The Cornhusker State


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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.

Joyful News


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It was a dreary and rainy day, but that didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits.  For the monks of Conception Abbey, it was a joyful day.  Not only were we able to celebrate the Annunciation of the Lord, but this morning we also received a new member to our monastic community.

Luke Downing (Wichita, Kansas) was received as a postulant this morning.  The brief ceremony involved his knocking on the monastery door and being received by the Abbot.  Since the monastery is being renovated, Luke knocked on the Basilica front door where he was addressed by Abbot Gregory.  After his words of welcome and instruction, they went to the Blessed Sacrament chapel to pray.

Later, he was given to the care of the Novice-Junior Master, Br. Bernard, and was clothed with the tunic.

What a joyful an exciting day for our community!  God continues to bless us with good candidates for our community.

In other news, I was walking across campus when I saw Novice Eric doing his afternoon routine delivering the mail on campus.  But, I noticed that his mother was visiting and she came along for the ride and helped him carry these boxes into the seminary building.  It is wonderful when family come to visit the monks!

Monastic Humor


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This past weekend we welcomed 3 men for our Monastic Experience Weekend.  It was great to have these guests especially as we celebrated the Feast of St. Benedict on Saturday.  Bishop Sis of the Diocese of San Angelo was the celebrant and homilist.  Please continue to pray for vocations.

Fr. Macario and I worked on a few humorous monastic videos.  It is important for everyone to know of the lighter side to monastic life.  We launched two different videos about the monastic habit on consecutive Saturdays.  Within 48 hours each video had more than 3,000 views on Facebook.  Enjoy the videos, and feel free to share with your friends.  There are many joys and blessings in monastic life!

This is Monastic Life:  The practical side of the monastic habit

This is Monastic Life:  The dangers of the monastic habit

Seminary Open-House


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Every year on the respective Feast Days (or “Namesdays”) of their buildings, the seminarians have their open-house.  Each building is named after a saint, so on the Feast of St. Michael (September 29), the freshmen and sophomores have open-house in St. Michael’s Hall. This year, the monks are occupying St. Joseph Hall, which is normally the dormitory for the juniors and seniors.  Therefore, the upperclassmen are residing in Marian Hall for the year.  So, on the feast of St. Joseph, we had the open-house in Marian Hall.

Why don’t the monks have open-house?
Good question.  Well, since the monastery is “cloistered” or private, we do not invite guests or seminarians on our residence floors.  We are all about hospitality, but we have to preserve the silence and privacy of the monastery, even if we are in temporary quarters.  Additionally, the monks’ rooms are probably very boring and the seminarians would not be too interested in it.  If you really want to see the monks’ rooms and live among us, I encourage you to join the monastery.  You can contact me, I’m the Vocation Director.

It is a short walk to Marian Hall where we were for last night’s open-house on the Feast of St. Joseph.  I have to admit that it was one of the most interesting open-house events I have ever experienced (emphasis on “interesting”).  First, there was a superhero theme, which as you can tell by the pictures (scroll down, they get pretty funny), some of the seminarians took very seriously.  Also, there were a lot of decorations, including converting the lounge into a bar with flashing lights and music which served non-alchoholic margaritas and had assorted snacks and appetizers.  There were flashing colorful lights that were more akin to a disco club or some sort of rave.  Many of the seminarians also had games in their rooms that they offered for the visitors, while others just offered you a seat to visit for a time.

It was an enjoyable evening.  The seminary and monastic communities have a good relationship, but the monks would not normally be permitted to “hang out” in a seminary dormitory.  So, it was a nice chance to see their rooms and celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph.

March Madness


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Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all the Irish (and all who wish they were Irish). We have a nice line-up of great saints this week:  St. Patrick, St. Joseph (March 19), and St. Benedict (March 21).  We celebrate the “passing” or “transitus” of St. Benedict as our solemnity, which is this Saturday.

Yesterday evening, even after the sun went down, it was around 80 degrees outside! This morning it was in the mid-30’s, quite the drastic change.  The 50’s would have felt comfortable for March, but we were spoiled the last week with some great weather and warm temperatures.  Fortunately, the sunny days continue!

Br. Justin organizes an NCAA Tournament each year for the monks, seminarians, faculty, and employees to participate in.  It only costs $1 to submit a bracket.  I’ve never one.  In fact, though I follow sports, I have a knack for picking the losing teams.  I consider it a gift.

Below:  Br. Justin’s office door and his neighbors have various college pennants decorating it (especially my Oklahoma State Cowboys).  One of the seminarians, Cruz Gallegos, picks up his bracket.

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Last Wednesday I helped out with the high school CCD classes at St. Columba’s parish in Conception Junction.  I like to assist with the games and lesson at least once a semester, it is good to get to know the youth from the local area.

The topics was about “Truth” and “Morality”, so we started them off with the game “Box of Lies.”  Two people sit across from one another and each selects a box that has been prepared by the teacher.  Inside the box are random objects (emphasis on random).  You describe what is in your box, and the other person tries to determine whether you are telling the truth or not.

Below: I am “in the zone” staring down one high school student to try to get inside her head.  I was successful and won both times.

Below: In my box was this doll with braided hair.

