants. The Study Days began Monday morning and concluded at noon today.

(14) This evening Father Noël began offering the weekend retreat "Padre Pio: A Godly Man of Compassion" to 38 participants at our Guest House and Retreat Center.

(15) As noted a few days ago, The UnStable lives-version 2.0! On behalf of the monastic community, Father Abbot and several confreres hosted a luncheon at the new UnStable in Kleber Gym-formally called the St. Martin Center-for the workers from the various companies who worked on the renovations of St. Bede Hall, Newman Hall and the St. Martin Center itself. Our kitchen provided a full meal, but the popular place for our guests to gather seemed to be on the lower level of the building, where Father Prior Kurt, Father Patrick and Novice Bradley kept hot and fresh pizzas moving from the oven to the serving table. Archabbot Justin and Father Denis offered words of thanks to our workers, who certainly did themselves proud in our renovations. God's blessings upon them and their families!

(16) Father Denis is our Mass Heb on this 11th Sunday (and week) of Ordinary Time.

(17) The six-day "Retreat for Artists: The Image as a Window into the Spiritual - An Artist's Hands-on Workshop and Retreat" began this morning. The retreat is conducted by our Brother Martin and by his friend and companion artist, Br. Michael Moran, CP. Thirty-one participants are registered for the retreat.

(18) A number of monks proceeded to the Newman Dining Room after Compline this evening, to join staff and participants in the "One Bread, One Cup" program for a brief ice cream social. The participants couldn't linger, for the next item on their agenda was a "Mad Hat Dancing Contest." The monks supported-but wisely abstained from-this activity!

(19) Father Abbot Justin returned from several days of visiting friends of the abbey in the Dayton and Toledo, Ohio, areas. He was accompanied by Mike Ziemianski, our Vice President for Development.

(20) Dr. Francis Gootee of Jasper, Indiana, died this evening. Dr. Francis and his brother, Dr. Tom (who recently died), tirelessly served our monastic and school communities in the 1960s and into the 1970s. We pray for the repose of their souls, and in thanksgiving for their service.

(21) Staff and participants of the first session of this summer's "One Bread, One Cup" program depart from the hill this morning. By all indications, the week was busy, productive and enjoyable.

(22) Another round of weekend courses for 52 of our lay degree students began this morning. Courses and instructors include "Modern Philosophy" by Dr. Christopher Lutz, "Pauline and Johannine Literature" by Dr. Clayton Jefford, "Icon East and West" by Sr. Jeana Visel, OSB, and "Adolescence Spirituality" by Father Brendan.

(23) Father Adrian is our Mass Heb on this 12th Sunday (and week) of Ordinary Time. Brother Hugh is our Office Heb, although he'll turn the heb's chair over to Father Prior Kurt this evening, since we'll be celebrating First Vespers of the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist.

(24) The Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist is ranked as an O.P. feast, and so Father Prior Kurt presided and preached. We followed a weekday schedule, but we did enjoy colloquium at our evening meal. And there were our customary "special Monday evening" desserts-blackberry pie, this time around!

(25) Our interns and staff are preparing for another round of "One Bread, One Cup." We're expecting over 90 participants for this second session.

(26) Lots of youthful energy on the hill today, as the second session of OBOC began.

(27) A number of the monks joined the "One Bread, One Cup" staff and participants for an ice cream social in the Newman Dining Room this evening after Compline.

(28) We prayed First Vespers of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul this evening, with Abbot Justin presiding.  +++  After the monastic community prayed Compline, the staff and participants of "One Bread, One Cup" took part in a Penance Service, with many of the monk-priests serving as confessors.

(29) The Solemnity of Saints is an O.A.-ranked feast, and so Abbot Justin presided and preached. We continued the celebration with colloquium at our evening meal. But our midday meal was special as well: 31 monks journeyed to the St. Martin Center (formerly Kleber Gym) to enjoy the first "monk-lunch" at the relocated UnStable. Seventeen pizzas were made-two to be delivered to the staff and residents of our infirmary-by Fathers Prior and Patrick and Brother Silas. New place, new ovens, same great taste!

(30) Father Germain is our Mass Heb on this 13th Sunday (and week) of Ordinary Time.

On this last day of the month, I prepare to hand "About the House" over to Father Mark, who will be taking my place as prior during my sabbatical. I'll continue with this journal through July 5th. My sabbatical begins the next day and goes through November 6. My agenda for those four months is to get caught up on some reading in my field of sacramental/liturgical theology, and to relax! Through the generosity of many, I'll be doing both in Florida for about six weeks and then in Germany for nine weeks. Keep me in your prayers!

We conclude with our monthly selection from the holy Rule, one certainly for me to heed these coming months:

"When brothers are sent on a journey, they should not miss praying at the proper hours. They should do so privately as they are able and not neglect to satisfy their measure of service."

Chapter 50, "The brothers who are at work far from the oratory or are 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.