(1) Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion. Archabbot Justin presided
over the blessing of the palms on the steps of the Memorial Lobby
at 9:15 this morning; procession into the Archabbey Church and our
celebration of the Eucharist followed. The Passion According to
Mark was chanted. Until Holy Thursday, Brother Zachary is our
Office Heb for the week, and so he presided over Vigils-Lauds,
Midday Prayer, Vespers and Compline.
(2) Monday of Holy Week, and after Compline this evening we had
our annual Lenten Penance Service. Father Joseph presided and
preached, and Fathers Vincent, Columba, Meinrad, Harry and Sean
assisted as confessors.
(3) Tuesday of Holy Week. Father Abbot Justin and Brother Kim,
our custos of the church, drove to Indianapolis for the
archdiocese's Chrism Mass, presided over by our apostolic
administrator, the Most Rev. Christopher Coyne. The Bishop Emeritus
of Indianapolis, the Most Rev. Daniel Buechlein, is, of course,
with us! Brother Kim brought back a supply of the newly consecrated
oils, and so he will be supplying a number of our priest-monks with
refreshed vials of the oil of the sick.
(4) Wednesday of Holy Week. After Midday Prayer, Christopher
Elam of Bloomington, Indiana, was invested as an oblate novice in
the Archabbey Church. We ask God's blessings on all our
oblates! +++ During Vespers this evening, we celebrated
the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. After the reading, the
priests of the community followed Father Archabbot Justin in laying
hands upon Archbishop Daniel, Archabbot Bonaventure, Brother
Benedict, and Fathers Simeon, Rupert, Gavin and Augustine, and then
Abbot Justin anointed them. After Vespers, Fr. Prior Kurt
accompanied Fr. Abbot to the infirmary, for the anointing of our
confreres Fathers Richard, Benedict, Mel and Louis Hacker, and
(5) After Midday Prayer on this Holy Thursday, we invested Julie
Wilberding of Greencastle, Pennsylvania, as an oblate novice. Julie
is a niece of our Brother Zachary. God's blessings upon her and
upon all our oblates. +++ Our Mass of the Lord's Supper
began at five o'clock this afternoon. Archabbot Justin presided,
Fathers Bede and Denis assisted, and Brother Anthony of Assumption
Abbey served as deacon. Father Denis sang the gospel, and Father
Tobias offered the homily. After the homily, Abbot Justin washed
the feet of twelve - four monks and eight retreatants and guests,
and then presented each with a small gift. +++ Shortly
after the Eucharist, we enjoyed a traditional - and most delicious
- Holy Thursday supper of lamb in the Newman Dining Room with our
guests and retreatants.
(6) Good Friday of the Lord's Passion. Archabbot Justin presided
at our Solemn Liturgy, which began at three o'clock this afternoon.
The Passion According to Saint John was beautifully chanted by
Fathers Jeremy and Tobias and Brother John Mark. We ate our two
community meals today - midday and evening - in silence, listening
to a table reading that offered reflections on the Sorrowful
Mysteries of the rosary. About a half hour after the Solemn
Liturgy, the monastic community gathered in the Chapter Room for
our Chapter of Faults, again presided over by Archabbot Justin.
Compline at seven o'clock officially closed our day.
(7) The house was quiet most of the day, as final preparations
for the Easter Vigil were under way, usually behind the scenes. We
had table reading at our noonday meal, but shortly after Vespers we
enjoyed some prerecorded music at our "silent" evening meal. The
Easter Vigil began at eight o'clock, with Father Archabbot Justin
presiding, Fathers Julian and Adrian as assistants, and Brothers
Anthony Baker (Assumption Abbey, South Dakota) and Romain Baker
(Togo, West Africa) serving as deacons. Father Jeremy, choirmaster,
sung the Exsultet,and Father Germain blessed the water.
For many years, we have had the house tradition of bringing in a
lamb to be blessed by the abbot; we did indeed have a lamb, but
"technical reasons" kept it out of the ceremony (too small a
basket, too big a lamb, and a bladder that seemingly would never
empty!). Our Vigil of the Lord's Resurrection concluded just before
eleven o'clock, and many of us then adjourned to our refectory for
some wine and snacks before retiring after a long, but
grace-filled, day. Among those joining us for Holy Week and the
Triduum were 24 participants in a retreat offered by Father Denis,
titled "Reflections on the Triduum.
