Monastery Blessing 


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June 25– We hosted our Benedictine friends from Missouri and Kansas for the blessing of the monastery.  Abbot Gregory presided over the brief ceremony which took place in the monastery chapter room.  It included a greeting, singing of a Psalm, reading, hymn, and blessing of the newly renovated monastery with holy water.  Afterwards the Benedictine brothers and sisters from different communities, were invited to tour the first floors of the monastery and enjoy refreshments and conversation.

This was a historic day for our monastic community.  God be praised!         

Below:  Guests pay a visit to the monastery dining room.  

Below:  Fr. Macario, playing the role of “Mr. Hospitality.”  

Below:  Fr. Xavier (right) explains to Prior Jeremy (St. Benedict’s, Atchison) about how monasteries were built in the good ol’ days (or they were talking sports).        
Below:  Br. Maximilian shows one of the sisters (Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles) a picture of a monk’s room.              

Behind the Cloister Door


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We’re back in the Monastery!

The monastic community made the move on Monday, June 15th.  While much of the work occurred on that day, there is still plenty of moving and cleaning going on.  Everyone is adjusting well to a familiar environment with a completely new look.

Workers still roam the hallways giving necessary attention to touch-up work here and there, and probably many technical issues that I admit are beyond my competency.  The basement and the 4th floor still need a fair amount of work, but the residence floors (2nd and 3rd) and the common rooms (1st floor) are finished.  It will take some time to work out a few of the minor issues, but the monastery is comfortable, and most importantly, safe.  We are especially grateful to all of our friends and benefactors who have supported us throughout this renovation.  We look forward to welcoming you into our home in the months ahead.

Below:  Br. Cyprian does a little bit of cleaning on the stairwell.  The monks decided to do the cleaning themselves to save money.IMG_5019

Below:  The coffee and mail room in working order.IMG_5024 IMG_5025

Below:  The refectory (monks’ dining room) has nice new oak tables and chairs.  It is artistically very pleasant.IMG_5029

Below:  The community recreation rooms are already finding plenty of use.IMG_5055

Above:  Temporary nameplates adore the top of the doors.  A more permanent fixture will be in place soon.

Below:  Br. Michael and Fr. Pachomius began hanging the artwork in the monastery this week.IMG_5061

Below:  The new Mass and reservation chapel.  Abbot Gregory celebrated the first Mass in the chapel on the Feast of John the Baptist and now the Blessed Sacrament is reserved for adoration.IMG_5074 IMG_5083 IMG_5086 IMG_5089

Below: The chapter room with recently installed crucifix and murals.IMG_5093

Below:  The cloister doors in the west hallway
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Companion Camp 2015

We are in the midst of our annual Companion Camp. I camp for 6th, 7th and 8th grade boys. We also invite high school boys to come and be a part of the camp staff. There are many activities throughout the weekend to keep the campers occupied. We also want them to have a positive experience of faith, prayer and getting a chance to meet seminarians, monks and priests. This year we welcome 30 campers and 15 high school students.                                                     

Batter-up! Annual Priests Softball Game is a Winner


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Archbishop Naumann taking a swing.

The roaring of the crowd filled Community America Ballpark (T-Bones Stadium in Kansas City, KS) on Monday night for the 2nd Annual Pitching for Priests Softball Game sponsored by Catholic Radio.  The priests of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph sought to defend their title from last year’s slugfest against the priests of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

It is a game that I look forward to and anticipate months in advance.  Why?  Because I love sports, especially playing them.  My ordination classmate and fellow Benedictine confrere, Fr. Victor Schinstock and I took the field representing the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and the monks of Conception Abbey.  We figured that the KCK priests would come to the game seeking to avenge last year’s loss, so Fr. Victor and I were certain to be prepared for this year’s contest.  We held a couple practices in the weeks leading up to the game, including enlisting several of the local youth to sharpen our skills.

Monday afternoon, as we drove to Kansas City, scattered showers threatened to put a damper on the evening game.  However, with prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary for good weather, our Holy Mother turned what could have been a game cancellation into a night were fans only briefly had to fend off a light rain with their umbrellas.  No game delays, no postponing, no cancellation.   Play ball!

The atmosphere was great- well over 2,500 fans in the stadium, more than 30 priests playing for both teams, and one nice field to play on.  One could see men and women religious, wearing their habits, cheering loudly alongside many parishioners of the parishes where the priests serve.  After the singing of the National Anthem and a prayer, Archbishop Naumann throw out the first pitch of the game.

The game did not start all that well for our team.  After a lackluster 1st inning, our team (the Missouri side), was unable to score any runs (or really get on base).  The Kansas side hit well and drove in 4 runs.  A total of 10 priests bat each inning for each team (regardless of out), so, with a roster of 18 players, not every priests bats in each of the 6 innings of the game.  I hit a lead-off double my first at bat in the top of the 2nd inning.  Apparently that sparked something for the men in blue, for we scored 7 runs that inning.  Fr. Victor added a single and showed some great speed around the bases.
Fr. Paul, double to right field
Below:  Fr. Victor keeping the rally going
Above:  Fr. Paul and Fr. Victor, monks formulating a strategy (always dangerous)
 Joan and Chase Farnan, showing off their signs.  I didn’t know whether to be flattered or embarrassed.

From that point forward, our defense was solid.  I played shortstop the entire game, scooping up ground balls and catching pop flies and Fr. Victor caught everything hit his way in left field.  Consistent.  Dependable.  We were playing good ball.  The Kansas side scored only 2 runs each of the following innings.  With Missouri up 5 runs in the top of 6th and final inning, we simply had to play defense and prevent Kansas from scoring.  We did just that.  The KCK priests failed to get on base during their last at bat, and we secured the victory 17-12 !!

