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December 7, 2014

Life in Community

Today, on the Feast of St. Ambrose, the Patron Saint of beekeepers, Br. Lawrence offers us a reflection on "Bees" as a symbol for Monastic Life in Community




Monks have been marveling at God’s providence revealed in the honeybee for centuries, and have seen in the lives of bees a reflection of our own monastic life. One of our brother monks cares for a small beehive as a hobby, so that we are able sometimes to enjoy real, local wildflower honey. It is exceedingly delicious. When you visit the bees, it is amazing to see the order and zeal with which they go about their work. If at first glance the bees’ movements appear chaotic, after watching a while one can see recognizable flight patterns to and from the hive. They are never idle and work together, each for the good of the whole. When adding a new comb to a beehive, one does not need to clean it; the bees do it themselves. They repair damage to the hive with materials produced from their own bodies. When they work on a “project,” the bees are amazingly specialized in their labor, yet any individual bee’s job can change with the needs of the hive. Most importantly, bees sustain their hives by gathering pollen from the all the flowers growing around them.



Like bees, we monks find our deepest identity in giving ourselves over to the life of our community, embracing as our own the life of the community. We are called to love the community and its work, and we desire to contribute to it. Each of us, in faithfully working in our assignments given by the abbot, be they simple or “grand,” contributes in a meaningful way to the whole. Sometimes the needs of the community change, and we, through our vow of obedience, are called to be flexible and go where we are needed rather than where we may want to be. Like bees, we give of ourselves, from our hearts and bodies to build up the monastic community. But most significant is our source of life: the “flowers” of God’s grace which surround us. Graces can appear like beautiful roses or as simple and hidden clover (which are far more common). It is the task of monastic life to gather our nourishment from these graces, to pick up on the opportunities to hear God speaking to us. His graces are everywhere, if we are willing to fly to them, and we need not fly far. They are in the daily liturgy. They are in our work, in our interactions, our joys and our trials, ever growing and always beautiful, even if on the outside they appear plain or even ugly. Not every flower smells sweet, but in them bees may still be found, bringing home precious pollen to share with the hive, for our graces are not for us alone. From this, we may draw one final analogy between bees and the monastery. When bees produce honey, they always produce far more than they need, and it is this surplus abundance which we enjoy at table. Like the bees, when we are faithful to gathering in the grace of God, a monastery overflows with an abundance of sweetness and nourishment for all those who come to us, for,

The decrees of the Lord are truth, and all of them just.
They are more to be desired than gold, than the purest of gold,
and sweeter are they than honey, than honey from the comb.

Psalm 19:10-11

October 14, 2014

The Monk's Habit (Part 2)


Did you Know???
Because the symbolism of the Habit is so significant, there are special prayers that accompany each part.

Tunic: "Cloth me O Lord with the man who has been created according to God in Justice and Holiness of Truth"


Cincture: "Gird me O Lord with the cincture of gladness. Cleanse me and purify my heart that the virtues of Continence and Chastity may ever abide with me"


Scapular: "O Lord you said 'my yoke is easy and my burden is light', grant that I may accept it with that I may receive the reward of my labor"


Cowl (hood): "Place O Lord the Helmet of Salvation upon my head that I may overcome the assault of the devil"

October 8, 2014

The Monk's Habit (Part 1)


The habit is a sign of the Monk's consecration. Each part of the habit has special significance.


The tunic is symbolic of the monk's new life in Christ. He no longer wears the "old self" but has been been clothed with "The New man who has been created by God in holiness and truth".


The cincture belt represents the Monk's life as a single man, one who forsakes marriage in order to live a life of celibacy for the Kingdom of God.


The scapular represents the work of a Monk, which is praying the Psalms together in community.


And lastly, the Cowl (a hood) represents the helmet of salvation which shields the Monk in his battles with the evil one.

October 5, 2014

"Universal" Vocation Discernment


You exist as a unique and unrepeatable being, an "I" Who is capable of self – understanding, self – possession and self – determination. In His Great Providence God has a special plan for you. Pray that you may know and follow that plan.

October 1, 2014

Hallmarks of Benedictine Education (Part 10)



At Saint Vincent Archabbey many of our monks are involved in our College Apostolate. Some serve as Professors in departments such as Theology, Philosophy, Mathematics, English, Science or Business, while others work in the Library or Campus Ministry. Needless to say, our Benedictine Heritage influences the way that we educate our students as a WHOLE human person, Body, Mind, and Soul.

Thus, this series of posts will focus on the 10 Hallmarks of a Benedictine Education. 






10. Community: call for service to the common good and respect for the individual

Benedictine monastic community is rooted in a particular place in which mutual service, especially
in the mundane areas of everyday life, is demanded of everyone with no other reward than the building up of the community. Yet for Benedictines community also stretches across time and place. There is an awareness of community with the past, with the millennia-old tradition, with past
community members and friends of the monastery, with the communion of saints. There is also
solidarity with other communities across the world, monastic and non-monastic, Christian and non-
Christian, religious and non-religious, that make practical efforts to foster human well-being. Though directly grounded in a particular place, the commitments and aspirations of Benedictine life are
catholic and universal, rather than provincial.

