Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

New Beginnings

by Christian Mocek


The past couple weeks have been an intense period of transition for me. In a matter of three weeks, I finished my master's degree, moved to a new place five hours away from my home and started a new job.

I talked with a friend recently who went through the same experience last year and asked her how she was able to handle the transitions. She said, "You don't really handle it; you just wake up one day after a while and find that you finally feel at home."

Last week I had the honor and privilege to meet over 220 alumni and friends at our 86th annual Alumni Reunion. For some, it was their first time back on the Hill in a long time, while for others it was a time to come back for their yearly visit to catch up with old friends and see familiar faces.

The reunion schedule was full of events, including a social on Sunday evening, a golf outing on Monday, the class anniversary banquet on Monday night and the Distinguished Alumnus Award banquet on Tuesday night.

This year, Msgr. Michael Hohenbrink from the ordination class of 1974 and Mr. John Allen Buche from the class of 1961 were awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award and joined the ranks of many inspiring alumni who have received the award in the past.

In addition to the social events, many attended presentations throughout the reunion. Fr. Denis Robinson, OSB, president-rector of Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, gave a wonderful Day of Recollection on "The Science of the Cross" on Monday, while our Alumni Board President Dr. Darren Sroufe and alumnus Mr. Edward Huff gave presentations on service opportunities available to our alumni in the upcoming year.

On Tuesday, Bishop Charles Thompson, a 1987 alumnus, gave an insightful presentation titled "Captivated by Pope Francis" that was well attended by our alumni. In the afternoon, some attended a presentation on "Hispanic Ministry: Challenges and Opportunities" by Dr. Robert Alvis, while others attended a presentation by 1978 alumnus Jerry Aull called "Crazy Busy or Better at Balance?" Along with the presentations, Bishop Peter Libasci, ordination class of 1977, gave a poignant homily about seeking the face of God at our annual reunion Mass.

Throughout the weekend and through many conversations, I found that our alumni have experienced many transitions throughout their lives. Many remarked that Saint Meinrad, too, has gone through many transitions since they left the Holy Hill years ago.

It seems that new jobs, new places, new people, new homes, new buildings and new programs are all a part of what makes life both beautiful and challenging.

Meeting, talking with and working with our alumni these past few weeks has been a true blessing in this time of transition from old to new. It has reminded me once again that the place, prayer and life of the monks of Saint Meinrad inspire us all to look toward our foundation in a life full of transitions.

The reunion offered a chance for many of our alumni to do just that and to reconnect with the place they called home for so many years. These past few weeks, and most especially our Alumni Reunion, has taught me that there is no better place to have a new beginning than a place that so many call home in a life full of changes.

So here's to new beginnings and to those old friends and places that give us the courage to handle the many challenges and to see the many opportunities throughout the journey. 


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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.