Below: In my opponents box was a pig inside a hamburger bun (aka “pork sandwich”).

Tomorrow evening I head over to the parish to help with the Reconciliation service for the young people.

Coffee Shop Night


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It is the middle of March.  The seminarians put on their annual seminary talent night, also known as, “Coffee Shop Night.”  The evening of entertainment featured a variety of acts featuring seminarians and monks:  comedy skits, musical acts, and even videos.  It is a nice time for the Abbey and Seminary community to gather and enjoy the evening together.

Above:  “President-Rector to be” Fr. Brendan Moss, addresses the audience at the beginning with some words about the importance of joy and mercy. We look forward to Fr. Brendan taking office in July.

Below:  Seminarians demonstrate their “beat-box” skills.

Below: Seminarian Nick performs a song he wrote.  He took 3rd place overall.

Below: Br. Cyprian and Fr. Peter get the crowd laughing with a comedy routine.

Below:  Cruz Gallegos and company perform a song they wrote.

Below:  The “Conceptones” give a new rendition of Psalm 133.

Anniversaries and Announcements


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congrats2Our confrere, Fr. Anthony, celebrates his 75th anniversary of monastic profession on this day.  He was born on August 21, 1921, professed in 1940, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 22, 1964.

Congratulations, Fr. Anthony!

In other news, it was announced recently that Fr. Brendan Moss of St. Meinrad Archabbey will serve as the new President-Rector at Conception Seminary College, an appointment which begins this summer.  We welcome Fr. Brendan to our campus.  Fr. Brendan will take over for Fr. Samuel Russell, who has served as Rector for the past 8 years.

I will copy the full press release below.Fr_Brendan_Moss_2014

Conception Seminary College Appoints New President Rector 

Conception, Mo.  – Conception Abbey and Conception Seminary College announce the appointment of the Rev. Brendan Moss, O.S.B., to the position of President Rector of Conception Seminary College in Conception, MO. Father Brendan is a Benedictine monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in Saint Meinrad, IN. He will take up his new responsibilities at Conception in August, succeeding the Rev. Samuel Russell, O.S.B., who is retiring from the office after eight years of distinguished service.

Father Brendan is originally from Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from Saint Meinrad College he entered the monastic community there. He was solemnly professed as a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in 1996 and ordained a priest in 2001. Father Brendan has a Doctorate of Ministry in Preaching from the Aquinas Institute of Saint Louis. He holds MDiv, and MA degrees from Saint Meinrad School of Theology, and a BA degree from Saint Meinrad College. He has also obtained a Certificate in Supervision from Saint Meinrad School of Theology. He garnered considerable experience in the field of priestly formation in his work at Saint Meinrad School of Theology, where he has served since 2006 in such various capacities as Formation Dean, instructor in the Permanent Diaconate Program, and director of the Lay Degree Program. He has also served in their Development Program and as Director of Enrollment. Father Brendan has also served in several pastoral assignments, and so will bring practical experience of ministry to his work in priestly formation as President Rector of Conception Seminary College.

The President Rector is the chief administrator of Conception Seminary College, which is conducted by the monks of Conception Abbey in Conception, Missouri. The office is integral to Conception’s mission of educating and forming candidates for ministry as priests in the Roman Catholic Church. A search for suitable candidates was conducted both within the monastic community of Conception Abbey and beyond, with the aim of identifying the best possible candidate for the position at this time. The Abbot’s Council of Conception Abbey served as the search committee, and final interviews of candidates involved the Academic Dean, the Dean of Formation, and the Spiritual Director of Conception Seminary College.

“We are happy to welcome Father Brendan to our educational and formational community,” said the Right Rev. Gregory Polan, O.S.B., abbot of Conception Abbey and chancellor of Conception Seminary College. “He brings a wealth of experience to his new responsibilities, and comes highly recommended both by his own abbot and by those with whom he has collaborated at Saint Meinrad. Importantly, he comes with much enthusiasm for this new position, coupled with a genuine respect for Conception Abbey, and for the work we have done in priestly formation at Conception Seminary College. We look to the future with confidence and hope, and we are confident that Father Brendan will exercise a most beneficial influence in both the seminary and monastic communities here at Conception during his time as President Rector.”

Conception  Seminary College is a Roman Catholic Seminary College preparing priesthood candidates for the Roman Catholic Church, through spiritual, intellectual, and character formation in the Benedictine tradition.  Visit us online,

Conception Abbey is a Benedictine monastery located in Conception, Missouri and home to Conception Seminary College, Abbey Guest Center and The Printery House.  Visit us online,


Shedding Light on it


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Yesterday evening we had a beautiful sunset. I was out front just as the sun was setting to catch these great pictures. We continue to enjoy weather that is in the 60’s. It looks like it should be highs in the 60s or 70s in to the weekend.



Below: Beautiful light and shadows in the Basilica.

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Feeling like Spring


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The weather is into the 60’s this weekend, and should stay there for the rest of the week.  Everyone is enjoying this weather after a rather dismal February.  The seminarians are enjoying an off-campus weekend and the monks are enjoying the quiet time and beautiful weather.  There are several guests here this weekend, including a Confirmation retreat group from Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

I went outside and took a few pictures while the sun was shining.









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