Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

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Five monks celebrate jubilees

May 30, 2017

170523_Jubilee Portrait _2017

The Benedictine monks at Saint Meinrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad, IN, celebrated the jubilees of five of their confreres on May 28, 2017. Honored were Fr. Germain Swisshelm, 60 years of monastic profession; Fr. Sebastian Leonard and Fr. Aurelius Boberek, 60 years of priesthood ordination; and Fr. Matthias Neuman and Fr. Ephrem Carr, 50 years of priesthood ordination.

Fr. Germain is a native of Orrville, OH. He professed his vows on August 15, 1957, and was ordained on September 25, 1960. He completed a BA in philosophy and a BA in history at Saint Meinrad. He also did graduate studies at Indiana University, Oklahoma University and San Marcos University in Lima, Peru.

From 1960-62, Fr. Germain taught at Saint Meinrad's St. Placid Hall. In 1962, he was a founding member of Saint Meinrad's mission in Huaraz, Peru. He taught at the seminary and high school in Huaraz and was an associate pastor at San Juan de Lurigancho Parish in Lima. Fr. Germain served for four years as prior of Los Pinos.

While in Peru, Fr. Germain undertook Quechna studies and was founder of Estudios Culturales Benedictinos, which produced a Quechua-Spanish dictionary and several other texts, including a nine-volume manuscript of the New Testament in Quechua.

Since 1979, Fr. Germain has been working in the carpenter shop and is custodian of Mass intentions.

Fr. Sebastian is a native of Indianapolis, IN. He professed vows on August 1, 1952, and was ordained May 3, 1957.

Fr. Sebastian earned a bachelor's degree from Saint Meinrad College and a baccalaureate in sacred theology from The Catholic University of America. He has a master's from Georgetown University and a doctorate from The University of Oxford, both in history.

For 25 years, Fr. Sebastian taught modern Church history at Saint Meinrad School of Theology. During some of those years, he also taught history at Saint Meinrad College and served as choirmaster for the monastic community. In 1983, he was appointed associate pastor at St. David Church, Davie, FL.

In 1995, Fr. Sebastian became a chaplain and teacher at the Canterbury School in New Milford, CT. When he retired in 2015, he was the school's longest-serving chaplain.

Fr. Aurelius is a Brooklyn, NY, native. He professed vows on August 1, 1952, and was ordained on May 3, 1957. Fr. Aurelius received a master's in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame and a master's from Indiana University.

Fr. Aurelius was a professor and dean of students at Saint Meinrad College for many years. Following graduate studies, he was a professor, pre-theology dean and vice rector of Saint Meinrad School of Theology. He was also master of ceremonies and assistant director of the oblate program for the Archabbey.

He taught at the American College in Belgium, from 1997 to 2008, as director of liturgy and professor of homiletics, as well as two years as vice rector. When he retired, he was awarded the college's first Archbishop Fulton Sheen Medal.

Fr. Matthias is a native of Huntingburg, IN. He came to Saint Meinrad in 1955 to attend high school. He earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Saint Meinrad College in 1964, a Master of Divinity from Saint Meinrad School of Theology in 1967, and licentiate and doctorate degrees in systematic theology at Sant' Anselmo in Rome.

He joined the monastery in 1961, professing his vows as a Benedictine on August 15, 1962. He was ordained a priest on September 24, 1967. He taught theology at Saint Meinrad School of Theology from 1969 to 1981. The next year, he began an eight-year stint as professor of theology and director of the pre-theology program at Saint Meinrad College.

Other assignments have included director of the Summer Session Program, director of continuing education, and associate pastor and pastoral resource theologian for the Diocese of Nashville, TN. Currently, he serves as chaplain for Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, IN, and an adjunct professor for Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology.

Fr. Ephrem, a native of Toledo, OH, professed his monastic vows on August 15, 1963, and was ordained a priest on September 24, 1967. He received a licentiate in Eastern Church studies in 1970 from the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome. In 1978, he received his doctorate in theology from Sant' Anselmo in Rome.

In addition to teaching at Saint Meinrad from 1970-78 and 1981-87, he served as academic dean of the School of Theology for six years. He also served as subprior (third in leadership) of the monastery from 1978-86.

Fr. Ephrem was on the faculty at Pontifical Athenaeum Sant' Anselmo from 1986-2013, where he taught courses in Oriental liturgy, Oriental monasticism and Syriac. He also is the author and editor of many scholarly articles and books. From 2008-12, he served as president of the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy in Rome.

Currently, he is on the faculty of Institutum Liturgicum in London, England.

Photo: From left are Benedictines Fr. Germain Swisshelm, Fr. Aurelius Boberek, Fr. Sebastian Leonard, Fr. Ephrem Carr and Fr. Matthias Neuman.