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What Was New

July, August, and September 2012

Rev. 4 October 2012

September 2012

Damaging Fire at St. Joseph Seminary, Louisiana

"A fire at Saint Joseph Abbey Catholic Seminary near Covington early Wednesday, 26 September 2012, badly damaged a dormitory building there, according to the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office. The 2:30 a.m. blaze started in a room housing computer server equipment; extended into an attic in the area; and spread to other parts of the structure, causing significant flame and smoke damage throughout," according to the Fire Marshall (The Times-Picayune). The 64 students who were displaced from the adjacent dorms will live in the retreat center until the clean up is complete.

Benedictines Named for Synod of Bishops

The Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops has, with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI, appointed two Benedictines as experts (adjutores secretarii specialis) for the forthcoming Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in the Vatican, 7-28 October 2012. The theme of the synod is "The new evangelisation for the transmission of the Christian faith." The monks chosen are Fr. Jeremy Driscoll OSB, professor at the Theological Faculty of Rome's St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum, and professor of liturgy at the Mount Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon, and Fr. Juan Javier Flores Arcas OSB, rector of St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum, Rome.

Congress of Abbots Re-elects Abbot Primate

Notker Wolf OSB

On Friday, 21 September 2012, in accord with the Lex Propria of the Benedictine Confederation of Monastic Congregations, 235 members of the Congress of Abbots re-elected Abbot Primate Dr. Notker Wolf OSB, 72, for a term of four years. Abbot Notker, a prolific author and talented musician, had been archabbot of St. Ottilien Archabbey, Bavaria, at the time of his election as primate, 7 September 2000. The Congress first re-elected him 25 September 2008. Herzlichen Glückwunsch zur Wiederwahl! (Interview in German.) 

"The main talks at the congress focused on the viability of Benedictine monasteries, and on balancing the autonomy of Benedictine abbeys with a need for wider cooperation among them. But the abbots also participated in workshops on issues ranging from ecumenical and interreligious dialogue to the formation of candidates for monastic life (Catholic News Service)."

General Chapter of the Subiaco Congregation

The Subiaco Congregation concluded is 19th General Chapter on Friday evening, 14 September 2012. At that Chapter there were two important decisions made.

The Subiaco Congregation voted with almost complete unanimity to incorporate the Cassinese Congregation, erected 1408 by Pope Gregory XII. The Subiaco Congregation was born, 28 May 1851, at St. Scholastica Monastery, Subiaco, out of the Cassinese Congregation and known as the Subiaco Province of the Cassinese Congregation. On achieving a degree of independence as a congregation in 1867 it became the Cassinese Congregation of the Primitive Obervance. In 1880 its juridical nature was finally established.

For some time the Cassinese Congregation has considered reuniting with the Subiaco Congregation. At the time of this incorporation, there are seven independent monasteries and four dependent monasteries. Although the Cassinese Congregation has already voted in 2010 for this incorporation, and now the Subiaco Congregation has also voted in favor, there is much work to be done at the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

The second important decision of the General Chapter was to postulate Abbot Bruno Marin OSB, elected 2004, for a second term as Abbot President of the Subiaco Congregation. The Holy See confirmed his presidency, Friday, 14 September. Ad multos annos!

August 2012

300th Jubilee of Fulda Cathedral

Archabbot Ordinary Dr. Imre Asztrik Várszegi OSB was the guest homilist during the Jubilee Mass celebrating 300 years of Fulda Cathedral. The prelate heads Pannonholma Archabbey, Hungary. In his homily he recalled the monastic roots of Fulda noting that St. Boniface, Apostle of Germany, had worked there and is buried there. Addressing the congregation as the living stones of Fulda Cathedral, the archabbot reminded them that the Church, as they are, is always in the process of becoming. "It would be false to believe that the Kingdom of Heaven has already been established [on earth] in its full glory" (Fuldaer Zeitung).

Winnipeg Sisters Celebrate 100 Years

In 1912 the first five Benedictine Sisters came to Winnipeg, Canada, from Duluth, Minnesota, to found St. Benedict's Monastery with only $0.27 among them. Their successors "founded hospitals, nursing homes, high schools, a retreat center, and most recently, housing for seniors" (Winnipeg Free Press).

+ Abbot Patrick Moore OSB

Abbot Patrick Moore OSB, 73, died in a car accident south of Belfield, North Dakota, 9 August 2012. He governed Assumption Abbey from 1988 to 2004. After his retirement he served as administrator of Mary Mother of the Church Abbey, Richmond, Virginia, through June 2009. A Funeral Mass for Abbot Patrick was held Tuesday, 14 August, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in New England, ND, with Bishop David Kagan celebrating and Abbot Brian Wangler OSB concelebrating. Assumption Abbey celebrated the Solemnity of the Assumption Mass for Abbot Patrick, Wednesday, in Richardton, North Dakota, with Abbot Brian as principal celebrant. The monks celebrated a Committal and Burial Service at the Assumption Abbey Cemetery. Obituary.

