Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

February 2014

(1) We began the new month by having 47 participants from our local St. Meinrad Parish join us for a retreat in preparation for their Confirmation. +++ This morning after Mass, Brother Jacob left for Gethsemane Abbey in Kentucky, where he will begin a probationary period in view of an eventual transfer of stability to the Trappist community.

(2) This Sunday is the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord, an O.P.-ranked feast. Father Prior Kurt presided at our Eucharist, which began with the blessing of candles and then a procession with them through the church. We kept the candles burning through the Liturgy of the Word. Father Harry, who is Mass Heb, preached. We had many guests with us-21 guests from the Catholic Community of North Spencer County were making a Confirmation Retreat, and Father Harry was giving a retreat to 30 men participating in the St. Xavier Alumni Men's Reunion Retreat, so the sight and light of those many candles made for a beautiful beginning of our prayer.

(3) On this feast of St. Blaise, Fathers Abbot Justin, Prior Kurt and Subprior Guerric offered the traditional blessing of throats after Vigils/Lauds.  +++  We welcome two more groups: 7 members of the staff of Christ the King Parish in Nashville, Tennessee, here for a three-day retreat, and 12 faculty members of Presbyterian Theological Seminary, making a retreat today and tomorrow. 

(4) We'd been dreading a major winter storm for quite some time this winter season. So far, the predictions were always worse than the reality. This afternoon, however, the "wintry mix" began around one o'clock and continued for some hours. Many of our off-the-hill co-workers understandably headed home a bit early.

(5) Our bitter cold continues, and in this we're not much different than large parts of the nation. Our Physical Facilities crew did a marvelous job clearing the roads on the hill-some were up and at it at 4 a.m.

(6) No new snow (we don't have nearly the amounts some folks out east and further north have, but we have enough for us!), but it's still bitterly cold. Not too many people wander outside, though it is pretty to look at-from the inside.

(7) Cold, windy conditions continue. Our Physical Facilities Department reports that they are close to exhausting their supply of "snow melt." As reported earlier, they have been giving yeoman's service in clearing so many of our roads and paths.

(8) It snowed a bit more, lightly, this morning. That and the continuing icy conditions warranted a change in our plans to enjoy a "monk-lunch" at The UnStable. Pizzas were made-15 in all, courtesy of Fathers Prior Kurt and Patrick and Brother James-but they were trucked up to the refectory for the monks to enjoy, rather than having the 30 or so monks who had signed up risk bones and backs trying to navigate the slick footpaths. "Still good," the cooks were assured!

(9) Father Pius is our Mass Heb but, as he was in a parish for a Saint Meinrad Sunday, Father Joseph took his place presiding and preaching on this Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  +++  Our seminary's St. John Formation House joined us for Vespers and supper, the first of the visits by our seminary this year. Another one toward the end of the month.

(10) Today is the feast of St. Scholastica, St. Benedict's twin sister. Father Prior Kurt presided and preached at the Conventual Mass. We remembered in prayer today all Benedictine sisters, especially those of Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand. And, we enjoyed colloquium and special desserts at our evening meal.

(11) Another chillingly cold day. After having had a substitute for him presiding at our Sunday Eucharist and having Father Prior Kurt preside at yesterday's O.P. feast, Father Pius finally took the reins of Mass Heb duties this morning.

(12) About 50 priests from our neighboring diocese of Evansville arrived today; they'll be here through tomorrow morning, participating in a "Priests' Prayer Day." 

(13) We've been having some work done on our house. Right now, one of our two elevators is down (literally!) and so we're waiting for parts to arrive. They'll come tomorrow, we pray, for there are several confreres who must rely upon the elevators to travel from their cells to the church, refectory, calefactory and other common rooms. Also this morning, a company was here to reinsulate the under-roof above-ceiling area of much of our first floor. This should keep us a bit warmer now, as well as helping maintain a cooler temperature in the summer months.

(14) Yesterday evening, during the celebration of the Eucharist in the St. Thomas Aquinas (seminary) Chapel, Indianapolis Auxiliary Bishop Christopher Coyne installed 20 of our seminarians into the ministry of acolyte and 30 as lectors. Congratulations to these men!  +++  Ten Ursuline sisters from Louisville arrived this evening to begin a weekend retreat. 

(15) We welcomed 20 guests from St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Indianapolis: students from Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI), making a two-day retreat.

(16) Father Meinrad is our Mass Heb on this Sixth Sunday (and week) in Ordinary Time. 

(17) Two of our monks, Father Gregory and Father Louis Mulcahy, are in area hospitals-hopefully for a short stay. We look forward to their return, and keep them-and all our ill and aging confreres-in our prayers. 

(18) We welcome 42 students and staff from Our Lady of Providence High School in Clarksville, Indiana, who are making a three-day retreat on the hill. 

(19) The weather has been pleasant lately! It's been in the low to mid-50s yesterday and today, so most of the snow has reverted to its liquid state. No complaints there, as there still continue to be slips and falls on a fairly regular basis.

(20) Nothing much to report, other than the continuing cold.

(21) Sixty-plus students have arrived to continue their work in our lay degree programs. They'll be taking one of the following courses: "Catholic Sacraments," taught by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, OFM; "Christian Ethics," by Fr. Mark, OSB; "Prophets and Poetry," by Fr. Harry, OSB; "Early Church History," by Dr. Kimberly Baker, and "American Catholic Identity," by Fr. Brendan, OSB.

(22) These past few days we've been having work done on our sound system in the Archabbey Church. That work will continue during the coming week, and we're looking forward to a new system that hopefully will address the problems of our present arrangement.

. . . . .

(28) Your chronicler has been away from the hill this past week, attending (and presenting at) a conference sponsored by the National Organization for the Continuing Education of Roman Catholic Clergy (NOCERCC). Back now and, as we close out this shortest month of the year, we pray especially for our two confreres who remain in the hospital, Fr. Gregory and Fr. Louis Mulcahy. We are expecting their release and return to the abbey soon.

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.