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.
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Happy Feast of the Angels, Michael, Raphael and Gabriel! This is, in many ways, a secondary patronal feast for the monks of Conception Abbey. In celebration of the angels, the freshmen and sophomore seminary dormitory, St. Michael’s Hall had its annual open house. Monks and seminarians were invited to check out the living quarters of the seminarians and socialize for a while Thursday evening. Snacks and refreshments were provided.
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.
The Infirmary addition construction is coming along nicely. This past week workers sprayed on a foam insulation on the exterior of the building.
Below: On Sunday morning there was a fog descending upon the Abbey. One of our neighbors took this picture and shared it with me.
We are blessed to have Abbot Christian Meyer of Engelberg as our guest this week. Since 2010 he has been the 59th abbot of our 900 year old mother house and this is his first visit to the United States. He will attend the meeting of Abbots President at St. Meinrad Archabbey next week and then visit the other daughter house in Mount Angel after that. Tuesday he celebrated Mass for the Clyde sisters on “Founders’ Day” and preached beautifully on the prophetic vocation of the founders of that community from Maria Rickenbach in Switzerland. The sisters celebrated with a beautiful banquet afterward and he spoke to them of the Benedictine communities of nuns and sisters in Switzerland. Later he visited with the sisters at Our Lady of Rickenbach and he shared more stories with them.
Tuesday evening Abbot Christian spoke to the monks during our community meeting time after Vespers. He spoke about the school at Engelberg, which is really three schools: their college preparatory religious school, the town high school and a specialized high school for winter sports athletes—all of which share their facilities.
He also spoke at length of their daughter-house in Cameroon, where he spends one month a year to assist. They have seventeen African members and many challenges and opportunities.