Monks feed the rich, so they can give to the poor

Monks have lived on the island of St. Honorat since the first monastery was founded in 410 A.D. Today about 30 Cistercian monks populate the Abbey of Lerins. John Laurenson's article, "Monks feed the rich so they can give to the poor," for American Public Media's Marketplace World is an interview with several monks about the entrepreneurial success of their restaurant and vineyard.

The Congress of Abbots 2012

Almost 300 monastics will gather in Rome, 17-25 September 2012, for the international Congress of Benedictine Abbots and Conventual Priors at the Primatial Abbey of St. Anselm on the Aventine Hill. Preceding the Congress, new monastic superiors will participate, 15-16 September 2012, in an orientation program. 25 representatives from Communio Internationalis Benedictinarum (CIB), an association of Benedictine sisters and nuns, will also attend the Congress. The Abbot Primate has invited ecumenical guests from the Orthodox and Reformed traditions.

The two keynote speakers are Prof. Michael Hochschild presenting his research on the viability of Benedictine monasteries, and Fr. Michael Casey OCSO offering a paper on autonomy in Benedictine life. In addition, a wide range of workshops will address current topics in monastic life; such as, Benedictine identity, stress and burnout, associate membership programs, management of monasteries, individualism in the monastery, relationship with Benedictine women, new forms of Benedictine presence in society, ecumenism, the paschal mystery in the sacred liturgy, new directions for inter-monastic dialogue, new structures for AIM, the changing role of the Athenæum S. Anselmo, the sexual abuse crisis, the role of the abbot, communio in the confederation, and the formation of "traditionalist" candidates.

The assembled abbots and conventual priors will have the opportunity to visit in pilgrimage the monasteries of Subiaco, Montecassino, Norcia, and Camaldoli, which is celebrating its 1000th anniversary this year. Nearly half of the 250 abbots and conventual priors will reside in the Collegio S. Anselmo, with the others, including CIB representatives and ecumenical guests, housed in area religious houses and hotels.

An important item on the agenda is the election of the abbot primate of the Benedictine Confederation. According to the Lex Propria of the Benedictine Confederation, the abbot primate is elected for an eight-year term, and renewable thereafter every four years. There is no term limit to the office of abbot primate. The current abbot primate, Dr. Notker Wolf OSB, a monk of St. Ottilien Archabbey in Bavaria, is completing 12 years of service, having been re-elected in 2008. Your prayers for the success of the Congress are greatly appreciated.

July 2012

Saint Bede Liturgy Lecture

The Second Annual St Bede Liturgy Lecture was given by Archbishop Arthur Roche, the recently appointed Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship, Saturday, 14 July 2012, at Ealing Abbey. Archbishop Roche spoke on the phrase from Sacrosanctum Concilium 8: In terrena Liturgia caelestem illam praegustando participamus, "In the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy" (tr. Austin Flannery). His talk is projected to be published in Questions Liturgiques: Studies in Liturgy. An initial report is expected to appear in The Tablet of London. The event was sponsored by the Institutum Liturgicum in Anglia et Cambria. More information is available here. The first annual St Bede Liturgy Lecture given in 2011 by Fr. Ephrem Carr OSB, President of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, Sant'Anselmo, is now available as "Sacrosanctum concilium and its Consequences: The Reform of the Liturgy," Questions Liturgiques: Studies in Liturgy 92:3 (2011) 183-194.

Solemnity of Saint Benedict

The Patriarch

Benedictines and their friends celebrate Saint Benedict, Patriarch of Western Monasticism and Co-Patron of Europe, on Wednesday, 11 July. Born in 480 A.D., his Rule for Monasteries brought order and creativity to a world of decadence and corruption.

The sculpture at left by Bro. David Paul Lange OSB was dedicated recently at Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota. It depicts the Founder as a young monk flanked by books and manuscripts that no doubt helped inform the Holy Rule that he wrote later in life at Monte Cassino for his disciples.

What we know of Saint Benedict comes from the Second Book of the Dialogues written by Pope St. Gregory the Great. The office hymn, Gemma caelestis recalls his vision of the death of his twin sister, Scholastica, and the sequence, Laeta quies, poetically recalls incidents of Benedict's life in the light of scriptural precedents.

Many monasteries reserve this date for the Profession of Vows.  Congratulations to the many Benedictine men and women making first or final commitments or celebrating jubilees of monastic profession.

In preparation for the celebration of the Feast of St. Benedict, Liturgical Press offers a new edition of their special Benedictine Resources catalog as a PDF document.

Dilatato Corde

A new issue of Dilatato Corde from Monastic Interreligioius Dialogue is now on-line at

What's New OSB
What's New (Aktuelles) in the Austrian Congregation. Aktuelle Meldungen (Erbe und Auftrag, Monastische Welt).

What Was New OSB (1995-; archive). April, May, and June 2012.

The monks of Saint John's Abbey welcome comments, questions and suggestions from readers at the Pilgrim's Parlor. Send items for inclusion in "What's New" to the <Webkeeper>.


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