Blessing of New Crucifix

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The new crucifix which was hand carved specifically for the monastery dining room was mounted on Tuesday. The monastic community gathered for the blessing of this crucifix before supper. Abbot Gregory blessed the crucifix which all of the monks will look upon whenever we gather in the dining room. It is situated between a mural of Martha serving Jesus at table and one from of the life of St. Benedict.

The crucifix was hand carved by a man in the Philippines and has beautiful detail and craftsmanship. The monks are grateful to have this important sign of our faith added to the newly renovated monastery.


  
  Below: Archbishop Jerome is either inspecting the intricate carving or he is playing the role of Doubting Thomas by placing his finger in our Lord’s wounds.

Celebrating with our Neighbors

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Every year for the Feast of St. Scholastica, the sisters (our Benedictine neighbors) invite the monks to join them for Vespers and supper. The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration are just 2 miles down the road and we have a great relationship and a long history.

The Feast of St. Scholastica was transferred one day due to Ash Wednesday, but we were happy to celebrate, even if a day later. We made the short trip to Clyde just in time for Evening Prayer at 5:15 PM followed by a delicious festive meal. It was great to catch up and share a few laughs on this wonderful feast day.

The monks return the favor of hospitality, when we invite the sisters over on Easter Monday every year. It is a great relationship and wonderful to celebrate being Benedictines!

Lent Begins

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The monastic and seminary community gathered today in the Basilica to celebrate Ash Wednesday Mass. The formula used for imposition of ashes: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” Abbot Gregory presided and preached at today’s liturgy and Fr. Brendan Moss, Rector of Conception Seminary, helped distribute ashes.

St. Benedict encourages his monks to live a “continuous Lent,” but even for monks Lent becomes an opportunity to refocus and draw closer to the Lord. The monastic community has several different practices to this end, especially in keeping a spirit of quiet and reflection on Fridays during Lent.

The Abbey Vocation Office will organize Holy Hours on the Fridays of Lent (7:45-8:45 PM) so that we can ask the Master of the Harvest to send more laborers for His vineyard. Please united yourself in praying with us for vocations.

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Above: Fr. Brendan imposes ashes and makes the sign of the cross on Abbot Gregory.
Below: Fr. Brendan works hard to reach 6’7″ freshmen Mitch Doerneman’s head.IMG_7728IMG_7735IMG_7737IMG_7751IMG_7758

Celebrating Culture

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This afternoon monks and seminarians celebrated with the CMC Community, our Vietnamese brothers who are on campus studying at Conception Seminary. Tet or Vietnamese New Year, is the most important celebration in Vietnamese culture. We recognized the Vietnamese New Year by a presentation and plenty of good food.


Above: Fr. Pat and Fr. Samuel enjoy the festivities.
Below: Seminarian Hayden Charles flaunts his Broncos shirt after their Superbowl victory.


  Below: Fr. Phillip Do, CMC explains the TET (Vietnamese New Year) tradition.
  
  

Living the Gospel

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I completed a video featuring several aerial shots of the Abbey. You don’t get to see these angles all that often.

Please share this video with any young men who you feel may have a monastic vocation or anyone who could benefit spiritually from a visit to our monastery.

New Monastery Stained Glass in Progress

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I learned the art of stained glass while studying at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. I always enjoyed getting involved in different types of arts or crafts, but was never really good at them. I made several small windows during my time in theology school and always thought about the possibility of continuing to make stained glass. The opportunity presented itself when we renovated the monastery and the art and design committee wanted to put stained glass windows in the monastery Mass chapel and in the chapter room. I expressed interest and desire in working on the project.

Br. Michael and I worked on the design for the windows (mainly Br. Michael). He drew up the pattern in PhotoShop and we printed the 20 inch by 21 inch window design. We also were able to contact Pastor Dave Wynn from Tarkio, Missouri who is what I would call an “experience stained glass master.” He was truly a godsend. He helped us acquire all of the tools and materials to begin the project.

I set up shop in the top floor of the carpenter shop and have been working on the windows, little by little, for a few months now. The first step, after acquiring the glass and tools, has been to cut out the glass. It will be for three windows, but each window has two panels, so a total of six panels.

Below: The pattern I am working on.

Below: I take a break from the pattern to use some of the “scrap” glass to make a kite pattern and solder the lead came. I just wanted to practice my skills a little more.
  Above: Simple soldering, but it turned out well.
Below: Me and my workspace.

Below:  All the glass is cut for the top window, so I’m ready to start assembling!

  Above and Below: I begin assembling by using the lead came and keeping the pattern in place with the nails. It’s progress!

Wild Winter Weather 

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It has been a strange weather week. On Wednesday it was 45 degrees out, but the lake was frozen solid. I decided to get out my ice skates for the first time this season. It was perfect skating weather, so I played some hockey for a while. The top layer of ice was getting a little wet from the afternoon sun, but it was still a great day to be outside on the ice.


On Thursday it was 55 outside, the very next day. I couldn’t resist, I got my bicycle out and fought a head wind for part of the ride.



Saturday evening and Sunday morning was a different story. The snow began falling Saturday evening and by Sunday morning, enough had accumulated to cover the ground. But, what is winter without snow? Campus looks beautiful again.



Below: A seminarian helps clear the sidewalks.

A New Semester

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The seminarians returned to campus Sunday evening by 10:00 PM. There were no classes on Monday, but it was time for those who needed to make corrections and adjustments to their schedule to have that taken care of.

The pre-theologians were in charge of hosting the annual Epiphany Party, which is normally scheduled for the Saturday after they return. However, the pre-theo seminarians moved it to Monday evening. There was the option to play dodgeball, compete in a trivia night, or play Texas Holdem. It was a simple, but enjoyable evening as the seminarians transition and begin the new semester.

Please keep these men in your prayers, as well as those of us who are involved in their formation!IMG_1242 IMG_1247 IMG_1253 IMG_1256 IMG_1258 IMG_1263 IMG_1266 IMG_1270 IMG_1271 IMG_1275 IMG_1276

2016

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Happy New Year and Happy Feast of Mary, Mother of God!

These days at the Abbey have been quiet and restful for the most part. Several of the monks had their parents visit around Christmas and the days following. A couple of my classmates from college seminary even dropped by and we had a chance to visit. We also welcomed regular guests and now have several oblates here for retreat.

It snowed on Sunday, which has given the grounds a nice new look. I took some pictures yesterday for you to enjoy.

Blessings to you this New Year!

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