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November 30, 2010

2 monks installed acolytes

Twelve Saint Vincent seminarians, including Br. Maximilian Maxwell, OSB and Br. Jeremiah Lange, OSB from St. Vincent Archabbey and their classmates from six archdioceses and dioceses and one other monastery were installed in the Ministry of Acolyte on November 8 by Most Rev. Joseph P. McFadden, D.D., Bishop of Harrisburg, in the Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica. They are from the Archdiocese of Atlanta, the dioceses of Covington, Erie, Harrisburg, Savannah and Wheeling-Charleston, Saint Vincent Archabbey and the Monastery of Christ in the Desert.

Saint Andrew

[The acts of this apostle's martyrdom, though rejected by Tillemont, &c., are maintained to be genuine by Nat. Alexander, Hist. t. i. and by Mr. Woog, professor of history and antiquities in Leipsic, in learned dissertations, published in 1748 and 1751. The authority of this piece being contested, little stress is laid upon it, and the following account is gathered from the sacred writings, and those of the fathers.

St Andrew was a native of Bethsaida, a town in Galilee, upon the banks of the lake of Genesareth. He was the son of Jonas, or John, a fisherman of that town, and brother to Simon Peter, but whether elder or younger the Holy Scriptures have not acquainted us. They had afterwards a house at Capharnaum, where Jesus lodged when he preached in that city. It is no small proof of the piety and good inclinations of St. Andrew, that when St. John Baptist began to preach penance in the desert, he was not content with going to hear him as others did, but became his disciple, passed much of his time in hearing his instructions, and studied punctually to practice all his lessons and copy his example; but he often returned home to his fishing trade. He was with his master when St. John Baptist, seeing Jesus pass by the day after he had been baptized by him, said, "Behold the Lamb of God."[1] Andrew, by the ardour and purity of his desires and his fidelity in every religious practice, deserved to be so far enlightened as to comprehend this mysterious saying, and without delay he and another disciple of the Baptist went after Jesus, who drew them secretly by the invisible bands of his grace, and saw them with the eyes of his spirit before he beheld them with his corporal eyes. Turning back as he walked and seeing them follow him, he said, "What seek ye?" They said they desired to know where he dwelt; and he bade them come and see. There remained but two hours of that day, which they spent with him, and, according to several fathers, the whole night following. "O how happy a day, how happy a night did they pass I " cries out St. Austin. "Who will tell us what things they then learned from the mouth of their Saviour!"

Andrew, who loved affectionately his brother Simon, called afterwards Peter, could not rest till he had imparted to him the infinite treasure which he had discovered, and brought him to Christ that he might also know him. Simon was no sooner come to Jesus than the Saviour of the world admitted him as a disciple and gave him the name of Peter. The brothers tarried one day with him to hear his divine doctrine, and the next day returned home again. From this time they became Jesus’ disciples, not constantly attending upon him, as they afterwards did, but hearing him frequently, as their business would permit, and returning to their trade and family affairs again. Jesus, in order to prove the truth of his divine doctrine by his works, wrought his first miracle at the marriage at Cana in Galilee, and was pleased that these two brothers should be present at it with his holy mother. Jesus, going up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, stayed some days in Judea, and baptized in the Jordan. Peter and Andrew also baptized by his authority and in his name. Our Saviour being come back into Lower Galilee in autumn, and meeting one day Peter and Andrew fishing in the lake, before the end of the same year, he called them to a constant attendance upon the ministry of the gospel, saying that he would make them fishers of men. Whereupon they immediately left their nets to follow him, and never went from him again. The year following, the Son of God formed the college of his apostles, in which our two brothers are named by the evangelists at the head of the rest. Not long after Jesus went down to Capharnaum and lodged at the house of Peter and Andrew and, at the request of them both, cured Peter's wife's mother of a fever, by taking her by the hand and rebuking the fever, by which it left her When Christ would not send away the multitude of five thousand persons who had followed him into the desert till they were refreshed with some food, St. Philip said two hundred pennyworth of bread would not suffice. But Andrew seemed to express a stronger faith, saying there was a boy who had five barley loaves and two small fishes—which, indeed, were nothing among so many—but Christ could, if he pleased to exert his power, seeing he was greater than Eliseus who, with twenty loaves, fed a hundred men.[2] When Christ was at Bethania, at the house of Lazarus, a little before his Sacred Passion, certain Greeks who came to worship God at the festival, addressed themselves to Philip, begging him to introduce them to Jesus. Philip did not undertake to do it alone; but spoke to St. Andrew, and they both together spoke to their divine master and procured these strangers that happiness. This shows the great credit St. Andrew had with Christ; on which account St. Bede calls him the Introductor to Christ, and says he had this honour because he brought St. Peter to him. Christ having foretold the destruction of the temple, Peter, John, James, and Andrew asked him privately when that should come to pass, that they might forewarn their brethren to escape the danger.