(Click "Read More" to continue reading this post)

September 23, 2014

10 Hallmarks of Benedictine Education (Part 9)


At Saint Vincent Archabbey many of our monks are involved in our College Apostolate. Some serve as Professors in departments such as Theology, Philosophy, Mathematics, English, Science or Business, while others work in the Library or Campus Ministry. Needless to say, our Benedictine Heritage influences the way that we educate our students as a WHOLE human person, Body, Mind, and Soul.

Thus, this series of posts will focus on the 10 Hallmarks of a Benedictine Education. 





9. Hospitality: call to openness


The practice of listening and humility in a Benedictine monastery enables a generous hospitality to friends and strangers. Benedict urges that the weaknesses of all should be supported with the greatest patience (RB 72.5). Particular attention is to be given to those who are weak, poor or 
marginalized because, as Benedict says of the guest, Christ is found especially in them. Every
attempt is to be made to extend a gracious and respectful welcome to these persons as the sisters
and brothers they truly are.

(Click "Read More" to continue reading this post)

September 15, 2014

10 Hallmarks of Benedictine Education (Part 8)


At Saint Vincent Archabbey many of our monks are involved in our College Apostolate. Some serve as Professors in departments such as Theology, Philosophy, Mathematics, English, Science or Business, while others work in the Library or Campus Ministry. Needless to say, our Benedictine Heritage influences the way that we educate our students as a WHOLE human person, Body, Mind, and Soul.

Thus, this series of posts will focus on the 10 Hallmarks of a Benedictine Education. 





8. Stewardship: respect for the beauty and goodness of creation as a sacrament of God

At its core the Rule seeks to foster a fundamental reverence toward the creation that God has
made. Benedict exhorts his followers to regard all the tools and goods of the monastery as the
sacred vessels of the altar (RB 31.10). Benedictine monastics do not simply use up what has been
given to them, nor do they aim at poverty. Instead, they prize good stewardship, the wise and
moderate use of material things for the good of all, both present and future. This appreciation of
the good use of material things leads to a sacramental stance toward all creation and the
cultivation of beauty as modes of experiencing the presence of God.

(Click "Read More" to continue reading this post)

September 14, 2014

Discernment at the Cross

Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross




Today we celebrate the Glory of God revealed in our Crucified Lord. If you desire to know your vocation and to do God's will, seek the Cross of Christ.

September 7, 2014

10 Hallmarks of Benedictine Education (Part 7)


At Saint Vincent Archabbey many of our monks are involved in our College Apostolate. Some serve as Professors in departments such as Theology, Philosophy, Mathematics, English, Science or Business, while others work in the Library or Campus Ministry. Needless to say, our Benedictine Heritage influences the way that we educate our students as a WHOLE human person, Body, Mind, and Soul. 

Thus, this series of posts will focus on the 10 Hallmarks of a Benedictine Education. 




7. Humility: acceptance of the demand for realism and accountability

Humility is Benedict's word for wisdom. He begins his extended description of the twelve degrees of
humility with awe at the abiding presence of God and ends with the love that casts out fear (RB 7).
Benedictine humility accepts the reality of the day-to-day world - nature, events, other people -
and our true place within it. This practical realism demands honesty and accountability of everyone
in a Benedictine house. Each monastic seeks to acknowledge his or her faults and weaknesses.
Each strives to recognize their own gifts and the gifts of others with gratitude, seeking to contribute
as much as possible to the good of the whole and accepting the care of others.

(Click "Read More" to continue reading this post)


September 3, 2014

Family Fosters Vocations

Apostolic Exhortation, Pastores Dabo Vobis, 1992


The pastoral care of vocations finds its first and natural setting in the family. Indeed, parents should know how to welcome as a grace the gift which God gives them in calling one of their sons or daughters to the priesthood or religious life. Such a grace must be asked for in prayer and received actively, by means of an education which allows the young people to perceive all the richness and joy of consecrating oneself to God…. The family is the natural “nursery” of vocations. Pastoral care of the family, therefore, should direct a very special attention to the properly vocational aspect of its task. (#3)

August 31, 2014

10 Hallmarks of Benedictine Education (Part 6)




At Saint Vincent Archabbey many of our monks are involved in our College Apostolate. Some serve as Professors in departments such as Theology, Philosophy, Mathematics, English, Science or Business, while others work in the Library or Campus Ministry. Needless to say, our Benedictine Heritage influences the way that we educate our students as a WHOLE human person, Body, Mind, and Soul.

Thus, this series of posts will focus on the 10 Hallmarks of a Benedictine Education. 





