Witnessing the Faith


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On Sunday early afternoon, seminarian Chris Davis (Diocese of Salina) and I decided to bike to Maryville to participate in Life Chain Sunday.  I tried getting others involved, but not too many were thrilled about the 35 mile round trip.  We planned to do this a couple days before, but when Sunday rolled around, it was only 55 degrees, overcast, and fairly windy.  We decided to call the ride “Biking for Babies” since the Life Chain effort is all about a silent prayerful witness to life, calling for an end to abortion.Gathered with more than 100 others in Maryville, we stood along Main Street praying and holding signs for all who would drive by and see our witness.

Members from our senior class had the opportunity to evangelize and share their Catholic faith on the campus of Northwest Missouri State University.  They participated in some training with the director of campus ministry at the Newman Center before they set out in pairs to engage college students in conversation about Jesus Christ.FullSizeRender IMG_0020

Seminary Fundraiser


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Friday evening was our 7th Annual Partnering for Future Priests (PFP) seminary dinner/auction fundraiser.  The dinner was held in St. Joseph in the parish hall at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.  More than 200 friends and benefactors joined the monks of Conception Abbey, priests of the diocese, and the seminarians of Conception Seminary College.  The evening included several raffles, a silent auction, baked goods, served meal, mariachi band, and live auction.

Thank you to all of our benefactors for their support of our primary apostolate– training men for the priesthood at Conception Seminary College.

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Alumni & Open House


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This past weekend was our annual Alumni Reunion Weekend.  We welcome more than 100 alumni.  Many of them were eager to return to see the newly renovated monastery, a capital campaign to which many of them contributed generously.IMG_8691

Bishop Pates (Diocese of Des Moines) was the Guest Speaker for Alumni Day and he also celebrated Mass for the seminary and monastery communities.IMG_8263 IMG_8301 IMG_8349

Below:  Fr. John Kappe (Hitchcock, Texas) received the Distinguished Alumnus Award.IMG_8377

Seminarians and alumni had the opportunity to take a tour of the monastery.IMG_8400

Seminarians enjoy posing for pictures in the monastery barbershop.IMG_8441 IMG_8455 IMG_8460

Friday evening we hosted the first annual Alumni Volleyball Tournament.  The freshmen, sophomore, juniors, seniors & pre-theology students had a team, as well as the alumni in the 5 team round robin tournament.IMG_8516 IMG_8555 IMG_8574  IMG_8638

The junior class wore all black clothes.  They finished 2nd overall, with the senior class winning it all.IMG_8641

Below:  My classmates and I graduated in 2005, and we celebrated our 10 year reunion.IMG_8671

Tuesday evening, the Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael was the annual open house for St. Michael Hall.  The freshmen and sophomore floors were open for other seminarians and monks to take tours.  Many of the men shared their musical talents.IMG_8707 IMG_8714 IMG_8719 IMG_8720 IMG_8724 IMG_8728 IMG_8729 IMG_8732 IMG_8733 IMG_8735 IMG_8739

Catholic Radio with Bishop Pates


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Bishop Pates called into his regular show on Friday mornings on Des Moines Catholic Radio from Conception Seminary College.  He spoke about his experiences of being in Washington, D.C. during Pope Francis’ Apostolic visit.  Bishop Pates had Abbot Gregory, Fr. Brendan, and the three Des Moines seminarians join him for the hour long radio program.

It was neat to see the radio show “behind-the-scenes” from the President-Rector’s office.IMG_8259 IMG_8257 IMG_8246 IMG_8228

KC Golf & Dinner


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The days continue to be very busy with many good activities.  Yesterday was the annual Priests and Seminarians Appreciation Dinner and Golf outing.  The proceeds from the event benefit Conception Seminary College.  It is a day to say “thank you” to the priests who serve in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.  Several of the seminarians and priests from the Abbey played in the golf tournament or attended the evening BBQ dinner.  It is a nice time to be able to visit with our many priest alumni of the two dioceses and people who support us.

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Tri-C Celebration


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We welcomed another monastery vocation guest who was here for the weekend visiting our community.  He and Archbishop Jerome were discussing gardens, so we took a tour of the gardens Sunday morning.

Above:  Our vocation guest and Archbishop Jerome checking out the cherry tomatoes.
Below:  Br. Justin picking Habanero peppers to make some salsa.