After Christ's resurrection and the descent of the Holy Ghost, St. Andrew preached the gospel in Scythia, as Origen testifies. Sophronius, who wrote soon after St. Jerome and translated his catalogue of illustrious men and some other works into Greek, adds Sogdiana and Colchis. Theodoret tells us that he passed into Greece; St. Gregory Nazianzen mentions particularly Epirus and St. Jerom Achaia. St. Paulinus says this divine fisherman, preaching at Argos, put all the philosophers there to silence. St. Philastrius tells us, that he came out of Pontus into Greece, and that in his time people at Sinope were persuaded that they had his true picture, and the pulpit in which he had preached in that city. The Muscovites have long gloried that St. Andrew carried the gospel into their country as far as the mouth of the Borysthenes, and to the mountains where the city of Kiou now stands, and to the frontiers of Poland. If the ancients mean European Scythia, when they speak of the theatre of his labours, this authority is favourable to the pretensions of the Muscovites. The Greeks understand it of Scythia, beyond Sebastopolis in Colchis, and perhaps also of the European; for they say he planted the faith in Thrace, and particularly at Byzantium, afterwards called Constantinople. But of this we meet with no traces in antiquity. Several Calendars commemorate the feast of the chair of St. Andrew at Patrae, in Achaia It is agreed that he laid down his life there for Christ. St. Paulinus says, that having taken many people in the nets of Christ he confirmed the faith which he had preached by his blood at Patrae. St. Sophronius, St. Gaudentius, and St. Austin assure us that he was crucified; St. Peter Chrysologus says, on a tree; Pseudo-Hippolytus adds, on an olive-tree. In the hymn of Pope Damasus it is barely mentioned that he was crucified. When the apostle saw his cross at a distance, he is said to have cried out, "Hail, precious cross, that hast been consecrated by the body of my Lord, and adorned with his limbs as with rich jewels. I come to thee exulting and glad: receive me with joy into thy arms. O good cross, that hast received beauty from our Lord's limbs; I have ardently loved thee; long have I desired and sought thee: now thou art found by me, and art made ready for my longing soul; receive me into thy arms, taking me from among men, and present me to my master; that he who redeemed me on thee, may receive me by thee." The body of St. Andrew was translated from Patrae to Constantinople in 357, together with those of St. Luke and St. Timothy, and deposited in the Church of the Apostles, which Constantine the Great had built a little before. St. Paulinus and St. Jerome mention miracles wrought on that occasion. The churches of Milan, Nola, Brescia, and some other places, were at the same time enriched with small portions of these relics, as we are informed by St. Ambrose, St. Gaudentius, St. Paulinus, &c.