6. Discipline: a way toward learning and freedom

Discipline is a way of focusing energy and attention on what matters. Benedictine life is built around
a fundamental discipline of prayer, work and relationships that is set forth in the Rule and that seeks to free a monastic to take delight in God's presence within the self, the community and the world. New members are taught how to cultivate the discipline of monastic life and to realize that it takes a lifetime of practice to develop fully the skills needed to engage the passion and direct the cares of a person's life.

(Click "Read More" to continue reading this post)

August 26, 2014

Family Fosters Vocations!



Apostolic Exhortation, Pastores Dabo Vobis, 1992


I appeal especially to families. May parents, mothers in particular, be generous in giving their sons to the Lord when he calls them to the priesthood. May they cooperate joyfully in their vocational journey, realizing that in this way they will be increasing and deepening their Christian fruitfulness in the Church and that, in a sense, they will experience the blessedness of Mary, the virgin mother: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Lk. 1:42) (#82)

August 23, 2014

10 Hallmarks of Benedictine Education (Part 5)


At Saint Vincent Archabbey many of our monks are involved in our College Apostolate. Some serve as Professors in departments such as Theology, Philosophy, Mathematics, English, Science or Business, while others work in the Library or Campus Ministry. Needless to say, our Benedictine Heritage influences the way that we educate our students as a WHOLE human person, Body, Mind, and Soul. 

Thus, this series of posts will focus on the 10 Hallmarks of a Benedictine Education. 





5. Obedience: a commitment to listening and consequent action

Benedictine life is unthinkable without obedience, a value that cuts against the grain of much in
contemporary life. It is often forgotten that the root of the word obedience is found in the Latin
word audire, "to listen." When Benedict begins the Rule with the exhortation "Listen," he emphasizes
the stance of obedience required of all who seek wisdom. Benedict asks for obedience not only to
the Abbot, but to the other members of the community. Each has something of value to say about true fullness of life. For the monastic, obedience is putting into practice what is learned by listening to the other with the ear of the heart (RB Prol. 1). Centuries of Benedictine experience show that such listening requires the cultivation of silence and an atmosphere of leisure.

(Click "Read More" to continue reading this post)

August 20, 2014

Family Fosters Vocations!


Apostolic Exhortation, Pastores Dabo Vobis, 1992


The communities from which the candidate for the priesthood comes continue, albeit with the necessary detachment which is involved by the choice of a vocation, to bear considerable influence on the formation of the future priest. They should therefore be aware of their specific share of responsibility. Let us mention first of all the family: Christian parents, as also brothers and sisters and the other members of the family, should never seek to call back the future priest within the narrow confines of a too human (if not worldly) logic, no matter how supported by sincere affection that logic may be (cf. Mk. 3 :20-21, 31-35). Instead, driven by the same desire “to fulfill the will of God,” they should accompany the formative journey with prayer, respect, the good example of the domestic virtues and spiritual and material help, especially in difficult moments. Experience teaches that, in so many cases, this multiple help has proved decisive for candidates for the priesthood. Even in the case of parents or relatives who are indifferent or opposed to the choice of a vocation, a clear and calm facing of the situation and the encouragement which derives from it can be a great help to the deeper and more determined maturing of a priestly vocation. (#68)

August 16, 2014

10 Hallmarks of Benedictine Education (Part 4)


At Saint Vincent Archabbey many of our monks are involved in our College Apostolate. Some serve as Professors in departments such as Theology, Philosophy, Mathematics, English, Science or Business, while others work in the Library or Campus Ministry. Needless to say, our Benedictine Heritage influences the way that we educate our students as a WHOLE human person, Body, Mind, and Soul.

Thus, this series of posts will focus on the 10 Hallmarks of a Benedictine Education. 





4. Conversatio: the way of formation and transformation

The aim of life is the same for Benedictines as it is for all Christians - to be transformed in every part
of one's life so that God's own image, in which each is created, becomes transparent and
palpable. The Benedictine word for this way of life is conversatio, the process of letting go in day-to-day life of one's predilections and false securities so the divine life at the core of one's being can
become manifest in a trustworthy pattern of living. Conversatio is a commitment to a lifelong
conversion into the likeness of Christ. This transformation proceeds according to small steps and it is tested in surprising ways over a lifetime. To come to fruition conversatio requires stability, discipline, faithfulness and resilience. Along the way it is strengthened by symbols and rituals that each monastery has found useful in supporting its members' journey into newness of life.

(Click "Read More" to continue reading this post)

August 15, 2014

Assumption of Mary & Vocations



Apostolic Exhortation, Pastores Dabo Vobis, 1992



Every aspect of priestly formation can be referred to Mary, the human being who has responded better than any other to God’s call. Mary became both the servant and the disciple of the Word to the point of conceiving, in her heart and in her flesh, the Word made man, so as to give him to mankind. Mary was called to educate the one eternal priest, who became docile and subject to her motherly authority. With her example and intercession the Blessed Virgin keeps vigilant watch over the growth of vocations and priestly life in the Church. (#82)

August 12, 2014

Family Fosters Vocations!