If you cannot tell by now, I’m passionate about sports (and competitive) and really enjoy a good game of softball.  This is a unique game, where the proceeds benefit the Vocation Office for both Dioceses.  Last year they raised in excess of $25,000 and I expect they did the same this year.  Also, this game supports vocations not only financially, but also in the witness the priests give by getting out, enjoying themselves, and showing that we are men simply called to a different way of life.
I am grateful for all of the people who showed up for the game and supported us.  I am also thankful to my Dad for teaching me how to play baseball when I was growing up, so that I could contribute to the team in a positive way.IMG_3936

Moving Day Approaches


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Moving Day, also known as “Monday”, is quickly approaching.  The monks are eager to settle into the newly renovated monastery. There are four “moving teams” assigned and each team will have ½ hour to move the effects of each monk from St. Joseph Hall to the monastery.  Monks are asked to have their belongings boxed and ready to move at their assigned time.

Here are some of my most recent pictures of the monastery, taken Thursday afternoon.  The monks were permitted to move some of their things over already.

Above and Below:  Mass chapel with border detail shot.IMG_3748 IMG_3749
Above and Below:  Monastery dining room.IMG_3750
 Monastery coffee and mail roomIMG_3751 IMG_3752
Above and Below:  Center stairwell and landing
Below:  Monks’ roomsIMG_3754 IMG_3755 IMG_3759 IMG_3760IMG_3763 IMG_3764 IMG_3766
Above and Below:  First floor common roomsIMG_3767IMG_3768 IMG_3769
Above and Below:  New entrance/exit from northwest stairwellIMG_3771

Lastly, enjoy this time lapse I shot Wednesday afternoon.





Model A Fords, oh my!


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We cleared the west parking lot in front of the Basilica for the Northwest Missouri Model A Ford Club.  The parking lot is filled with these beautiful, antique cars.  The 200 guests are here for a tour of the Basilica and are staying for lunch.

In the spirit of St. Benedict:  Welcome to Conception Abbey!

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Work Around the House


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Workers have been tearing up and replacing the sidewalks around the monastery and in various parts of campus.  However, all the rain these past weeks has left things quite the muddy mess.  We trust that the beauty of our campus will be restored in due time.  In the meantime, at least everything is nice and green!IMG_3670IMG_3674IMG_3683IMG_3687IMG_3694

Br. Michael and Fr. Pachomius worked on the stenciling that wraps around the monastery chapter room.  The chapter room is the room where the community gathers  to vote on and discuss major decisions.image1[1]

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Pick-up Game 


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I made a few phone calls on Monday and talked to a few of the monks about playing some softball on Tuesday evening.  We ended up playing at the ball field in Conception Junction.  We ended up having three priests, two monks, and eleven local youth.  So, we were able to play 8 on 8.  It was a lot of fun.

Fr. Victor and I will play in the 2nd Annual Pitching for Priests softball game on Monday, June 15, and we wanted some practice before then.  We played in last year’s game and it was a great experience.  It is the priests of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph vs. the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.


Monday, June 15, 2015
T-BONES Stadium – Community America Ballpark
1800 Village West Parkway, Kansas City, KS 66111
Game Time 6:30 p.m.
Tailgating 3:00 p.m.

All Tickets $10
PURCHASE today by calling 816.630.1090 or go on-line to and click on Priest Softball Game in the header.        

Come Holy Spirit 


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Below: The Holy Spirit painting that is on the ceiling of the chapter room in the newly renovated monastery. 

Pentecost is a very special feast for me personally.  Two years ago, when I was ordained a priest, the first Sunday Mass I celebrated at my home parish in Stillwater, Oklahoma was on Pentecost Sunday.

Two years later, Pentecost still leaves a great impression, especially this year as I was blessed to bring three new members into the Church.  Three students involved at Northwest Missouri State University’s Newman Center were received into the Church at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in Kansas City, Missouri.

I baptized and confirmed Josh Smith, and confirmed Jordan Johnson and Emily Casady.  It was an occasion celebrated with great joy in the presence of family and friends.

Congratulations the newest members of the Catholic Church!          

New Foundations


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It is community retreat week.  That means that all of the ‘monks on mission’ return and we have two spiritual conferences a day led by the retreat director.  This year’s director has been Abbot Peter Eberle.  Abbot Peter is the retired abbot of Mount Angel in Oregon.  He has been leading the monastic community through a variety of spiritual reflections and conferences on the Book of Sirach and the Rule of St. Benedict.  We have enjoyed his presence among us.

Above:  Abbot Peter gives an afternoon conference.

 After supper, Br. Jacob, Postulant Luke, and Novice Eric take advantage of the nice and sunny day.
 Fr. Macario navigates the rough terrain on the west side of the monastery.  Plenty of construction still going on!IMG_3538
  After supper, the monks take a tour of the monastery to see the progress. In less than one month we will return to our newly renovated home!IMG_3548IMG_3549IMG_3551IMG_3554

Below:  Earlier this week, construction workers started tearing up the sidewalks between St. Joseph and St. Michael’s Hall.  The sidewalks, which were in poor condition in areas, are being replaced.

 Frs. Victor and Guerric visiting before Compline.
Below:  Frs. Xavier and Quentin take a stroll on the east side of the monastery.IMG_3570
 Br. Blaise and Archbishop Jerome survey the work on the sidewalks.IMG_3576


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