Stained Glass Window Installed


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I learned how to make stained glass windows while I was studying theology in preparation for the priesthood in St. Vincent’s in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. It was an interest and a hobby that I did on the side between studying for classes. I made a few windows, but nothing spectacular, mainly gifts for family and friends.

The renovation of the monastery, offered the opportunity to add some new artwork in the monastery, especially work done by the monks themselves. I expressed interest in making a series of windows for the monastery Mass chapel and the chapter room. We acquired the necessary supplies and Br. Michael and I worked on the design and colors to use.

I have spent the last several months assembling the window, little by little. It involves several processes, but it is enjoyable and relaxing work. I finished my first window in April and took it to Olathe, Kansas for a company to encapsulate it in glass in the window. A couple of weeks ago, the first window was installed into the monastery Mass chapel. The window is compromised of two panels that measure approximately 20 inches wide and 22 inches tall. I will complete four more panels and two more windows in the near future.

Below: Last week it was a great privilege to have Br. Mark Florenini, my stained glass teacher and monk of St. Vincent Archabbey, visiting for a few days. We spent one afternoon starting and working together on another window.

Below: The final and installed product.

Clyde by Air


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The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Missouri (just two miles down the road) asked me to do some aerial photography and videography with the aerial drone. I had been wanting to take pictures of their beautiful grounds. They have a nice community and many extraordinary buildings. Enjoy these pictures from the air.DCIM100MEDIADJI_0122.JPGDCIM100MEDIADJI_0147.JPGDCIM100MEDIADJI_0144.JPGDCIM100MEDIADJI_0139.JPGDCIM100MEDIADJI_0126.JPGDCIM100MEDIADJI_0152.JPG

Crozier Complete


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Once Bishop Johnston was named the new bishop of our diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, I decided to work on a wooden crozier for him. When he was ordained bishop in 2008 for the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, I made him a crozier which was gifted to him on behalf of our seminary college. Unfortunately, after a few years of use, while Bishop Johnston was celebrating Mass in his diocese, the crozier was leaned up against a wall by the emcee and it plummeted to the ground, thus breaking the crook of the crozier.

Bishop Johnston said he got a lot of use out of the four piece wooden travel crozier, so we decided to present him with the new one that I finished during the middle of last week. Abbot Gregory presented the crozier to Bishop Johnston shortly before the diaconate ordination of Br. Etienne last Thursday evening. Bishop Johnston used the crozier for the first time at the ordination that evening.


Br. Etienne Ordained Deacon


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Br. Etienne Huard, O.S.B. was ordained a deacon Thursday evening. Bishop Johnston, our local ordinary of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, was the ordaining bishop. Family, friends, and the monastic community gathered in the Basilica church for this joyful occasion.

Br. Etienne will complete his final year of theological studies at St. Vincent Seminary (Latrobe, PA) in preparation for his ordination to the priesthood next May.

We offer our heartfelt thanks to God and ask His blessing upon Br. Etienne as he begins his life as an ordained minister.    

Seminary Graduation


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This past weekend we celebrated with the graduates of Conception Seminary College who completed their bachelors of arts in philosophy and eagerly await the next step in their lives. The Conferral of Degrees was Saturday afternoon followed by a reception. The seminarians departed to their respective dioceses for the summer shortly after Mass on Sunday.

The dynamic on campus is radically different with the absence of 100+ seminarians, especially for those of us who worked or lived with the seminarians. Many of them will help out in parishes, participate in the Totus Tuus catechetical program, take classes, or learn Spanish this summer.

While it will be nice to have a break for now, we will certainly be ready to welcome them back in August.
  Above: Hayden Charles (Diocese of Wichita)
Below: Jon Hynek II (Diocese of Green Bay)

Seminary May Day


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The seminarians had the annual May Day festivities today. The seminary divides into the blue and white team for a day long tradition of sporting events and competition. It is a tradition that dates back many decades at Conception Seminary College.

The day began with a promising weather forecast. It was windy, but sunny and reaching 75 degrees. By the middle of the afternoon, clouds blew in and the rain came. It rained hard for a while and the outdoor activities had to be suspended. Fortunately, this was the time when many of the indoor sports were scheduled, sports like volleyball, basketball, racquetball, and indoor hockey.

Below: Aerial footage during the soccer game and the mowed track.DCIM100MEDIADJI_0065.JPGIMG_3934IMG_3927IMG_3924IMG_3921IMG_3909IMG_3908IMG_3904IMG_3902IMG_3888IMG_3879IMG_3876IMG_3867DCIM100MEDIADJI_0074.JPGDCIM100MEDIADJI_0071.JPG

Abbey Basilica Anniversary


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Today we celebrate 125 years of the Dedication of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Our historic basilica church was dedicated on May 10, 1891. It has served as the place of worship and encounter with God.It is a space of beauty and grandeur. With gratitude we celebrate this special anniversary in our history.

In honor of the 125th Anniversary, I put together this video.

Abbey Trails 2016


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Saturday morning we had our 21st Annual Abbey Trails 5K run/2 mile walk. It was a great success as we welcomed 175 participants. It turned out to be a beautiful May morning, with the exception of one small rain cloud and one bolt of lightning that occurred partway through the race.

I participated in the 5K again this year and I found the rain to be refreshing. It was good to see a nice crowd, and a good mix of local neighbors and friends traveling from a distance. I ran a 19:46 5K time, which was 4 seconds faster than last year’s time. My goal was to finish under 20 minutes, but would have preferred a time closer to 19:30. My parents traveled to the Abbey to visit for the weekend and they participated in the 2 mile walk for the 3rd year in a row. This year, my brother and his family did the walk for the first time.

See a full list of race results here

Above: Our 5K race team, aka “Team Coco” Left to Right: Fr. Paul, Seth Arnold (Wichita seminarian), Cameron Costello (Davenport seminarian), and Tomas Sandoval (Oklahoma City seminarian). We placed first in the team competition, taking the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 7th finishing places.

Below: Br. Luke sharing some good humor and water with the walkers.IMG_3582IMG_3592
Above: Seth Arnold (Diocese of Wichita) finishes first overall.
Below: I wonder why I decided to run again this year.IMG_3669IMG_3676Above: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers all seminarians.
Below: 1st place through 5th place finishers- 4 seminarians and 1 monk/priest.IMG_3681IMG_3803
Above: Brunch and Health Fair in St. Michael’s Gymnasium after the race.
Below: “Team Coco” with their 1st place team medals.IMG_3809

International Day 

The seminarians hosted International Day where they could celebrate diversity of cultures present at Conception Seminary College. Various types of food, music and, presentations were provided during the early afternoon. It is a blessing to have such a diverse amount of cultures and ethnicities represented at the seminary and through out the Church.   

Freshmen Class Outing


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Every year the different classes in the seminary college will organize a class outing. Usually these occur in the spring semester, particularly when the weather is nicer. The freshmen class traveled to Lake Viking to the home of friends of mine. They were generous enough to allow the 25 of us to spend most of the day at their beautiful place.

The weather was absolutely perfect, 75 degrees and sunny. Though the water was too cold to swim in (though that didn’t stop some from jumping in), the men enjoyed the peaceful environment outdoors and took turns using the two kayaks. There were plenty of activities inside, but the majority of the seminarians could not pass up being outside, sitting on the dock, playing catch with a baseball in the yard, or having a bonfire in the evening.

Three of the seminarians cooked a delicious supper- chicken fajitas and quesadillas, as well as hamburgers on the grill.

It was a great time to relax before final exams and everyone goes their separate ways for the summer. 


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