Every fall the novices and juniors have an outing. This time around, I was in charge of organizing the event and taking them. I asked them what they would like to do for fun. Bowling? Mini-golf? They were all interested in going to a rock climbing gym. So, I called around and found a place in Blue Springs, Missouri that gave us a great group rate.
The primary purpose of our outing was to visit one of our monastic confreres who is in the hospital. We all loaded up in a mini-van after having celebrated Vigils, Lauds, and Mass. We prayed the Rosary together on our way to the Kansas City area. After a nice visit with our confrere in the hospital, we ate our sack lunch as we drove to the gym in Blue Springs.
It was a great team-building exercise. The Ibex Climbing Gym in Blue Springs was a great place for a group of six energetic men. First we went through a one hour long training course where we learned how to tie our own knots and how to belay one another.
Above: Novice Arturo, Novice Walter, and Br. Luke practice tying their knots. Safety first!
Above: The climbing instructor had us practicing how to belay one another, giving us the proper commands so that no one got hurt. Br. Luke belays (below) Novice Justin.
Above: Fr. Paul and Br. Matthew scale the wall.
In addition to climbing with harness and rope, the gym also offers “bouldering”- a form of rock climbing that is performed on large boulders, small rock formations or artificial rock walls, without the use of ropes or harnesses. Novice Walter (below) demonstrates.
Novice Arturo (above and below) uses various training equipment.
This past weekend was the Seminary’s annual Family Weekend. The bulk of the festivities took place Saturday afternoon and evening. Fr. Etienne, freshmen chaplain and Kitchenmaster, organized the outdoor picnic and the food tent. He spent most of the day preparing some delicious ribs! The weather was very pleasant for late-September and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. We welcomed around 150 guests on campus for the weekend.
This past Friday was our annual Alumni Reunion. There was a good showing from the Class of 1967, celebrating their 50th anniversary. The nice weather allowed the social hour to take place in the plaza area in front of St. Michael’s Hall.
This year’s speaker was Fr. Paul Turner. He was introduced by the new Director of Alumni, Br. Thomas Sullivan, OSB.
Br. Thomas (pictured above) introduces Friday afternoon’s speaker, Fr. Paul Turner (pictured below). Fr. Paul gave an excellent talk on the Eucharist and Holy Communion from the tabernacle. He is an engaging speaker and has a vast liturgical knowledge. We are happy to have him counted among our alumni.
Abbot Benedict celebrated the late afternoon Eucharist, which included the presentation of the Distinguished Alumni Service Award. This year’s award was given posthumously to Mr. Brian Bergkamp (Class of 2014). Brian exhibited heroic virtue in saving a woman from drowning. In the heroic act, he himself was swept away in the river.
The Bergkamp family receives the award.
Above: The alumni gather on the Basilica steps for a group photo.
Below: After Mass, Fr. Martin greets some of the alumni.
The social hour took place, which gave alumni, monks, and seminarians the opportunity to visit with one another.
benedictine monks, Benedictines, call, Conception Abbey, consecrated life, God, Jesus Christ, Monastery, monastic life, monks, ora et labora, prayer and work, priesthood, religious life, vocation, vocation story, vocations
I finished editing some more video. This brief video features Abbot Benedict Neenan sharing his vocation story and call to monastic life.
activities, Bishop Johnston, building, Conception Abbey, Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Family vocation day, legos, manuscripts, Monastery, monastic day, monastic life, St. Theresa's, vocation day, vocations, youth
On Saturday, August 19, I attend the Family Vocation Day for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. It was held at St. Theresa’s parish in Parkville, Missouri. The day began with Mass with Bishop Johnston. My role was to set up our vocation booth and help with the “Monastic Day” sessions for the boys attending the vocation day.
Br. Leven from St. Benedict’s Abbey (Atchison, KS) and I had the task of leading three sessions: one with 7-8th graders, one of Kindergarten to 3rd grade, and 4-6th grade boys. We gave them an experience of Benedictine ora et labora (prayer and work). We had them pray the Psalms alternating sides of choir, then they had their morning and afternoon “work” (which ended up just being two fun activities).
The first activity involved copying manuscripts. They boys sat at the tables (while Gregorian chant was playing in the background) and they copied a verse of the Bible, using their best hand-writing, and then they decorated the works with gold and silver crayons.
The second activity was more popular, and understandably so. The boys had the task of building a monastery out of Legos. They had several bins full of Legos and they had to construct the monastery church, dining room, monk rooms, barn, and other parts as well. The first group started the project and the later groups added to the project. By the end of the day there was a fairly impressive monastery building.
I enjoy attending these events because I am able to witness to the Benedictine way of life and encourage young people to be open to God’s call. It was a well-organized event, and our sessions were just one of many things going on throughout the school building. I also participated on a Vocation Panel during the lunch period with other priests and Vocation Directors.
Please continue to pray for vocations!