Easter Week Social

Last week during the Easter Octave on Wednesday the monastic community had their lunch in the common space in the new addition to the Infirmary. The purpose of the gathering was to welcome the monks from Benet Lake, Wisconsin who had recently moved to Conception Abbey during the previous weeks. It was a time to get to know them better, continue to extend our hospitality, as well as celebrate the joyful Easter season with pizza!

I was away over the weekend doing vocation work and will be headed to visit two colleges to promote vocations in the days ahead.

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Easter Snow

Easter Monday morning looked more like Christmas morning. I got outside to capture some of the sights of about 5 inches of snow that fell Easter day.

The Benedictine Sisters from Clyde joined us for our traditional Easter Monday gathering. They came for Vespers and a banquet.

Happy Easter! Alleluia!

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HAPPY EASTER!

We have had a beautiful past few days celebrating the Sacred Triduum. We had many guests joining us this week for the celebrations. Holy Thursday’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper and Good Friday were very prayerful. Thursday and Friday the weather was very nice and spring-like.

On Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday we wore our new set of white chasubles. All the concelebrating priests vested in them. The Abbey had many of them made by three Benedictine Sisters in Kansas City. They are very well made and add a nice solemnity to our celebrations.

Our Easter Vigil began at 4:30 AM on Sunday morning as usual. It was 27 degrees out with a 13 mph wind, but we managed to brave the cold in order to start the celebration outside with the lighting of the Easter fire. I served as Master of Ceremonies and had some excellent seminarian servers who are pictured below with Abbot Benedict after Sunday morning’s liturgy. The Vigil Mass concluded at 7:10 AM.

At the conclusion of Mass, we had quite the surprise when we looked outside and saw the ground covered in snow. It snowed lightly the rest of the day until evening. It felt more like Christmas than Easter!

Fr. Chuck Tobin (priest of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph) serves as a first-year spiritual director at Conception Seminary College. He was in Rome for an Easter Vigil Mass with Pope Francis. He was also able to go to San Anselmo and visit Abbot Primate Gregory Polan. Fr. Tobin sent me these pictures of his adventures.

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Above: Pope Francis in procession at St. Peter’s Basilica (Rome)
Below: Fr. Tobin and Abbot Primate Gregory

Easter blessings to you! Let us rejoice in the light of the Risen Christ!

You can view Abbot Benedict’s Easter message below.

Monastic Experience Weekend

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We had seven men here for the Monastic Experience this past weekend. Our guests arrived Friday evening in time for Vespers and stayed through Sunday lunch. They lived the monastic schedule, prayed with the monks and ate with the monks. For several of the men, it was their first visit to Conception Abbey. These men are all interested and discerning monastic life and wanted to have a greater experience of it.

Below: There were three main conferences or talks during the weekend. Abbot Benedict met with the men Saturday afternoon.

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Below: On Saturday evening, it was our game night and social. Several monks joined in the fun as I organized a Bunco night. Bunco is a dice game that is played in groups of four. We had four groups and the winners received a gift certificate to the monastery gift shop. The dice game is quick to play and very easy to learn, but it gave the opportunity for interacting and meeting different people.IMG_2838IMG_2840IMG_2848IMG_2853IMG_2874

Below: Br. Michael gave our guests a tour of the newly completed Infirmary Chapel. Br. Michael contributed a lot for the artistic elements and planning.

Below: The completed chapel and its first Mass and blessing by Abbot Benedict.

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Infirmary Chapel Art

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The Infirmary Chapel is getting really close to completion. More of the artistic elements have been finished and I think they look great. Br. Michael has worked hard on the design, but it’s been a group effort. There has been some excellent painting and detail work by Melissa, one of our employees. Enjoy!

Below: The back of the chapel as you exit through the doors. The medal is printed on canvas.

Below: Another mural printed on canvas. It is a copy of the mural in the southeast transept of the monastery. It is of St. Benedict’s death.

Below: The Stations of the cross and the stencil work.

Below: The crucifix and tabernacle behind the altar.

Laetare Sunday

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Rejoice in the Lord!

It is the Fourth Sunday of Lent, and Easter is three short weeks away. I was asked to record the reflection for this Sunday’s readings. I have included the video below. You can find all of the daily Lenten reflections here: https://lent.conceptionabbey.org/

 

In other news the Seminary had its bi-annual Board of Regents meetings. Archbishop Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas celebrated Mass on Friday evening and Bishop Kemme of Wichita celebrated Saturday morning.

It has been fairly nice out this week, not too warm and not too cold. I went out briefly on Friday to take a few pictures.

Below: The water tower on the southeast side of campus has been complete for several weeks now.

Below: You can see the water tower from a distance and some other familiar sights around campus.

New Stained Glass Windows

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As promised, I am posting pictures of the new stained glass windows in the Infirmary Chapel. The stained glass windows themselves are not “new,” but they were purchased from a church somewhere out east that had closed. So, these beautiful windows will now serve a new space of worship for many years to come. In addition to the stained glass windows, you’ll also see pictures of the downstairs addition the Infirmary, which is now mostly in use.

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Above: The stencil design above the doors exiting the chapel.

Below: The Infirmary dining area.IMG_2802IMG_2803IMG_2804

Below: The Infirmary living room or sitting area (with a real working fireplace!)IMG_2805IMG_2808
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Above: Fr. Reginald is enjoying a beautiful and sunny day outside.

Below: Fr. Anthony reading in his new room.IMG_2818

Ice and Progress

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This past week we have been battling ice and wintery conditions. The bad weather has caused some professors not to be able to make the drive to Conception Seminary for their classes. I had to postpone a vocation trip to Omaha on Monday. Br. Placid has been working overtime caring for our parking lots and he has been very busy lately plowing the road and salting the sidewalks. I have stayed inside most of the week and thus avoid any treacherous conditions.

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Above: Ice clings to the tree branches, but slowly melts as the morning sunlight warms it.
Below: The back steps near the infirmary dare not be crossed.

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Inside, things are looking brighter, especially the progress on the Infirmary addition. I checked on the progress in the chapel, and it is coming along nicely. Workers installed some of the stained glass windows. The two main windows will were installed later on Friday (after I took pictures), so I will get pictures of those soon.

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Above and Below: The stained glass windows along the side of the chapel. Detail shot below.IMG_2797IMG_2798IMG_2799
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Below: One of the resident’s new rooms awaiting move-in day.IMG_2801

Stations of the Cross

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The Stations of the Cross were installed in the Basilica on Thursday. They are the original Stations, but were in need of restoration and touch ups. After they were placed on the wall, I can honestly say that they were worth the wait. They are very beautiful! See for yourself…

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On Friday afternoon the seminarians, monks, and guests gathered in the Basilica to bless the new Stations of the Cross. The community also made the Way of the Cross together.

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Above and Below: Abbot Benedict incenses the Stations as part of the order of blessing.

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Lent Begins

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Yesterday we celebrated Ash Wednesday. We begin our 40 day journey of uniting ourselves to the mystery of Jesus’ temptation in the desert. It’s a time to purify ourselves through practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

Conception Abbey is offering daily Lenten reflections for the entire season of Lent. Different monks were asked to write reflections based on the readings for the day. Reflections I wrote are the ones to start the series. You can find them here: https://lent.conceptionabbey.org/

Also, on Ash Wednesday and the Sundays of Lent that monk assigned for the week will offer a video reflection. The video for Ash Wednesday is posted below. Blessings on your Lenten journey!