Evergreene Architectural Arts of New York (the company that restored our murals in the basilica) will restore the Beuronese murals in the refectory and add several new murals in both the refectory and the chapter room. They have also advised the community in applying decorations around the walls of those same rooms and around some doorways of the 1st floor. One Artist from Evergreene arrived on site to do the much needed work.
Saturday evening we hosted a group of eight couples who live around the Abbey. All of them are parishioners at St. Columba’s in Conception Junction. Many from the group get together regularly to have supper and play cards, so I decided to host them at the monastery. We played in the Alumni Union in St. Maur Hall, which has enough tables and chairs to accommodate such a group.
We ate some delicious food and played 10-point Pitch. Six of the monks played cards and several others came to visit and greet our guests. We had five tables, and each winning pair would advance in order to try to remain undefeated at the Head Table.
It was a great way to celebrate the Easter Octave, enjoying good food and good company. Hopefully we will host another party in the fall.
The monastery renovation is progressing well. I anticipate that we will see some rapid and dramatic changes during the next couple of months. The monks are still planning on a July 1 move-in date.
Above: Monastery courtyard with new sidewalk
Below: New stairwell on the northeast side of the monastery
Below: Br. Blaise and Br. Thomas taking a look at the progress on the 1st floor.
Above: Landing area in the center stairwell with finished wooden window sills.
Below: Chapter room with recently added ceiling beams.
Above and Below: Monastic dining room.
Fr. Guerric and I traveled to Sioux City, Iowa to speak to their youth group about consecrated life. Two Divine Mercy Sisters from Massachusetts were also there to talk about their life.
The group had excellent questions for us and I wish we had more time to answer them all.
The evening concluded with Adoration, and Fr. Guerric and I were available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We pose with the Pope Francis cutout. Very realistic!
Happy Easter! Alleluia!
The seminarians are away on Easter Vacation and the monastic community is enjoying a peaceful and cheerful Easter Octave.
Tonight the Benedictine Sisters from Clyde will join us for Evening Prayer and supper- a long held tradition. All week long the monks will have a 3:00pm gathering with appetizers and a time to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection.
Our Easter Vigil began at 4:30am on Sunday morning and it was a beautiful liturgy, finishing right around 7:10am.
These are some pictures from the past few days, both outside and at the Easter Vigil.
Below: I wish it were an eagle, but it was just a pigeon that was on the other side of the window while I was walking through the monastery. I was about 6 inches away on the other side of the glass and it didn’t fly away.
Below: Pictures from the Easter Vigil and the decorations in the Basilica.
It takes the coordination and help of many people in order to put together one of the most beautiful Easter Vigils around. The Vigil at Conception Abbey begins in complete darkness and silence at 4:30am Easter Sunday. The Easter fire is lit outside in front of the Basilica.
This afternoon the Sacristan, Br. Bernard, was getting everything ready and going through his lists to make sure he wasn’t forgetting anything. The Master of Ceremonies had their practices with the servers earlier today. And, the schola (choir) and musicians were warming up and practicing in the Basilica.
Here are a few liturgical items that we will use at our Easter Vigil.
Above: This year’s Easter candle.
Below: The Engelberg chalice that is used only on special solemn feast days.
Below: The metal crozier that Abbot Gregory will use. I believe this crozier originally belonged to Abbot Philip Ruggle.
We even need flowers to decorate the Basilica. We ordered about 50 Easter lilies, but Postulant Luke and Brother Blaise went around looking for flowers to use in an arrangement.
Above: Postulant Luke, 10 days into living the monastic life, and still has a great smile.
Below: Brother Blaise, probably the reason why Postulant Luke is laughing.
Below: The magnolias are in full bloom.
Today we begin the Paschal Triduum as we journey toward the joy of Easter. This year I will help out with the liturgies at the Newman Center at Northwest Missouri State. We have many people join us at the monastery for the Triduum. Guests are always welcome to join the monks for prayer. In fact, we already have 40-50 guests who are planning on joining us. Please see the schedule below in case you are in the area and able to pray with us.
The weather has been beautiful lately. It certainly feels more like Spring. I took a few pictures of the birds that were flying around in the morning. The magnolia trees are beginning to bloom as well. I will post more pictures in the days ahead.
This past weekend I traveled to Nebraska for a junior high and high school youth event. The event was in Kearney at the Catholic High School. The event was called “Going Bananas for Jesus.” I guess the title has some kind of history to it, which I only received part of the story. They did, however, eat banana splits on Saturday afternoon.
During this Year of Consecrated Life, I was invited to represent religious men and talk about monastic life. I assisted in two 45-minute mini-sessions. It is their largest youth event of the year, and the entire event welcomed 500 young people, and another 200 chaperones.
I had a chance to visit with some of our alumni serving in the Diocese of Grand Island, including Fr. Jose Chavez, Fr. Josh Brown, and Fr. Neal Hock. Also, it was great to meet and have Mass with their new bishop, Bishop Joseph Hanefeldt. He was ordained only about 10 days ago!
Below: Some of the Christ the King teaching sisters and I talk to the kids about religious life.