A reader asked about our Advent traditions in the house. To answer, we celebrate Advent much as other Catholics and Christians do. We have a penance service, decorate with Advent wreaths, and attend special Advent conferences or talks on Wednesdays.
A few days before Christmas, we have a Christmas tree trimming party. Many of us also spend much time preparing for the Christmas season, attending extra music rehearsals and planning for the liturgies. The liturgies of the Advent season are especially beautiful, and the community seems to appreciate the arrival of the “O Antiphons” and many of the beautiful Advent hymns we sing every year.
Overall, the atmosphere of the house is one of hopeful expectation as we await the arrival of Christmas and all the busyness and joy that accompany that season.
On three Wednesdays in Advent, we enjoyed conferences presented by our Fr. Godfrey and Fr. Mateo, and also Sister Jeana Visel of Monastery Immaculate Conception, Ferdinand, IN. Fr. Godfrey and Fr. Mateo both spoke about spirituality in Advent, and Sister Jeana spoke about iconography of the Advent season. She showed many slides of icons and explained their meanings and symbols.
Br. Luke Turner, a Benedictine monk of St. Benedict Abbey, Atchison, KS, who is studying for the priesthood with us, was ordained to the diaconate. We offer him our continued prayers and fraternal support!
We hosted many new oblates to the hill for oblate investitures and promises. Fr. Denis Robinson offered their retreat, and his conferences were well received.
Candidate Dennis’ petition to enter the novitiate was accepted by the chapter, and he looks forward to his investiture as a novice on January 21. Let us pray for him, and for more like him!
The sacrament of the anointing of the sick was offered at Vespers on Wednesday, December 19, for our ill and aging confreres.
In Advent, we mourned the passing of our Fr. Benedict. His constantly cheerful and prayerful presence is missed by the community. Fr. Germain offered his remembrance at the Office of the Dead, and Fr. Lambert offered the homily at his funeral Mass.
Christmas was a joyful experience, as always. At dinner on Christmas Eve, the community enjoys listening to music in place of the usual table reading. This year’s selection was the choral album “Christmas Night,” by the Cambridge Singers, conducted by John Rutter.
The community was grateful for the presence of many guests at our Christmas liturgies.
Brothers Zachary and Simon attended the SEEK vocation conference in Indianapolis, where they set up a booth and acquainted some 5,000 young Catholics discerning a vocation with our way of life.
Our Br. Lorenzo, who is studying liturgy at Sant' Anselmo in Rome, spent 10 days of his Christmas break at our mother house of Einsiedeln in Switzerland. He reports that Abbot Urban and the other monks were very welcoming and gracious. It is always good to connect with our “brothers across the sea.” Br. Lorenzo is a skilled amateur filmmaker, and he recorded three short films about his time at Einsiedeln. You can watch them by following this link:
Thanks for reading! As always, readers can submit any questions they have about the monastery to firstname.lastname@example.org and hope to see the question answered in a future edition.