It is the common opinion that the cross of St. Andrew was in the form of the letter X, styled a cross decussate, composed of two pieces of timber crossing each other obliquely in the middle. That such crosses were sometimes used is certain; yet no clear proofs are produced as to the form of St. Andrew's cross. It is mentioned in the records of the duchy of Burgundy, that the cross of St. Andrew was brought out of Achaia and placed in the nunnery of Weaune, near Marseilles. It was thence removed into the abbey of St. Victor, in Marseilles, before the year 1250, and is still shown there. A part thereof, enclosed in a silver case gilt, was carried to Brussels by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy and Brabant, who, in honour of it, instituted the Knights of the Golden Fleece, who for the badge of their Order, wear a figure of this cross, called St. Andrew's cross, or the cross of Burgundy. The Scots honour St. Andrew as principal patron of their country, and their historians tell us that a certain abbot, called Regulus, brought thither from Patrae in 369, or rather from Constantinople some years later, certain relics of this apostle, which he deposited in a church which he built in his honour with a monastery called Abernethy, where now the city of St. Andrews stands. Usher proves that many pilgrims resorted to this church from foreign countries, and that the Scottish monks of that place were the first who were called Culdees.[3] Hungus, King of the Picts, soon after the year 800, in thanksgiving for a great victory which he had gained over the Northumbrians, gave to this church the tenth part of all the land of his dominions. Kenneth II, King of the Scots, having overcome the Picts, and entirely extinguished their kingdom in North Britain, in 845, repaired and richly endowed the Church of St. Regulus, or Rueil, in which the arm of St. Andrew was reverently kept. The Muscovites say he preached the faith among them, and honour him as the principal titular saint of their empire. Peter the Great instituted under his name the first and most noble order of knighthood, or of the blue ribbon; leaving the project of a second Order of St. Alexander Newski, or of the red ribbon, to be carried into execution by his widow.

St. Andrew, by conversing with Christ, extinguished in his breast all earthly passions and desires, and attained to the happiness of his pure divine love. We often say to ourselves that we also desire to purchase holy love, the most valuable of all treasures, and the summit of dignity and happiness. But these desires are fruitless and mere mockery unless we earnestly set about the means. We must first, with the apostle, leave all things; that is to say, we must sincerely and in spirit forsake the world (though we live in it), and must also renounce and die to ourselves before we can be admitted to the familiar converse of our Redeemer and God, or before he opens to us the treasure of his choicest graces. In the same proportion that the world and self-love are banished from our hearts shall we advance in divine love. But this great virtue is learned, exercised, and improved by conversing much with God in holy meditation, reading, and assiduous prayer and recollection; also by its external acts, in all manner of good works, especially those of fraternal charity and spiritual mercy.

November 23, 2010

Pics from around the Abbey

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Thank you, Lord of the Universe,
      for all the gifts
      you always offer me.
Thank you for all I receive:
      for the water that washes me,
      for the clothes I wear,
      for the bread that sustains me.
For my dwelling and my parents,
      for my sisters and brothers,
      and for my friends.
For the knowledge gained from striving,
      and for the toils of each day.
For the good mornings that have dawned upon me,
      for the light that shines upon me,
      and for the handshakes that link me to others.
For the time you have allotted me,
      for the life you have offered me,
      and for the blessings of each new day.
Thanks you for being with me, Lord,
      for listening to me,
      and for taking me seriously.
Thank you even for receiving today’s thank you.
Thank you, Lord, thank you very much.