(8) Happy Easter! We observed our "most unusual" schedule of the
year on this Day of the Lord's Resurrection: breakfast at 7:30,
Lauds at 8:30, Midday Prayer at 11:30, followed by a social in our
calefactory and then a fine main meal in our refectory. After a few
quiet hours in the afternoon, we regrouped for II Vespers at 5
o'clock, followed by a buffet supper in our refectory. As usual,
Compline closed the day at 7:00. May the Lord's blessings be upon
us all, as we praise God for the gift of his Son-and may His Spirit
be upon us always!
(9) Easter Monday. We continued our festivities by enjoying
"Sunday Schedule" with its later rising and prayer times. Today is
an O.P.-ranked feast, and so Father Prior Kurt presided at our 9:30
Eucharist and offered the homily.
(10) Our seminarians are back to their classes and the monastery
is back to its regular weekday schedule. This Easter Tuesday is one
of two O.S.-ranked feasts ("Order of the Subprior"; the other is
December 27), and so Father Subprior Guerric presided at our
Eucharist. Brother Anthony, of Assumption Abbey, South Dakota,
offered the homily.
(11) A breezy, somewhat chilly Easter Wednesday. We continue to
sing the Alleluia refrain, but outside of our liturgies some of the
Easter leisure is gone-especially, as our students would say, for
them. Indeed, there are less than five weeks left in the semester
and that means, of course, a number of deadlines for papers and
projects are approaching. The school is looking forward to this
weekend, as the apostolic administrator of Indianapolis, the Most
Rev. Christopher Coyne, will ordain two seminarians to the
(12) This evening our Development Office hosted the Lincoln
Hills/Huntingburg Alumni and Friends Dinner. The evening began with
Vespers in the Archabbey Church, then a reception in the Alumni
Commons and supper in the Anselm Dining Room. We're glad to be able
to set aside some time to thank our friends for the support they
continue to give for the prayer and work of Saint Meinrad.
(13) The renovation of St. Bede and Newman halls continues, and
on schedule! This afternoon a committee met to discuss some of the
details of the dedication of the two projects, which will take
place on October 6.
(14) A somewhat rainy Saturday, but a happy one for our seminary
community. The Most Rev. Christopher Coyne, apostolic administrator
of our Archdiocese of Indianapolis, ordained two seminarians to the
transitional diaconate this morning: John Kamwendo for the
archdiocese and Todd Nance for the Diocese of Tulsa. Last week
Scott Woods and Christopher Mileski were ordained to the
transitional diaconate in their Diocese of Toledo. Their classmates
will be ordained over the next few weekends, also in their home
dioceses. God's blessings on all our new deacons!
(15) The Second Sunday of Easter and Father Harry, our Mass Heb,
presided and preached at the 9:30 Conventual Mass.
(16) The Monastery Chapter met after Compline this evening to
elect two monks to the Abbot's Council and a monk to the Seminary's
Board of Trustees.
(17) Father Harry preached at our Conventual Mass this
(18) We enjoyed our usual "special desserts" in the calefactory
after supper. +++ Earlier in the week we received word
that our Father Cassian, founder and prior of Monastero di San
Benedetto in Norcia, Italy, received the Pro Fidelitate et
Virtute Award from the Institute of Religious Life near
Chicago. Congratulations, Father Prior Cassian!
(19) After Vespers this evening, a number of monks joined Father
Abbot Justin in welcoming our co-workers for a social and supper.
This annual event is our Service Recognition Dinner, one small way
we express our appreciation to the many men and women who help keep
the hill up and running 24/7. Some of these men and women have been
working with us for over 50 years! We hold them and their families
in our prayers.
(20) Our Institute of Priests and Presbyterates concluded
session two of their World Priest Program today, which involved 10
participants and staff. +++ This evening Brother
Zachary began offering the Good Shepherd Women's Retreat, "Women of
the Bible," to 16 participants. +++ Father Subprior
Guerric, novice-junior master, Brother John Mark, socius, and
Novice Anushka left for Gethsemane Abbey (outside of Bardstown,
Kentucky) today, for the annual novitiate visit. After two days
experiencing the Cistercian ways of prayer and work, they'll return
to the hill in time for Vespers Sunday.