Apostolic Exhortation, Pastores Dabo Vobis, 1992


A very special responsibility falls upon the Christian family, which by virtue of the sacrament of matrimony shares in its own unique way in the educational mission of the Church – teacher and mother…. The Christian family, which is truly a “domestic Church” (Lumen Gentium, 11), has always offered and continues to offer favorable conditions for the birth of vocations. Since the reality of the Christian family is endangered nowadays, much importance should be given to pastoral work on behalf of the family, in order that the families themselves, generously accepting the gift of human life, may be “as it were, a first seminary” (Optatam Totius, 2) in which children can acquire from the beginning an awareness of piety and prayer and love for the Church. Following upon and in harmony with the work of parents and the family, the school is also called to live its identity as an “educating community” by providing a correct understanding of the dimension of vocation as an innate and fundamental value of the human person. In this sense, if it is endowed with a Christian spirit (either by a significant presence of members of the Church in state schools, following the laws of each country, or above all in the case of the Catholic school), it can infuse in the hearts of boys and young men a desire to do God’s will in that state in life which is most suitable to each person, and never excluding the vocation to the priestly ministry. (#41)

August 8, 2014

10 Hallmarks of Benedictine Education (Part 3)


At Saint Vincent Archabbey many of our monks are involved in our College Apostolate. Some serve as Professors in departments such as Theology, Philosophy, Mathematics, English, Science or Business, while others work in the Library or Campus Ministry. Needless to say, our Benedictine Heritage influences the way that we educate our students as a WHOLE human person, Body, Mind, and Soul.

Thus, this series of posts will focus on the 10
Hallmarks of a Benedictine Education. 





3. Stability: commitment to the daily life of this place

Stability shapes a Benedictine monastery. All of its members commit themselves to seeking God
together. They resolve to pursue this, their heart's deepest desire, in daily interactions with one
another, in good times and in bad, throughout the entire span of their lives.

(Click "Read More" to continue reading this post)

August 3, 2014

Pope Paul VI on Priestly Celibacy

Encyclical Letter on the Celibacy of Priests, Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, 1967

We readily grant that the natural and lawful desire a man has to love a woman and to raise a family is renounced by the celibate in sacred orders; but it cannot be said that marriage and the family are the only way for fully developing the human person. In the priest’s heart love is by no means extinct. His charity is drawn from the purest source, practiced in the imitation of God and Christ, and is no less demanding and real than any other genuine love. It gives the priest a limitless horizon, deepens and gives breadth to his sense of responsibility—a mark of mature personality—and inculcates in him, as a sign of a higher and greater fatherhood, a generosity and refinement of heart which offer a superlative enrichment. (#56)

July 31, 2014

10 Hallmarks of Benedictine Education (Part 2)


At Saint Vincent Archabbey many of our monks are involved in our College Apostolate. Some serve as Professors in departments such as Theology, Philosophy, Mathematics, English, Science or Business, while others work in the Library or Campus Ministry. Needless to say, our Benedictine Heritage influences the way that we educate our students as a WHOLE human person, Body, Mind, and Soul.

Thus, this series of posts will focus on the 10 Hallmarks of Benedictine Education. 





2. Prayer

Benedictine monasteries cultivate attentiveness to the multiple ways in which God is present in creation. The primary way for doing this is through the daily rhythm of a monastery's liturgical prayer. Benedict calls this the "Work of God" and directs that nothing is to be preferred to it (RB 43.3). Daily community prayer is supported and deepened by individual spiritual reading, a practice that Benedictines call by its Latin name, lectio divina, in order to differentiate it from reading that is done to gain information or knowledge. Lectio divina is the slow meditative reading of Scriptures and other sacred texts with the intention of discerning how God is at work in the world right now and how God is calling within the individual's own heart. For monastics the daily movement between common liturgical prayer and lectio opens up new space within for the development of compassion, integrity and courage.


(Click "Read More" to continue reading this post)


July 23, 2014

10 Hallmarks of Benedictine Education (Part 1)

At Saint Vincent Archabbey many of our monks are involved in our College Apostolate. Some serve as Professors in departments such as Theology, Philosophy, Mathematics, English, Science or Business, while others work in the Library or Campus Ministry. Needless to say, our Benedictine Heritage influences the way that we educate our students as a WHOLE human person, Body, Mind, and Soul.

Thus, this series of posts will focus on the 10 Hallmarks of a Benedictine Education.





1. Love of Christ and neighbor


Love is at the heart of Benedictine monastic life. The life of the monastic, like that of all Christians, is first and foremost a response to God's astonishing love for humankind, a love expressed in the free gift of his beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Benedict uses Jesus' own words which come from the heart of the Hebrew scriptures to urge monastics to ground their lives in a whole-hearted response to that love and to share it freely with others (RB 4.1-2). 


