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What Was New

April, May, and June 2014

Rev. 20 October 2015


June 2014

Birth of John the Baptist - 24 June

Birth of John the Baptist, manuscript

Cassian cites Saint John the Baptist as the model for the desert ascetics he wrote about in Conference 18.6:

[There arose] "another sort of perfection, whose followers are rightly termed anchorites; i.e., hermits, because, being by no means satisfied with the victory whereby they had trodden under foot the snares of the devil while still living in society, they were eager to fight with the devils in open conflict. They feared not to penetrate the vast recesses of the desert, imitating John the Baptist, who passed all his life in the desert."

The Wikipedia article on Saint John documents the widely ecumenical appeal of the Baptist among Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Muslims, Gnostics, Bahá'ís, the Unification Church, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

May 2014

New Abbot President for the Brazilian Congregation

On Saturday, 17 May 2014, the Brazilian Congregation concluded their 59th General Chapter at Aparecida. The capitulars elected Dom Filipe da Silva OSB, 51, Abbot of Rio de Janeiro, as tenth President of the Congregation for a term of six years. The Chapter also elected Dom Emanuel d'Able do Amaral OSB, Archabbot of Salvador da Bahia, and Dom Mathias Tolentino Braga OSB, Abbot of São Paulo, to the President's Council.

Prince Harry Visits Monte Cassino

photoOn 18 May 2014, Prince Harry of Wales attended a service to commemorate the New Zealand troops who died during the Allied campaign to take Monte Cassino from Nazi forces during five months of bitter fighting which culminated in victory 70 years ago. New Zealand forces played a big part in the second and third battles of Monte Cassino in 1944 before victory was secured in the fourth battle. Harry attended the ceremony as a member of the New Zealand Royal Family.

He also attended an open-air mass at the Polish Military Ceremony at the Polish Cemetery at Monte Cassino, and, on behalf of the Queen, laid a wreath where those who paid the ultimate sacrifice are buried. The Battle of Monte Cassino was one of the most important campaigns of the Second World War and saw Allied forces launch four major attacks to remove Nazi forces from a strategically important rocky outcrop, home to the 1,400 year-old Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino. Controversially, the monastery was heavily bombed and destroyed in a bid to make a breakthrough, but the move failed and the holy site was later rebuilt after the war. Harry visited the monastery and was given a guided tour by Father Antonio Potenza OSB, the Abbot's secretary. As he walked into an exhibition chronicling the destruction of the holy site he saw a huge black and white image of its ruins and said: "Unbelievable -- they knocked the whole thing down." (The Daily Mail).

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) - Following is the Holy Father's message to the bishops, priests, consecrated, and faithful throughout the world for the 51st World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which will take place this Sunday, 11 May 2014, and has the theme of "Vocations: Witness to the Truth."

Full text in English:
VIS News
World Day of Prayer Website
National Religious Vocation Conference

April 2014

Benedictines Elect New Prioress in St. Paul, MN

Sister Paula Hagen OSB will assume office as prioress on 8 June 2014. The Sisters of St. Paul Monastsery elected her Sunday, 27 April 2014. She succeeds Sister Lucia Schwickerath OSB. Sister Paula was co-founder of the Ministry of Mothers Sharing. She directs retreats for parishes and organizations working with women and families throughout the U.S.

Two Popes Declared Saints

On Sunday, 27 April, Pope Francis will canonize Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II. Local authorities report unprecedented numbers of pilgrims have arrived in Rome for the event. The service of canonization will be broadcast worldwide and available in replay. The decision of Pope Francis to canonize both popes in the same ceremony sets "a clear vision for a social justice Catholicism that builds a culture of life" (NCR, 24 April 2014).

The Benedictine Experience

The Friends of Saint Benedict announce the schedule of upcoming Benedictine Experiences. "A Benedictine Experience is neither conference nor retreat but a carefully planned, unique attempt to bring together in community men and women, lay and clerical, to study and experience the balanced way of life as envisaged in the Rule of St. Benedict." There are three experiences scheduled for 2014; two in June, one in September.

Good Friday Pilgrimage

The Erie Benedictines for Peace sponsored their annual solemn tradition this Good Friday, 18 April, in downtown Erie, PA. More than 100 people took part in the 34th Pilgrimage for Peace. The marchers made many stops between St. Peter Cathedral and Mount St. Benedict. Each stop highlighted an issue facing the community including capital punishment, poverty, health care, violence, and education. Benedictine Prioress Sister Anne Wambach OSB said, " I think we are trying to raise awareness of the people as we are walking." Sister Mary Ellen Plumb OSB said, "It is just a way for us to walk in silence with Jesus to remember what he did and what we need to do in his name" (Erie TV News with video).

+ Rev. Daniel Durken OSB

Father Daniel Durken OSB, 85, former director of Liturgical Press, longtime theology teacher at Saint John's University, and a preacher known for his incisive wit, died at Collegeville, 29 March 2014. Daniel (Donald) Durken was born a twin (brother Dean), 11 January 1929, in Pemberton, MN. He professed first monastic vows in 1950, and became a priest in 1956. The reception of the body and wake with evening prayer will be on 2 April, Wednesday evening, 7 p.m. The monks, family, and friends will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial, Thursday, 3 April, in the Abbey Church, 3:30 p.m. Burial follows in the abbey cemetery. May he rest in peace.

Benedictines Join the Curia

On Saturday, 29 March 2014, the Holy Father included three Benedictine monks among a large list of appointments and confirmations. Two became members of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life. These are Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke OSB, Eichstatt, Germany, and Fr. Bruno Marin OSB, abbot president of the Subiaco Cassinese Benedictine Congregation. He appointed Fr. William Skudlarek OSB (Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville, MN) secretary general of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue in Rome, a consultor of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

29th Annual Monastic Institute

The Monastic Institute is sponsored and organized by Saint John's School of Theology·Seminary and Saint John's Abbey. Its goal is to foster reflection and conversation on matters of concern to monastic communities and other intentional communities, both Christian and non-Christian. The theme for the next institute that will run from 29 June to 3 July 2014 is "Imagining the Future: Monastic Life in 2020." What is the appeal of monastic life in contemporary society? How does monastic life generate hope within and outside of the cloister walls?

In a world hungering for security and love, the time-tested practices of the monastic tradition bear witness to the reality of God among us. The five speakers bring a wealth of experience and a diversity of perspectives on the importance of monastic life for our times. Read more in the informative brochure.

South Koreans Elect Conventual Prior

On 21 March 2014 the newly autonomous community of St. Joseph's Monastery, Namyangju, South Korea, elected Fr. Pachomius Choe OSB its first conventual prior. Prior Pachomius is 43 years old and returned recently from Rome with a doctorate from the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy at Sant'Anselmo. His mandate is for six years.

What's New OSB
What's New auf Deutsch Aktuelle Meldungen (Erbe und Auftrag, Monastische Welt).
What Was New OSB, January, February, and March 2014, and further back (1995-; archive).

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

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