(21) About 25 monks enjoyed a pizza lunch at The UnStable after
Midday Prayer today. Pizza chefs Fathers Prior Kurt and Patrick
were assisted by second-year theology seminarian Timothy Wyciskalla
(Indianapolis) and first-year theology seminarians Adam Ahern
(Indianapolis) and Jeremy Goebel (Evansville). Two pizzas were also
delivered to our confreres and in the monastery infirmary and their
caretakers. +++ A few dozen young parishioners from the
Evansville Diocese parishes of St. Clement (Boonville) and St.
Rupert (Red Brush) were on the hill today, making a day-long
retreat in preparation for their Confirmation.
(22) Father Eugene, our Mass Heb, presided and preached at our
Conventual Mass this morning. +++ This afternoon
Matthew Scheeser, who had entered our novitiate this past January,
left the monastery to return to his home and, after a short break,
take up work as a church musician in the Washington, D.C., area. We
are grateful for Matthew's time with us, and pray the Lord continue
to guide him in his discernment.
(23) Today and tomorrow about 75 individuals will be on the
hill, participating in a meeting of school principals from
the Indianapolis Archdiocese.
(24) It has been announced that Father Mark (whose patronal
feast day we celebrate tomorrow), currently pastor at St. Mary's
Parish, Huntingburg, will be returning to the hill in August. He
will resume full-time teaching in our seminary, as well as offering
spiritual direction to our seminarians. Father Godfrey, currently
vice rector of our seminary, will become pastor of St. Mary's.
These appointments are effective in August.
(25) Feast of the Evangelist Mark. Father Eugene, our Mass Heb,
(26) Father Jeremy began a several-day retreat for 19 parish
secretaries, titled: "Caught in the Crosshairs: The Sacrifice of
Service." The secretaries come from parishes in Kentucky, Indiana,
Ohio, Tennessee and Illinois.
(27) A sad day for us. Forty-seven-year-old co-worker in our
Abbey Press IT Department Kevin Wilson collapsed in his office
shortly after noon today. All efforts to revive him proved
unsuccessful. Kevin leaves his wife and seven children, one of who
works in our Development Office. May his soul, and the souls of all
the faithful departed, rest in peace. +++ Our Board of
Overseers met for the first session of their spring meeting today.
Among those honored at the evening meal was John Wilson, who is
retiring from his position as general manager of the Abbey Press in
July. John has been working with us, first in the Business Office
and, more recently, in the Abbey Press, since the late 1970s. We're
most grateful for his service!
(28) The Board of Overseers concluded their spring meeting just
before noon. The Board of Trustees met after lunch, and Archabbot
Justin accepted their recommendation that Fr. Denis be appointed
for a second five-year term as president-rector of our seminary.
Congratulations, Father Denis! +++ Father Louis Hacker,
whose feast day we celebrate today, experienced chest pains this
morning, and so was admitted to the hospital in Jasper for
observation. We keep him in our prayers.
(29) Fourth Sunday of Easter. Father Adrian is our Mass
Heb. +++ The "first run" of Father Gavin's new play,
"Between Friends," concluded with an afternoon performance today;
the play premiered Friday evening, and had a second showing
Saturday evening. The final two performances are scheduled for next
weekend. The performances take place at the amphitheater at Lincoln
State Park. "Between Friends" details the "literary relationships"
among President Lincoln and Generals Grant and Sherman during the
Civil War. Well done, playwright and co-producer Father Gavin!
(30) On this last day of April, I prepare to hand over the next
few weeks of entries to the capable "pen" of Brother Francis
Wagner. Brother Francis professed his vows in 2008. He serves as
associate editor in our Publications Division (Path of Life
Publications) in our Abbey Press, in addition to his duties as
assistant director of oblates. Brother Francis will be keeping you
informed of things, while I take a few weeks of vacation-which
suggests our closing quote from St. Benedict's Rule for
"Brothers who are about to set out on a journey should commend
themselves to the prayers of all the brethren and the abbot…. And
no one should presume to tell anyone else what he has seen or heard
outside the monastery, for that causes great harm."
Chapter 67, "Brothers Who are Sent on a Journey"
Translation by Fr. Terence Kardong, OSB, monk of Assumption