November 16, 2010

Saint Gertrude

From: EWTN.com 

St Gertrude was of an illustrious family, born at Eisleben, or Islebe, in Upper Saxony, and sister to St. Mechtildes. At five years of age she was offered to God in the Benedictine nunnery of Rodalsdorf, and at thirty was chosen abbess of that house in 1251; and the year following was obliged to take upon her the government of the monastery of Heldelfs, to which she removed with her nuns. In her youth she studied Latin, as it was then customary for nuns to do; she wrote and composed in that language very well, and was versed in sacred literature. Divine contemplation and devout prayer she always looked upon as the principal duty and employment of her state, and consecrated to those exercises the greatest part of her time. The passion of our Redeemer was the favourite object of her devotions; and in meditating on it, or on the blessed Eucharist, frequently she was not able to contain the torrents of tears which flowed from her eyes. She spoke of Christ and of the mysteries of his adorable life with so much unction, and in such transports of holy love, as to ravish those who heard her. Ecstacies and raptures of the divine love, and the gifts of divine union in prayer, were familiar to her. She mentions that once hearing those words, "I have seen the Lord face to face," sung in the church, she saw, as it were, a divine face, most beautiful and charming, whose eyes pierced her heart and filled both her soul and body with inexpressible delight which no tongue could express.[1] The divine love, which burnt in her breast and consumed her soul, seemed the only spring of all her affections and actions. For this precious grace her pure soul was prepared by the crucifixion of her heats to the world and to inordinate self-love in all its shapes. Watching, fasting, abstinence, perfect obedience, and the constant denial of her own will were the means by which she tamed her flesh and extirpated or subdued whatever could oppose the reign of the most holy will of God in her affections. But profound humility and perfect meekness had the chief part in this work, and laid the foundation of the great virtues end graces to which the divine mercy raised her. Though she was possessed of the greatest natural talents and of most extraordinary gifts of divine grace, her mind was penetrated and entirely filled only with the deepest sentiments of her own nothingness, baseness, and imperfections. It was her sincere desire that all others should have the same contempt of her which she had of herself, and she used to say that it seemed to her one of the greatest of all the miracles of God's infinite goodness that his divine majesty was pleased to suffer the earth to bear her. Though she was the superior and mother of the rest, she behaved I towards them as if she had been the lowest servant and one that was unworthy ever to approach them: and such were the sincere sentiments of her heart. How much soever she gave herself up to the exercises of heavenly [contemplation, she, neglected not the duties of Martha, and was very solicitous in attending to all the necessities of everyone, and in providing all things for them, especially all spiritual helps. Her tender devotion to the mother of God sprang from the ardour of her love for the divine Son. The suffering souls in purgatory had a very great share in her compassion and charity.

We have a living portraiture of her pure and holy soul in her short book of "Divine Insinuations, or Communications and Sentiments of Love," perhaps the most useful production, next to the writings of St. Teresa, with which any female saint ever enriched the church, for nourishing piety in a contemplative state. The saint proposes exercises for the renovation of the baptismal vows, by which the soul entirely renounces the world and herself, consecrates herself to the pure love of God, and devotes herself to pursue in all things his holy will. The like exercises she prescribes for the conversion of a soul to God, and for the renovation of her holy spiritual espousals, and the consecration of herself to her Redeemer by a bond of indissoluble love, praying that she may totally die to herself, and be buried in him, so that he alone, who is her holy love, be acquainted with this her hidden state or sepulchre, and that she may have no other employment but that of love, or what his love directs. These sentiments she repeats with admirable variety throughout the work and, in the latter part, dwells chiefly on the most ardent desires of being speedily united to her love in everlasting glory, entreating her divine Redeemer, by all his sufferings and infinite mercies, to cleanse her perfectly from all earthly affections and spots, that she may be admitted to his divine presence. Her desires were at length fulfilled and, having been abbess forty years, she was called to the embraces of her heavenly spouse in 1292, her sister Mechtildes being dead some time before. The last sickness of St. Gertrude seemed rather a languishing of divine love than a natural fever; so abundantly did her soul enjoy in it the sweetest comforts and presence of the Holy Ghost. Miracles attested how precious her death was in the sight of God. She is honoured with an office in the Roman Breviary on this day. The Lypsanographia, or catalogue of relics kept in the electoral palace of Brunswick-Lunenbourg, printed at Hanover in 1713, in folio, mentions, amongst others, the relics of St. Gertrude in a rich shrine.

The exercises by which St. Gertrude made such sublime advances in the school of divine love all tended to the closest union of her heart to God by the most inflamed desires and purest affections: and were directed at the same time to remove all obstacles to this union by cleansing her soul and purifying her affections by tears of compunction, by the renunciation of sensual delights and the most perfect denial of herself. Hence she prayed continually that by the grace of the omnipotent divine love she might be strengthened to resign herself to holy love, so that nothing of self should remain in her, but should be totally consumed by the flame of holy love, like dust carried away by the wind, so as not to leave the least grain or trace behind.[2] For this exterior action, both of self-denial and of charity, zeal, and all other virtues are necessary; but interior exercises are far more essential, in which the soul must frequently in the day raise herself up to God by the most ardent desires of love, praise, and thanksgiving, and study to die to herself by sincere and repeated sentiments of humility, compunction, meekness, patience, and self-denial.