 (Click "Read More" to continue reading this post)

July 16, 2014

Benedictine Education

Education within the Benedictine Tradition




The origin of monastic schools can be traced to the beginnings of Benedictine life in the sixth century. Monasteries from their founding became places of reading, study and learning because it was imperative for monastics to be educated to read the psalms and practice lectio divina . Over time, and long before universities or colleges in our sense of the term had arisen, monasteries became places of learning for people who came to learn alongside the monastics. Hospitality simply would not allow these people to be turned away and great life was found in this broader monastic and lay engagement in education.

Through many centuries, monasteries have cultivated arts and letters. They have stewarded knowledge of the past in scriptoria and libraries, and they have promoted understandings of the earth and wise use of its resources. This work has engaged the labors of countless individuals and,
taken together, it has been a source of social, economic and cultural grounding for entire civilizations. Benedictine colleges and universities participate in this great saga, seeking to cultivate understanding among their faculty, staff and students of time-honored values that make full, worthwhile human lives possible.


From: http://www.ben.edu/cmi/upload/Education-within-the-Benedictine-Wisdom-Tradition.pdf 


June 10, 2014

Solemn Vow Retreat


In preparation for Solemn Vows, Br. Canice, Br. Joachim, and Fr. Killian made a retreat to St. Emma Monastery (http://www.stemma.org/) for a time of prayer and reflection.  


These Monks will profess Solemn Vows on Friday, July 11, The Feast of our Holy Father, Saint Benedict


Thank you Sisters for your Benedictine Hospitality!














June 3, 2014

Junior Camp comes to Saint Vincent



On June 14 to June 28, over thirty Temporarily Professed Benedictine Junior Monks from across the United States, Mexico and Canada will visit Saint Vincent Archabbey for a special summer Retreat program.  An annual event that occurs at a different monastery each summer, it is the first time Saint Vincent will host the program. 

The primary aims of the Junior Summer School program include:
To provide additional educational experiences not available in most monastic formation programs.
To provide opportunities to meet temporarily professed monks from other Benedictine houses.
To provide an experience of participation in the life of another Benedictine community.

The theme for this year will be "Building a Dynamic and Joyful Community Spirit" (Unity in the midst of our diversity and diversity in the midst of our unity.)"

To visit the monastery websites of the monks attending the Retreat:
  • St. Bernard Abbey - Cullman, AL 
    • http://www.stbernardabbey.com/
  • St. Andrew Abbey - Cleveland, OH
    • http://standrewabbey.org/
  • Mount Angel Abbey - St. Benedict, OR
    • http://www.mountangelabbey.org/
  • Belmont Abbey - Belmont, NC
    • http://belmontabbey.org/
  • St. Benedict's Abbey - Atchison, KS
    • http://www.kansasmonks.org/
  • St. Meinrad Abbey, St. Meinrad, IN
    • http://www.saintmeinrad.org/
  • St. Peter's Abbey - Saskatchuwhan  
    • http://www.stpetersabbey.ca/
  • New Camaldoli Hermitage - Big Sur, CA
    • http://www.contemplation.com/
  • St. John's Abbey - Collegeville, MN
    • http://www.saintjohnsabbey.org/
  • St. Andrew's Abbey - Valyermo, CA
    • http://www.valyermo.com/
  • Assumption Abbey - Richardton, ND
    • http://www.assumptionabbey.com/
  • St. Mary's Abbey - Delbarton, NJ
    • http://www.saintmarysabbey.org/
  • St. Anselm's Abbey - Washington, DC
    • http://www.stanselms.org/
  • Mount Savior Monastery - Pine City, NJ
    • http://www.msaviour.org/
  • Glastonbury Abbey - Hingham, MA
    • http://www.glastonburyabbey.org/index.php










June 1, 2014

St. Vincent Archabbey Welcomes Generation Life

From June 1 to June 15, Saint Vincent Archabbey will host the Generation Life team for their annual Retreat



Generation Life is a movement of young people committed to building up a Culture of Life by educating their peers on the Pro-Life and Chastity messages and developing new leaders for the Pro-Life movement.  Only by spreading the message of Chastity can abortion be ended at its root cause.  





Generation Life Home Page:
http://www.generationlife.org/



Generation Life Team


Yo Yo Ma & St. Vincent Monks

After his wonderful performance in the Archabbey Basilica, Yo Yo Ma invited the monks of Saint Vincent to join him in singing the Benedictine Ulitma.  The Ultima is a traditional hymn that has been sung by monks for centuries.  A song which request's the Blessed Mother's intercession for a happy death, the Ultima is sung by monks on Festive occasions, at the end of each day after Night Prayer, and at the conclusion of a funeral.    


To watch Yo Yo Ma accompany the Ultima, watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7ovccAA6hE


At Saint Vincent, the text is sung in three languages Latin, German and English:
Ultima in mortis hora,
Filium pro nobis ora,
Bonam mortem impetra,
Virgo, Mater, Domina. 

Wenn wir mit dem Tode ringen,
Wollst, Maria, uns beispringen,
Dass wir selig scheiden hin,
Jungfrau, Mutter, K├Ânigin. 

