Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Post-Reunion Thoughts

by Greg Ernstberger


As I begin this reflection, it has been just a few days since I attended the 85th Alumni Reunion at Saint Meinrad. It was evident that a great deal of time and planning had been done to ensure that everything went well, and on schedule.

The only minor glitch was with the weather. Go figure. During the Reunion Mass, it rained so no reunion photo again this year! At least the temperature was cooler and less humid than normal at the end of July on the Hill.

As an Alumni Board member, I get the opportunity to see firsthand the details of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the planning for each reunion. It is a big job! Many thanks and congratulations to the entire Development Office staff and reunion faculty for all your efforts in making this year's reunion a tremendous success! I look forward to seeing the agenda for 2014.

Each time I visit Saint Meinrad, my first thoughts are usually about those memories surrounding the years that I spent as a college seminary student here. For me, the memories of my past experiences at Saint Meinrad are a great gift - those lived and shared experiences of time spent here learning and developing from teenager to young adult.

The many friends I made, the quality of the teaching, an appreciation for Benedictine spirituality, liturgy and much more. Saint Meinrad had and continues to have a profound effect on my life.

For many of us, the Saint Meinrad where we lived and studied no longer exists in the same form (high school, college), but has been transformed into something new. The mission remains the same, but the way it is delivered has significantly changed over the years.

The genius of Saint Meinrad is in its ability to adapt and grow to meet the needs of the ever-evolving Church, so succinctly described by President-Rector Fr. Denis Robinson, OSB, during his address at this year's Alumni Association meeting. Adaptation and growth are evident not only in the sandstone and steel buildings (the newly renovated St. Bede Hall and St. Martin Center, for example), but also in the addition of new programs.

The success of the "One Bread, One Cup" summer program for high school students and the Master of Arts degree in theology for lay students are examples of innovation to meet the needs of the current and future Church. Saint Meinrad continues to be a place, an institution, dedicated to enriching the lives of Catholic men and women, providing well-rounded priests, deacons and lay leaders for the Church of today and tomorrow.

No one knows what changes the next century will bring, but it is certain that change will come. Saint Meinrad is poised to adapt and grow to meet whatever challenges the future Church presents.

Seasons change, memories endure, buildings are razed and restored, but the heart and soul of Saint Meinrad remains in the Benedictine community. The stability of the monastery and the dedication of the monks to daily living the Benedictine ideal of prayer and work are the foundation for all that happens at Saint Meinrad.

I remember my first visit to Archabbey Church (the old church); it was 1959, and I was in first grade. I was immediately drawn to the image of the risen Christ that looms over the nave. It wasn't until a few years later that the daily rhythm of prayer and work of the monastic community became real to me when I experienced life on the Hill as a college student.

As an alumnus, I am very grateful for the blessings I have received from the dedication to prayer and service of many Benedictine priests and brothers from Saint Meinrad Archabbey. In this I am not alone!

Ora et Labora!

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Echoes from the Bell Tower is a blog devoted to observations on Christian faith, spirituality and everyday events, by authors with a connection to the Benedictine values found at Saint Meinrad Archabbey and its Seminary and School of Theology. Contributors include students, permanent deacons, Benedictine oblates and Saint Meinrad monks. Their stories, thoughts and ideas highlight the mission and vision that ring out from the bell towers on this Hill in southern Indiana.