We had our annual Tri-C Celebration on campus again this year.  It was great to welcome our local friends for a beautiful afternoon of relaxation and entertainment.  Several people participated in the talent show, displaying musical talent, while there were plenty of games to entertain the kids and delicious grilled food to eat.

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 Some seminarians perform during the talent show.IMG_7969 IMG_8018 IMG_8030 IMG_8063 IMG_8067 IMG_8077

Labor Day Weekend


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It was a warm Labor Day Weekend in Missouri.  Saturday morning I was at Viking Lake with the students from the Newman Center at Northwest Missouri State.  We had Mass, then spent a few hours swimming and going out on the boat.  Several of the priests from the Abbey take turns on the weekends celebrating Mass and ministering to the Newman students.

Back at the Abbey, the weather was particularly nice on Sunday.  Everything is looking nice and green for September.

Below:  The front porch of the monastery is finished.  The new entrance matches the brickwork that adorns the stairs leading from the parking lot to the Basilica.

Below:  Once inside, this is what people see.  There is a quote from our founder, Abbot Frowin Conrad, along with his picture.  

We had our annual Labor Day picnic, with both the seminary and monastic community coming together.  The seminarians were on a Day of Recollection for the past 24 hours, and their silence concluded with the cookout.

Above:  Fr. Pat, Fr. Albert, and the other chaplains are usually in charge of the grilling.  We had steaks!

Below:  The seminarians like playing hacky sack.
Below:  The monks and seminarians make their way through the food line.

Donor Thank You


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On Sunday we invited our donors and benefactors to join us for Mass, a banquet, and an open house and tour of the newly renovated monastery. Many local friends from around the Abbey were also invited to take a look at our new house.  The Basilica was completely filled with guests as we extended our hospitality and communicated our gratitude.  Thank you!

Above:  Guests even fill the north transept for overflow seating.
Below:  Abbot Gregory is the principal celebrant and homilist.

Below:  Monks were stationed in the various rooms on the first two floors of the monastery to offer information about the rooms.
Above:  A tour of the sacristy with all of the accessories out on display.
Below:  Br. Maximilian explains what goes on in the sacristy to guests.

Above:  A future monk in a few years, perhaps?
Below:  Brother Luke welcomes guests in the junior recreation room.

Above:  Fr. Norbert walks with a group of guests.

A New School Year with New Leadership


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We officially welcomed Fr. Brendan Moss, O.S.B. (St. Meinrad Archabbey) and Fr. Pat York (Diocese of Wichita) to the Conception Seminary community.  Fr. Brendan was installed as President-Rector in a very beautiful and joyful ceremony on Sunday.  He was joined by family, friends, monastic confreres of St. Meinrad, and the Conception community.  Fr. Pat takes over as Vice-Rector and Dean of Students.

I made a couple fun videos of each of the priests so that everyone can get to hear some of their interests and responses.  Check out these two videos!

Below:  Sunday’s celebrate began with Eucharist with Fr. Brendan presiding and preaching.  He took the Oath of Fidelity at Mass.oath

After Mass, all gathered for a festive banquet meal.banquet

After the banquet, there was the opportunity for guests and benefactors to take a tour of the seminary residence floors.  The Inauguration, which included an academic procession, took place at 1:30 PM.basilica
Below:  Abbot Gregory installs Fr. Brendan as President-Rector.

Above:  Fr. Brendan addresses all who were assembled.
Below:  Fr. Brendan, Abbot Gregory, and Archbishop Jerome sing the closing hymn of thanksgiving.three

Seminary Orientation 


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The new seminarians arrived and are slowly getting accustom to campus.  As the new freshmen chaplain, I have the privilege of living on the residence floor with 26 freshmen.  Yes, it is good news…numbers are up, with total enrollment at 108.  This news is a great cause for hope in the Church.

The freshmen seem to have a variety of interests, but I was surprised how many of them play the guitar.  I haven’t counted the precise number of guitars, but it’s probably close to 10.

Almost all of the seminarians on the 4th floor of St. Michael’s Hall have one roommate, and they already seem to enjoy spending time with one another. 

Seminary Community Council President, Kevin Lenius, leads the group of 50 new students in an ice breaker during the social Thursday evening.

Below:  Fr. Macario and the seminarians are playing a game of Jenga.

Below:  Other seminarians are playing giant Jenga.

Below:  Fr. Xavier, Director of Spiritual Formation, offers some words of wisdom with a conference on the seminary spiritual practices and schedule.  


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