When death's hour is then upon us,
To your Son pray that he grant us,
Death, both holy and serene,
Virgin Mary, Mother, Queen.


May 30, 2014

Fred Rogers Legacy Award



On May 23, 2014, The Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College presented the world famous Cellist, Yo Yo Ma, with the first "Fred Roger's Legacy Award"

The Fred Rogers Legacy Award recognizes individuals who have made exemplary professional contributions and personal commitments to service that pay forward elements of Fred Rogers’ legacy as a person embodying universal human values, a creative artist, a teacher and model of core principles for early learning and development, an innovator, and an advocate for the dignity and potential of all children. In their work, recipients also demonstrate the mission of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media, as catalysts for communication, collaboration, and creative change in their fields.

Through his commitment to education and cultural enrichment, Yo-Yo Ma founded the Silk Road Project to promote the study of cultural, artistic, and intellectual traditions internationally as well as a multidisciplinary educational program for middle school U.S. students. Like Fred Rogers, Yo-Yo Ma expertly uses the power of popular culture and media to engage “students” of all ages in learning about and through music.

In keeping with the life and legacy of Fred Rogers, Yo-Yo Ma has used his many talents to inspire, nurture, and educate, and it is in the spirit of these unique endowments that the Fred Rogers Center is greatly honored to recognize him with the inaugural Fred Rogers Legacy Award.


To learn more, visit: http://www.fredrogerscenter.org/





May 29, 2014

Paths to Priesthood




Though paths to priesthood vary, desire for ordination is constant


By Mark Pattison

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Despite varying paths to the priesthood, the burning desire for ordination as the culmination of their discernment over a vocation is the one constant among many in the current group of men being ordained as priests.

At just 25 years old, Father Brad Zamora, ordained May 17 for the Archdiocese of Chicago, is a bit of a throwback. In an earlier time, most new priests were his age. This year the median age is 32.

Two priests at his home parish in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood approached him when he was in eighth grade and told him they thought he would make a good priest.

"That was all it took, really, and I entered high school seminary, Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary, the following August," he toldCatholic News Service in an email exchange May 21. Although he was in Washington, he could not break away from the eighth graders from Sts. Faith, Hope and Charity School in Winnetka, Illinois, he had been chaperoning in the nation's capital.

But for Deacon Rusty Vincent, who will be ordained a priest May 31 for the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi, "I never thought about becoming a priest when I was growing up. It was not until college. It shows that God can call us at any moment in our lives." He made his comments to the Mississippi Catholic, Jackson's diocesan newspaper.

He is one of three priests being ordained for Jackson -- a rich harvest for a diocese that had not seen a priestly ordination in years. Father Zamora is part of the nation's largest diocesan priestly ordination class at 12, but even that figure doesn't replace the number of priests in Chicago who retire or die each year.

Dominican Father Peter Martyr Yungwirth -- his given name is Patrick but Dominicans take on a new name as they approach priesthood -- told CNS the day before his May 23 ordination that he had "gotten out of a relationship with a girlfriend" and was sensing a call to a priestly vocation, which he did not want. "I wanted to marry and have a family," he recounted.

But the priest he consulted about this dilemma advised him to discern the priestly vocation. If priesthood was for him, it would make the discernment process quicker; if it wasn't, then he could tell his future children what he understood about priesthood.

"I spent the whole fall semester fighting with the Lord," Father Yungwirth said. God won. What won him over was seeing a TV miniseries in December 2005 on the life of St. John Paul II.

Another new Dominican priest, Father Cajetan Cuddy, was born in South Korea, and adopted and raised by evangelical parents. During his first semester at an evangelical school, Grove City College in Pennsylvania, he befriended one of the sons of Scott Hahn, who had been a Presbyterian minister before joining the Catholic Church.

Father Cuddy, whose baptismal name is Christopher, met the elder Hahn, quickly became convinced that the Catholic Church was best suited for him, and transferred from the evangelical college to the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. He joined the church and started pondering whether ordained ministry was meant for him.

His adoptive parents, Father Cuddy admitted, were "a little confused" by his switch, thinking he did so "maybe for a girl." But "as time went on, they were real happy" for him.

Deacon Binh Nguyen, who is Vietnamese-American, is also to be ordained May 31 for the Diocese of Jackson, and like every new priest gets to choose a priest to vest him for his first Mass. He chose not just a priest, but an archbishop: retired Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes of New Orleans.

"I choose him because he is my spiritual director during the time I have studied at Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans. He has been my closest person to my priestly vocation since 2009," he said.

"He always gives me spiritual support and shares with me a lot of wonderful guidance and insight for my spiritual journey toward the priesthood. He has been teaching me how to become a good and holy priest by passing his great and valuable spiritual experience on (to) me."

Both Father Zamora and the future Father Vincent selected Father Henri Nouwen as one of the models for their own priesthood. For the Jackson ordinand, Father Nouwen's "The Return of the Prodigal Son" is his favorite book.








