Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

April 2014

First Week of April         

Father Colman was our Mass Heb for today, Laetare Sunday, and for this Fourth Week of Lent. On Wednesday we concluded our series of "Lenten Lectio Groups" for this season, reflecting on the coming Sunday's Gospel, the raising of Lazarus from the dead.

This first weekend in April brought another round of classes for many of our lay degree students pursuing their master's degree in theology or pastoral theology. Classes and professors involved were "Ethics and Natural Law" by Dr. Christopher Lutz, "The Apostolic Fathers" by Dr. Clayton Jefford, "Pastoral Care and Counseling" by Dr. Ryan LaMothe, and "Prayer and Community" by Brother Zachary.       

Second Week of April          

Father Jeremy was our Mass Heb for this Fifth Sunday (and week) of Lent. Monday evening we had our Lenten Penance Service. Father John, formerly of Blue Cloud Abbey and so one of our "newer" monks, presided and preached on 1 Corinthians 13. Among the confessors-and serving as the traditional "extraordinary confessor"-was Fr. Peter Marshall, the Director of Spiritual Formation in our seminary.

Holy Week      

Father Abbot Justin presided at our Palm Sunday liturgy. We began on the steps of the Memorial Lobby with the blessing of the palms. Fathers Tobias, Jeremy and Barnabas were among our fine cantors who sung the Passion According to Saint Matthew. Some two dozen retreatants (concluding their retreat this Palm Sunday under the direction of Father Mark) joined us for the liturgy, as well as a dozen or so seminarians, spending the morning or afternoon on the hill before heading to their dioceses for the Holy Week-Easter break.

On Tuesday, Father Abbot Justin, Brother Kim (the custos of the Archabbey Church), and Novice Dane left after our 7:30 a.m. Conventual Mass for Indianapolis-to attend the afternoon Chrism Mass in the cathedral and to return to Saint Meinrad that evening with our stock of the newly consecrated oils.

At Vespers Wednesday evening, we celebrated the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. Father Abbot anointed 14 of our confreres in the Archabbey Church. He and Father Prior Kurt then went to the infirmary, where he anointed seven of our confreres who had to remain in their cells.

Our Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday began at five o'clock. Father Harry sang the Gospel, after which Father Abbot Justin preached and then washed the feet of twelve men and women. Shortly after the liturgy, we enjoyed a fine meal with our guests in the Newman Dining Room. Following our custom, the superiors of the house-Abbot Justin, Prior Kurt and Subprior Guerric-were among those waiting tables that evening.

Our Good Friday liturgy began at three o'clock. Following the solemn prostration, we began the Liturgy of the Word. Fathers Jeremy and Tobias and Brother John Mark masterfully chanted the Passion According to Saint John. The veneration of the Cross (the cross is another example of Brother Martin's expert design; we inaugurated its use on Good Friday last year) and the rite of Communion followed. About three-quarters of an hour after the liturgy concluded, we gathered in the Chapter Room for our "Chapter of Faults."

We set aside table reading on Holy Saturday and at both the midday and evening meal listened to a CD of Holy Week music performed by our brother monks at our mother abbey, Einsiedeln in Switzerland. We began the Easter Vigil at eight-thirty, about twenty minutes into the evening's darkness, with a fire on the plaza at the foot of the Archabbey Church steps. Our liturgy concluded just before 11:30. Many monks then gathered in the refectory for a while for light refreshments, while others headed straight to their cells and a good night's sleep. It wasn't too brief; Lauds didn't begin until eight-thirty-very late for us!

Easter Week

Easter Monday is an O.P.-ranked feast, and so Father Prior Kurt presided and preached at the Eucharist. We continued to enjoy colloquium at our main meal of the day-midday today, since we followed our Sunday schedule. Easter Tuesday is one of only two O.S.-ranked feasts in our calendar; Father Subprior Guerric presided and preached.

Shortly after lunch he and our socius, Brother John Mark, drove with Novice Dane drove to Gethsemani Abbey near Bardstown, Kentucky. This "visit by a novice" has been a custom of our house for many years now, and we have yet to experience a novice lured away from our house by the ethos and practice of our Cistercian brothers! Novice Dane-and the subprior and socius-returned on Thursday! Father Adrian, our assigned Mass Hebdomadarian, presided at our Eucharist the rest of the week and preached on Easter Friday.

On Saturday, our Brother Luke Waugh and Brother Philippe Tchalou (from the Monastery of the Incarnation in Togo, Africa) were ordained to the diaconate, along with five of their seminary classmates. A number of their other classmates have recently been ordained deacons-or will be in the very near future.

Last Week of April

The last week of April has been a quiet one, as many of our students put some extra energy into finishing papers and projects and beginning to prepare for final exams. Graduation Day is May 10, so the "end is in sight."

Father Eugene was our Mass Hebdomadarian, and Brother Luke, ordained deacon the day before, assisted at the Sunday Conventual Mass.

We'll be celebrating the 25th, 50th, 60th, and 70th priesthood anniversaries of several of our confreres on the last Sunday of May. As April turned into May, we celebrated on Saturday the actual dates of ordination of Father Benedict Meyer (1954) and the Most Rev. Daniel Buechlein (1964). Congratulations to these two confreres, and ad multos annos!

Saturday was "monk-lunch" day at The UnStable. Fathers Prior Kurt and Patrick and Brother James made 15 pizzas for about 30 hungry monks. Two large-a cheese and a pepperoni-were sent up to the infirmary for our ill and aging confreres to enjoy.

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.