Video: Encountering Christ

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Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception! 

Today is our big feast day as we celebrate this wonderful Solemnity for the Church and our community which is under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception.

I completed a video and launched it this morning on Facebook and YouTube. It communicates the importance that monasteries have in the world, especially amid the many distractions and voices that we encounter on a daily basis. Conception Abbey is a place of peace and silence, and a community that fosters an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. I hope that you enjoy this video and share it with others.

Please pray for vocations to our community- that many young men follow Christ in our monastic way of life.

Giving Tuesday 

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Conception Abbey hosted its annual Giving Tuesday event where seminarians, monks, employees, and members of the local community looked to make Christmas a little more special for many families in need. St. Raphael Hall was filled with people between 6:00-8:00 PM who were giving back in various ways. Some were making ornaments, some were writing Christmas cards, while others were making blankets that would be given to families in the local area.

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

We seek to call people to charity and generosity amid a consumeristic and individualistic world. It is Conception Abbey’s way of giving thanks for the many ways we are blessed and sharing those blessings with others.

What are you grateful for?

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The monks of Conception Abbey are grateful for so many of God’s blessings!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Conception Abbey Elects New Abbot

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This afternoon the monks of Conception Abbey gathered together to elect their 10th Abbot. In September, Abbot Gregory was elected as Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation. During the past months we have been praying and preparing for the election of a new Abbot. This afternoon the community elected Fr. Benedict Neenan as Abbot of Conception Abbey. Please keep Abbot Benedict in your prayers as he begins his new role.

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Fall Production

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This past weekend Br. Cyprian and the seminarians put on their annual fall play. This year it was a sci-fi farce called “The Aliens are Coming!” They had three performances throughout the weekend and seemed like they really enjoyed performing. It was entertaining. Here are a few pictures from the play.

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A Colorful Transition

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The past few weeks have been filled with many activities. Most notably, the monastic community is preparing for the election of a new Abbot on November 22nd. Please pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we preparing for this exciting time in the life of our community.

The reason I have not been blogging as regularly is because we were working to transition our blog to our website, which was recently redone and updated. There will be many articles featured on Conception Abbey’s blog, which can be found here. I will probably contribute content from time to time on our official website’s blog. I appreciate your feedback and support of this blog, Listen, my Son.

On Tuesday, November 8th I was invited to talk about monastic life to the students at Kuemper Catholic High School in Carroll, Iowa. On Wednesday, November 9th, I traveled to Sioux City, Iowa to spend the day talking about monastic life to the students of Heelan Catholic High School in Sioux City, Iowa. Pictured with me is Fr. Shane Deman (Vocation Director of the Diocese of Sioux City) and Sr. Madeleine Miller, O.S.B. (Missionary Benedictines).

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There are not many leaves left on the trees these days, but the weather still remains beautiful. We are expecting highs in the 70’s on Thursday before the temperatures start to drop off and it begins feeling more like mid-November.

Thunder Cup 

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This weekend we hosted six seminaries in our annual Soccer and Volleyball Tournament, also known as the “Thunder Cup” tournament. Saturday morning the soccer games began. There were six teams competing, and each were guaranteed two games. The winning teams from each bracket would face off in the championship Sunday morning. It was an overcast day, but pleasant with temperatures reaching 70.

In bracket play, Conception Seminary College lost to Our Lady of Guadalupe in penalty kicks. Our Lady of Guadalupe would eventually go on to win the championship game on Sunday morning.

Saturday evening the volleyball tournament began. There were seven teams involved, and in round robin play, that meant that there would be a total of 21 games to be played. The tournament began at 6:45 PM, but didn’t get over until 11:15 PM! I coached the “Sons of Thunder” squad (pictured below). We did not make it to the championship game this year, but nevertheless I was incredibly impressed with our teamwork, disciple, and play. We lost three of our games by 1 or 2 points and our overall 2 win and 4 loss record didn’t reflect the heart and teamwork with which these seminarians competed. It was an amazing performance and I’m proud of them for their dedication and all the work they put into the weeks of practice.

Mundelein Seminary and St. Meinrad ended up facing off in the championship game, but St. Meinrad emerged victorious this year. Fr. Brendan (pictured below) presented the trophies to the two teams. Fr. Brendan is a monk of St. Meinrad and the Rector of Conception Seminary College, so he had two teams to cheer for in the tournament.

New Vocations Publication

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Good news! A couple weeks ago I completed a printed magazine entitled, Listen, my Son. The publication features several inspiring vocation stories of the monks  of Conception Abbey and the magazine is intended to be distributed to vocation candidates. I wanted to send them to Newman Centers and parishes, where they could find their place on tables in the lounges where people could pick up the publication and look it over. Certainly, this publication would be enjoyed by all people, especially friends of the Abbey. It is now available online.

You can find the PDF by following this link

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Please pray for vocations! We have six vocation candidates visiting us during the next two weeks.

Partnering for Future Priests

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Yesterday was the 8th annual Partnering for Future Priests (PFP) event in St. Joseph, Missouri. The event was held at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish. This year’s proceeds go toward the renovation of the seminary student union space in St. Maur Hall. Entertainment included the seminary Mariachi band.

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Into Fall

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As we entered into fall just a couple of weeks ago, we are experiencing some of the best days for the weather in Northwest Missouri. Temperatures have been cool in the morning and very pleasant during the day. There are also many activities going on this time of year, many guest groups visiting and enjoying the nice weather as well. This weekend is Family Weekend for Conception Seminary College- a time parents, grandparents, and siblings to visit the seminarians. The forecast is looking promising. Next weekend (October 14-16) is Board of Regents and also our Annual Thunder Cup Tournament (soccer and volleyball). I have been coaching the volleyball team and we are getting excited for the tournament. October 21-23 is our Monastic Experience weekend. We already have several vocation candidates planning to visit in the weeks ahead, both during that weekend and in the days leading up to it.

Enjoy these pictures from around campus.