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The monks’ Christmas celebrations continued as we opened the New Year with the Universal Church by honoring the feast of Mary, Mother of God. New Year’s Eve in the monastery was fairly quiet, and I doubt that any of the monks stayed up until midnight to welcome in the New Year.

The Prior, Fr. Daniel, had Mass for us in the Basilica today, while Abbot Gregory celebrated Mass for the Benedictine Sisters at Clyde, which he customarily does on this feast day.

Throughout the Octave of Christmas, the monks have been having a 3:00pm “break-time” (which we call “Collation”) with a snacks and refreshments. It is a time for the community to gather in celebration and enjoy one another’s company in an informal environment in the monastery’s coffee room. As we visited with one another, we glanced out the window and watched the snow continue to fall, just the first of many gifts that will come during this year.

Postulant Eric and I braved the weather to make the journey to the exercise facility, the John Paul II Fitness Center. While it is only a couple hundred yards away from the monastery, the cold and snow gathering on the sidewalk made it feel like a longer walk. Since the seminarians are on Christmas vacation until January 6th, the gym was very quiet.

On our return before Vespers, I snapped this picture of Br. Placid clearing the sidewalks with the Bobcat. I estimate that close to 4 inches of snow had fallen at that point. And, as I write this note, I can hear the plow scraping the pavement outside in the parking lot, clearing the driveways for our employees as they return tomorrow for work.

Blessings on your New Year 2014!

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