This article came from: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1402197.htm

April 20, 2014

St. Benedict's First Easter as a Hermit


Book Two of the Dialogues: Life of St. Benedict

The man of God, Benedict, coming to this foresaid place, lived there in a narrow cave, where he continued three years unknown to all men, except to Romanus...

At length when almighty God was determined to ease Romanus of his pains, and to have Benedict's life for an example known to the world, that such a candle, set on a candlestick, might shine and give light to the Church of God, our Lord vouchsafed to appear to a certain Priest dwelling a good way off, who had made ready his dinner for Easter day.

He spoke thus to him: "Thou have provided good cheer for thyself, and my servant in such a place is afflicted with hunger." Hearing this, the priest rose up, and on Easter day itself, with such meat as he had prepared, went to the place, where he sought for the man of God among the steep hills, the low valleys and hollow pits, and at length found him in his cave. After they had prayed together, and sitting down had given God thanks, and had much spiritual talk, then the Priest said to him: "Rise up, brother, and let us dine, because today is the feast of Easter."




The man of God answered, and said: "I know that it is Easter with me and a great feast, having found so much favor at God's hands as this day to enjoy your company" (for by reason of his long absence from men, he knew not that it was the great solemnity of Easter). But the reverent Priest again assured him, saying: "Verily, today is the feast of our Lord's Resurrection, and therefore it is not right that you should keep abstinence. Besides I am sent to that end, that we might eat together of such provision as God's goodness hath sent us." Whereupon they said grace, and fell to their meat, and after they had dined, and bestowed some time in talking, the Priest returned to his church.

About the same time likewise, certain shepherds found him in that same cave: and at the first, when they spied him through the bushes, and saw his apparel made of skins, they thought that it had been some beast. After they were acquainted with the servant of God, however, many of them were by his means converted from their beastly life to grace, piety, and devotion. Thus his name in the country there about became famous, and many after this went to visit him, and in exchange for corporal meat which they brought him, they carried away spiritual food for their souls.


To Read the Life of St. Benedict: http://www.osb.org/gen/greg/


April 19, 2014

LET THE TRUMPET OF SALVATION RESOUND



The Exultet hymn, sung at the Easter Vigil Liturgy, is the Easter Proclamation of the Catholic Church. It is a song that is full of symbolism and beauty, a song that calls the faithful to REJOICE in the Salvation that has been won for us by Christ our Redeemer. For on this Night of Nights we remember that darkness and evil has been conquered forever by the Morning Star, Jesus Christ who has risen victorious over the darkness of His Passion and Death on a Cross. Coming back from the domain of death, the Morning Star will burn forever, shedding its rays of peaceful light on humanity.




Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,
let the trumpet of salvation
sound aloud our mighty King's triumph!

Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
ablaze with light from her eternal King,
let all corners of the earth be glad,
knowing an end to gloom and darkness.

Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,
arrayed with the lightning of his glory,
let this holy building shake with joy,
filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.

(Therefore, dearest friends,
standing in the awesome glory of this holy light,
invoke with me, I ask you,
the mercy of God almighty,
that he, who has been pleased to number me,
though unworthy, among the Levites,
may pour into me his light unshadowed,
that I may sing this candle's perfect praises).

(Deacon: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.)
Deacon: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Deacon: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right and just.

It is truly right and just,
with ardent love of mind and heart
and with devoted service of our voice,
to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father,
and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his Son, his Only Begotten.

Who for our sake paid Adam's debt to the eternal Father,
and, pouring out his own dear Blood,
wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.

These, then, are the feasts of Passover,
in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb,
whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers.

This is the night,
when once you led our forebears, Israel's children,
from slavery in Egypt
and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.

This is the night
that with a pillar of fire
banished the darkness of sin.

This is the night
that even now throughout the world,
sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices
and from the gloom of sin,
leading them to grace
and joining them to his holy ones.

This is the night
when Christ broke the prison-bars of death
and rose victorious from the underworld.

Our birth would have been no gain,
had we not been redeemed.
O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!

O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!

O happy fault
that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!

O truly blessed night,
worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!

This is the night
of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness.

The sanctifying power of this night
dispels wickedness, washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.

On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,
accept this candle, a solemn offering,
the work of bees and of your servants' hands,
an evening sacrifice of praise,
this gift from your most holy Church.

But now we know the praises of this pillar,
a flame divided but undimmed,
which glowing fire ignites for God's honour,
a fire into many flames divided,
yet never dimmed by sharing of its light,
for it is fed by melting wax,
drawn out by mother bees
to build a torch so precious.

O truly blessed night,
when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,
and divine to the human.

Therefore, O Lord,
we pray you that this candle,
hallowed to the honour of your name,
may persevere undimmed,
to overcome the darkness of this night.
Receive it as a pleasing fragrance,
and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.
May this flame be found still burning
by the Morning Star:
the one Morning Star who never sets,
Christ your Son,
who, coming back from death's domain,
has shed his peaceful light on humanity,
and lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Amen.