November 11, 2010

A Prayer for our Departed Veterans

O God, by whose mercy the faithful departed find rest, look kindly on your departed veterans who gave their lives in the service of their country. Grant that through the passion, death, and resurrection of your Son they may share in the joy of your heavenly kingdom and rejoice in you with your saints forever. We ask this through Christ  our Lord. 

November 10, 2010

Popular Catholic author and EWTN host speaks to our college students at weekly Tapping Theology Event

EWTN host and popular Catholic author Mike Aquilina traveled to Latrobe last week to speak to our college students on the topic of Exploring Ancient Christian Symbols.  Father Vincent Zidek, OSB, director of St. Vincent Campus Ministry and Fr. Jean-Luc Zadroga, OSB, assistant director, offer this program (Tapping Theology) to St. Vincent College students on a weekly basis to allow them an opportunity to explore their faith in a relaxed setting.  To learn more about our dynamic Campus Ministry program please see the following links: http://www.stvincent.edu/campus_ministry, http://www.facebook.com/SVCCampusMinistry#!/SVCCampusMinistry?v=wall.  To learn more about Mike Aquilina and his work check out his website: http://www.mikeaquilina.com/
Photos by Fr. Vincent Zidek, OSB

November 9, 2010

Lateran Basilica

The Church today needs a refuge and strength. There may not be earthquakes or volcanoes in the city of Rome, but there is ever-present danger for the Church, the Body of Christ. In celebrating the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the mother church of the Latin Rite, we honor all the dwelling places of the Most High. The Holy Spirit is the divine stream whose runlets gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High. The LORD God is in the midst of his people who gather in all the churches throughout the world, east and west. He will help us at the break of every day. He is with us as our true dwelling place and lasting stronghold. At the summons of the God of Jacob, we stand here and behold how his mighty deeds are told and retold. Again and again, the things the LORD has wrought on earth astound us.

The prophet Ezekiel is caught up in a vision of the majesty of the LORD overflowing from his temple out into the whole world. The water flowing out from the beneath the threshold of the temple flows out as a blessing into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh. This river floods the earth with life and not destruction. Abundant life is born from the refreshing waters of the Holy Spirit. All life upon the earth finds its origin and support from the abundance of the LORD's self-gift. Every living creature, abundant fish, and trees of every kind grow and bear fruit, a fruit that will last. Month after month, these trees bear fresh fruit because they are watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve as food for all God's people, and their leaves will bring healing. Such is the vision of Ezekiel; this prophet opens wide the eyes of all who hear the Lord's Word. Now, we can see what we never saw before. Now, we notice the living waters that spring up within Christ, the Living Temple of God. At last, we who are washed clean in the blood of the Lamb and refreshed with the Holy Spirit behold the glory that is ours, as we share in the very life of the Living God.

With eyes opened by the prophet Ezekiel, we can now share in the vision of Saint Paul in his letter to the beloved brothers and sisters in Corinth. The same Holy Spirit who gives refreshment and life in abundance has inspired Saint Paul to see the truth of our identity. We are God’s building; we are the true temple of God; we are the Body of Christ. By the grace of God, Saint Paul sees himself as a wise master builder who has laid the foundation upon which others now build by preaching and service. He goes on to warn all who build upon this foundation to never forget that Christ is the only sure foundation upon which the faith of God’s people can be built. This wise counsel is directed to the ministers of the Gospel who have inherited this divine building project from Saint Paul and all the Apostles. Never can their work be used to build up their own self-importance. Church is never about the personal projects of human ego. The ordained servants of the new temple must never get in God’s way. They must pray as did Mother Theresa of Calcutta, "Lord, help me stay out of your way." In the same way, Saint Paul warns all earthly powers, all human authorities, to take heed of the LORD's sovereign majesty when he writes, "If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy." This is the sure refuge in which we live and move and have our being; we have nothing to fear.

