On Saturday, December 17, several monks wrote about 170
Christmas cards at the UnStable for Branchville inmates, our food
box families, the infirm sisters at our neighbor monastery in
Ferdinand, and residents at local nursing and assisted living
facilities. We obtained many of these names through our seminary
students who visit these folks on a regular basis.
Fathers Pius and Barnabas and Brother Zachary helped deliver
some of the cards. We ended the afternoon with pizza (baked by
Archabbot Kurt and Brothers Justin [Togo], James and Jean) and
fraternal cheer at the UnStable.
On Saturday, our Abbey Caskets hosted the 4th annual Service of
the Longest Night. The Service of the Longest Night uses prayer and
scripture to acknowledge those who mourn and struggle with loss
during the holiday season. Father Adrian led the prayer service,
and the night concluded with light refreshments.
Father Eugene led a retreat on Friday through Sunday at the
Guest House: "Spiritual Themes in the Gospel of Luke."
Brother Francis posted some new blog posts: Rorate coeli, Toward the Dawn, Today is born our Savior and
Christian, remember your dignity.
On Wednesday, Father Christian gave our final community Advent
Conference. Later in the evening, after Compline, we decorated our
Christmas tree and enjoyed some baked goods and eggnog.
Several of the junior monks went door to door greeting our
infirm monks on Thursday … they also had a special guest along with
them: Santa Claus (Brother Zachary nailed the role, costume and
In addition to the cards we wrote, several monks assembled care
packages to give out to families in need in the area who receive
our foodboxes. The care packages included fruit, candy, homemade
granola, cookies, bread and our Abbey soap.
On Saturday, Christmas Eve, we celebrated I Vespers of
Christmas, anticipated Christmas Vigils at 7 p.m., and at 10 p.m.
we celebrated the Christmas in Nocte Mass. Archabbot Kurt presided
On Sunday, Christmas Day, we had the option to sleep in.
Breakfast started at 7, and we had Christmas Lauds at 8 a.m.
followed by Mass in Die at 9:30 a.m. Archabbot Kurt was the
principal celebrant and Father Gavin preached.
In addition to our liturgical celebrations of the day, we had
Christmas Cheer at noon with hors d'oeuvres followed by our
Christmas meal at about 12:30. Our Christmas Day concluded with II
Vespers, dinner and Compline.
Father Christian and Brothers Zachary and Simon celebrated
Christmas Mass at Branchville prison with about 30 offenders. We
welcomed one inmate into the Church who received the sacraments of
initiation on Christmas Day.
On Monday, we had a Sunday schedule and celebrated the feast of
St. Stephen. Father Subprior Guerric served as the principal
celebrant for our Eucharist. We enjoyed colloquium
(talking) at our noon meal.
May the joy, peace and hope of Christmas continue reigning in
your hearts throughout the New Year.