April 16, 2014

Over Discernment?

This is a very challenging Article, but it makes some very good points.  

Stop Waiting for Your Calling


There seems to be an unsettling trend amongst many able-bodied young Catholics to spend a near minimum of five years – if not longer – “discerning” their vocations. Yes, there are exceptions for those who have been through traumatic events in their life, who have suffered abuse, who still need to mature, and so forth. But generally few have any reason to take so much time in order to make a decision.

To take one example, there are many Catholic couples who have been in exclusive relationships for 3, 4, or even 5 or more years without ever becoming engaged (Crazy!). If one still has doubts after dating someone for up to a year (concupiscence doesn’t help in extending a relationship much longer than unless there is a commitment to marriage), break it off! The heart needs to be protected from growing too attached to someone who does not intend to commit. It’s one thing to be engaged for some time (if the man is deployed, etc.), but as a matter of general practice, the Church recommends engagements no longer than a year to 2 at most in order to be a safeguard for one’s virtue.

It is a similar situation for those in religious life or the priesthood. God isn’t going to finally let someone know after 10, 15, or even 20 years that that isn’t their vocation; one will know the answer to that question long before. It seems that those who leave after a substantial time usually come to realize that they should have left long ago.

What is this crisis? While there is by no means an exhaustive list of reasons as to why this “perpetual discernment” is so commonplace, it seems that a great part of this problem bay be tied to many discerners’ desire to “look for signs” and other mystical confirmations. This phenomenon is characterized by long periods of waiting, “just to know for sure.’ Speaking from personal experience – both my own and from being intimately involved in helping and guiding others in their vocation process over the years – I can tell you that God speaks to us not in extraordinary capacities, but through the means of our everyday existence. He will not knock you off your seat and tell you what he wants; those sort of revelations are rare circumstances. He also doesn’t promise absolute clarity about everything – faith is “faith” for a reason. However, God does promise to be with us “until the end of time,” and therein is our consolation. He gives us his alter Christus – the priest – as a director and confessor in order to guide our reasoning and our decisions. If there is difficulty discerning, why not follow the advice of one’s spiritual director?

God isn’t going to make someone spend the greater part of his youth trying to just “figure things out,” or penalize someone for “accidentally” choosing the wrong path. God has given each of us particular talents, abilities, desires, and inclinations. If we really listen – if we pray – he will speak to our hearts and draw us towards his divine will. But he does so quietly, softly, like the “still small voice” (1 Kings 9:11). You will not find him in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, so stop looking there. Instead, make a decision and go forward in confidence and peace. If you are truly seeking God’s will and are doing what you’ve decided is best, God will bring it to fruition; if it is not his will, he will quickly alter your course. And he won’t take a decade or longer to do it, causing you to live in the dark for so long a time. In fact, the moment you make a resolution and act upon it, wonderful things happen. And this affirmation is enough to give us the peace and strength to keep pushing onward and upward.



For more on this article: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.aleteia.org/en/lifestyle/article/stop-waiting-for-your-calling-5224640381190144


April 10, 2014

A Reflection on Chapter 15 of the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 15 of the Rule of St. Benedict:
The Times to say "Alleluia" 


From holy Easter until Pentecost without interruption 
let "Alleluia" be said 
both in the Psalms and in the responsories. 
From Pentecost to the beginning of Lent 
let it be said every night 
with the last six Psalms of the Night Office only. 
On every Sunday, however, outside of Lent, 
the canticles, the Morning Office, Prime, Terce, Sext and None 
shall be said with "Alleluia," 
but Vespers with antiphons.

The responsories are never to be said with "Alleluia" 
except from Easter to Pentecost.


Reflection:

          In Chapter 15, St. Benedict regulates the times for saying Alleluia, which means “Praise the Lord!” So why is Benedict so concerned about limiting the use of such a magnificent word? It is because Benedict knew the tremendous meaning Alleluia signifies when it is used in a proper time and place. For instance, Benedict was probably very aware that the only time Alleluia is used in the New Testament is chapter nineteen of the Book of Revelation (verses: 1, 3, 4, 6), the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, the triumphal banquet where all the souls redeemed by Christ unceasingly Praise God for His Salvation. For Benedict, life at the monastery was supposed to be a foretaste of this life in Heaven, this Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Therefore, in anticipation of this Heavenly Life, Benedict might have said, “If we will be unceasingly acclaiming Alleluia when we are in Heaven, how could we not also acclaim it while we are still exiles here on earth?” Clearly Benedict knew and loved the beauty of this word! However, he also recognized that we lowly and sinful exiles have yet to fully attain this Blessed Life. Therefore, the most appropriate times for saying Alleluia are related to the times we most vividly remember the Resurrection: the entire season of Easter, Vigils, that is, early in the morning, the time of day that Christ rose from the dead, and Sunday, the day of Resurrection!                              








Pax et Gaudium

O.S.B. Vocation Awareness

O.S.B. Vocation Awareness