Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

June 2014

First Week of June          

Father Tobias was our Mass Heb this Seventh Week of Easter. The week began, however, with the Solemnity of the Ascension, an O.A.-ranked feast, and so Father Abbot Justin presided and preached at the Conventual Mass. By coincidence, that Sunday was also Abbot Justin's feast day and so we had extra reason to celebrate.

Many guests on the hill this week! There were 100 priests and personnel from the Louisville Archdiocese, who had gathered for their annual presbyteral assembly. They were with us Monday through Thursday noon. The very next day about 70 deacons and personnel from Louisville arrived for their three-day retreat.

And, this was a Lay Degree Program weekend. Around 50 of our students spent time with one of the following: "Ethics and Natural Law," taught 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, OSB.

Second Week of June

Father Bede was our Mass Heb in this week of returning to Ordinary Time. Sunday, of course, was the Solemnity of Pentecost, and so Abbot Justin presided at the Conventual Mass. At his invitation, Father Bede preached. We have three young men present for our Benedictine Scholars program, which runs through July; in addition our interns for "One Bread, One Cup"have arrived.

We certainly welcome them-and try to make them feel a part of us by having them take some extra parts in our various liturgies. At our Eucharist and at Second Vespers on Pentecost, we drafted several scholars and interns to serve as cross and candle bearers, miter and crozier assistants, ….

Father Gregory Chamberlin died Tuesday morning around 4:30. Father Abbot was with him. Father Gregory had been in our infirmary since mid-January, suffering from pancreatic cancer. During his last weeks in our infirmary, Father Gregory experienced considerable discomfort and pain. Those visiting and caring for him experienced his admirable spirit-a spirit determined to approach death with gratitude for a full life and faithful friends, a spirit unmistakably reflecting his faith in the eternal life promised by Christ the Good Shepherd.

We received Father Gregory's body after Midday Prayer on Thursday, and prayed the Office of the Dead at seven that evening, with Father Prior Kurt presiding and Father Godfrey offering the remembrance. Father Abbot Justin presided and preached at the funeral Mass and burial Friday morning.

We were privileged to have Evansville Bishop Charles Thompson concelebrate (Father Gregory's last assignment was rector of St. Benedict's Cathedral, Evansville, an assignment he held for over 20 years), as well as over a dozen priests from the Indianapolis and Evansville dioceses.

Among the groups we welcomed at the close of the week were 50 members of Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tennessee. Their Joyful Noise Youth Choir enjoyed a weekend retreat on the hill.

Third Week of June     

Father Guy was our Mass Heb this week, although his duties did not begin until Monday. Sunday was Trinity Sunday, a solemnity ranked as an O.P. Father Prior Kurt invited Abbot Lambert to preside and preach for the occasion.

Father Damian Schmelz began this week at Jasper Hospital, being evaluated for some heart-related issues. In fact he did undergo a heart catheterization on Tuesday. The procedure went well and he is feeling better-and more energized.

Upon his release from the hospital Wednesday morning, he moved into our infirmary for a few days-as a precaution and to assure a bit of extra rest. He did return to his parish at St. Henry each day to take care of paperwork and the like. Several confreres covered the parish during the two weekends he was away.

About 50 of our lay degree students were on the hill Friday through Sunday, completing another segment of their weekend courses.

Fourth Week of June

The week began with the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, an O.P.-ranked feast. Father Prior Kurt presided at the Conventual Eucharist and Father Christian preached. Joining us for the Sunday Eucharist were many of our lay degree students and the "One Bread One Cup" interns, eager to begin another session.

We celebrated another solemnity on Tuesday, the Birth of St. John the Baptist. This is also an O.P.-ranked feast; Father Prior Kurt presided and preached.

Thursday morning Father Abbot Justin left for the meeting of the General Chapter at Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside, California. The General Chapter, held usually every three years, brings the abbots and elected delegates from each monastery together to discuss spiritual, financial and practical concerns related to the Swiss-American Congregation.

Abbot Justin will be returning to Saint Meinrad Monday evening, June 30. Prior Kurt was the elected delegate to attend the meeting with him. He had his bags packed, but a tooth abscess (and subsequent root canal) kept him here on the hill for the duration. It would have been a bit of a nightmare to have an abscess flare up on a cross-country flight!

Among our guests this week were about a hundred priests and personnel from the Indianapolis Archdiocese, taking part in their presbyteral assembly. We welcome our brothers from the See City!

And yet another solemnity on Friday, the Sacred Heart. Father Subprior Guerric presided and preached at the Conventual Mass.

On Sunday, June 29, we celebrated the seventh and last solemnity of the month, that of the Saints Peter and Paul. An O.A.-ranked feast, Father Subprior stepped in to preside in the abbot's absence; Father Meinrad delivered the homily. And Sunday evening we welcomed the Most Rev. Paul Etienne, Bishop of Cheyenne, who will be staying with us for a few days of prayer and recollection.

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.