Week of March 2
Father Julian was our principal presider at our Eucharistic
celebrations this week. On Sunday we had our annual "Eucharistic
Day": we exposed the Blessed Sacrament after Mass for adoration
until Vespers, which we concluded with Benediction. For some years
now, our practice has been to schedule this Eucharistic Day on the
Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday.
At the conclusion of Vespers on Shrove Tuesday, we sang the
"double alleluia," our last singing of that ancient word
until the Easter Vigil.
On Ash Wednesday, Abbot Justin presided at our Eucharist, during
which he blessed and distributed the ashes. During that Eucharist,
the monks handed in their Bona Opera-their plan as to how
they will "take on a little extra good work," or "set aside some
indulgence," during the holy forty days. In his Rule, St.
Benedict writes that "the life of a monk should be a continuous
Lent." Ever the realist, however, he realizes that few have the
strength for this, and so he urges his monks to make special
efforts to cultivate virtue and avoid vice at least during this
special season of penitence and prayer.
On Friday, Father Gregory was finally released from St. Mary's
Hospital, Evansville, where he had been since February 13. He's now
back in his infirmary room. He's delighted to be back home,
although he's not at all excited about the pureed diet he will be
on, as he says, "for the rest of my life." Still, his spirits are
Week of March 9
Father Patrick was our Mass and Office Heb during this first
full week of Lent. Father Abbot Justin departed for Gethsemani
Abbey after Sunday's midday meal, where he gave a week-long retreat
to the community there.
On Wednesday afternoon, we had the first of four "Lectio Group
Meetings" during this Lenten season. Each monk has signed up to be
in a group with five to eight confreres, who will meet to read and
reflect upon the coming Sunday's gospel.
All in all, it's been a pretty quiet week. The Friday
temperature topped out at 61, the highest it's been in quite some
time! Many of us enjoyed a program of organ, piano and choral music
Friday evening, presented by the Greenville, Illinois College
Choir. Finally, two of our seminarians were ordained deacons for
the Archdiocese of Louisville this Saturday the 15th.
Week of March 16
Father Sean was our Mass Heb for this Second Sunday (and week)
of Lent, although two solemnities "interrupted" the flow of the
Lenten season . . . .
On Wednesday, we celebrated the solemnity of St. Joseph, an
O.P.-ranked feast; Father Prior Kurt presided at the Conventual
Eucharist, and Brother Macario Martinez, a monk of Conception
Abbey, Missouri, this year completing his studies at our seminary,
assisted as deacon and preached.
On Friday, we celebrated the Solemnity of our patron, St.
Benedict. The Universal Church celebrates this feast on July 11,
but we (and others) have chosen this date for the major annual
celebration. It is the date of his passing, and is also an
important "historical marker" for us on the hill: March 21, 1854,
is the formal date of founding by our mother abbey, Einsiedeln, in
Switzerland; and on the same day, 100 years later, Saint Meinrad
Abbey was raised by Pope Pius XII to the status of an Archabbey. We
had two deacons assisting at our 9:30 a.m. Conventual Mass: once
again, Brother Macario; and Deacon Elijah Cho, from the Diocese of
Busan, South Korea.
Among the large groups visiting the hill this week: 39 high
school students from Our Lady of Providence, Clarksville, Indiana,
making a three day retreat; 32 young men and women from St. James
Catholic Church, Louisville, making a day of prayer; and 60 of our
oblates, making their annual retreat under the direction of Father
Vincent, who led a series of reflections on "Christ in the
Cloister: Shaped by Word and Sacrament."
Week of March 23
Over 60 of our lay degree students were here for the weekend,
continuing to work on their programs by taking one of the following
courses: "Catholic Sacraments," taught by Fr. Thomas Richstatter,
OFM; "Christian Ethics," by Father Mark, OSB; "Prophets and
Poetry," by Father Harry, OSB; "Early Church History," by Dr.
Kimberly Baker, and "American Catholic Identity," by Father
Father Vincent is our Mass Heb on this Third Sunday (and week)
of Lent. Tuesday was the Solemnity of the Annunciation, however-an
O.P.-ranked feast, and so once again Father Prior Kurt presided at
the Conventual Mass. At his request, Father Vincent preached and,
as is our custom, our celebration continued at the evening meal as
we enjoyed wine (during Lent only on Sundays and solemnities such
as this) and colloquium.
Wednesday evening we honored a number of our veteran and retired
co-workers with a special dinner. These men and women keep our
house and home going, and we are grateful for their tireless
service and care.
Abbot Justin departed Friday morning to go to Marmion Abbey,
Illinois, to attend a meeting of the Abbot President's Council.
Here on the hill we had the spring meeting of the Board of
Overseers and Board of Trustees of our Seminary and School of
Theology. We're grateful for these men and women who devote their
time and talents to support-and improve-the many programs we
As we move into the last weekend in March, Father Colman will be
Mass Heb for this Fourth Sunday (and week) of Lent. We've been
fortunate to have a number of our seminary deacons assist at our
Sunday Masses this semester. This weekend Deacon Cristobal De Loera
of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City joined us for the