Early in the Gospel of Saint John, the Lord Jesus takes on the similar men of authority in the temple that Saint Paul took on in his letter to the Corinthians. A prophetic and zealous Christ cried out, "Take these out of here, and stop making my Father's house a marketplace." He challenged the leaders of the Jews and drove out the merchants from the temple. Like the first disciples, we remember these words of the Lord Jesus, and we come to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken. After the Lord has died and risen from the dead, his words inspire our own prophetic and zealous nature. We, too, must drive out of our Father's house all those who use religion for their own gain and seek profit from the faith of God's Holy Ones. Such a mandate does not make us reckless or violent, but it cannot be ignored. We must be vigilant and faithful, so that all people find in our churches a place of welcome and peace in the midst of this world's threats and subtle attempts to trivialize faith. Without this kind of zeal, we will have nothing to offer those who search for truth and love throughout the world. Indeed, we who gather here again and again reveal the Father's desire to gather all his children into the Body of Christ, the Living Temple.

November 5, 2010

The Third Nationwide Juried Catholic Arts Competition is being exhibited in a multimedia show of religious-themed art at the Saint Vincent Gallery.

A total of 44 works by artists from 12 states are included in the unique show in which artists worked in acrylic, oil, digital print, block print, embedded ink, pencil, silk, photography, plaster, egg tempera, resin, chalk, watercolor, drypoint etching, stained glass, flashed glass, and bronze.

The exhibition will be available for viewing in the gallery on the third floor of the Robert S. Carey Student Center until Friday, December 12. Gallery hours are 12 noon to 3 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 12 noon to 3 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The gallery is closed on Mondays. Admission is free and open to the public.

This is the third juried Catholic arts exhibition which seeks to foster the arts of the Western Christian tradition although other artistic traditions of Christian subject matter are also considered. 

World-acclaimed art historian Sister Wendy Beckett served as juror for the exhibition.

November 3, 2010

Blessed Priest who visted St. Vincent Archabbey on road to Sainthood


On September 25, 2010, the official Diocesan Inquiry into an alleged extraordinary healing through the intercession of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos was finalized. Baltimore Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien convoked the Diocesan Inquiry Phase in May 2009. 

The fact-finding Inquiry Panel investigated the case and heard the testimony of Mary Ellen Heibel, her primary physician and nurse, and other key witnesses, concerning Heibel’s cure of metastasized esophageal cancer. Heibel, a devout Catholic and parishioner of St. Mary’s Church in Annapolis, MD, had  been cancer-free since January 2005, even though the disease had spread to her liver, lungs, back, and sternum, and medical treatment had failed. The cancer disappeared one week after she helped begin a weekly Seelos novena in her parish.

On October 11, 2010, the Redemptorist Postulator General, Rev. Antonio Marrazzo, submitted the results of this investigation to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints at the Vatican. With the Diocesan Phase of the canonization process now complete, Marrazzo’s formal petition for the Decree of Unsealing the Acts effectively begins the Roman Phase. 

At some point in the near future, the case will undergo proper scrutiny by Vatican authorities who will determine if the cure meets the criteria for the one miracle needed in Seelos’ canonization.

November 2, 2010


Out of the depths I call to you, LORD; Lord, hear my cry! May your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, LORD, mark our sins, Lord, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness and so you are revered. I wait with longing for the LORD, my soul waits for his word. My soul looks for the Lord more than sentinels for daybreak. More than sentinels for daybreak, let Israel look for the LORD, For with the LORD is kindness, with him is full redemption, And God will redeem Israel from all their sins.
Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. Let us pray.
O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of Thy servants departed the remission of all their sins, that through our pious supplication they may obtain that pardon which they have always desired; who lives and reigns for ever and ever.  Amen.

Pax et Gaudium

O.S.B. Vocation Awareness

O.S.B. Vocation Awareness