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January, February, and March 2016

Rev. 11 February 2016


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February 2016

Beginning of Lent

On 10 February 2016, Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, at 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass with the rite of blessing and imposition of ashes and the Sending forth of the Missionaries of Mercy. Mass will be archived by Vatican Radio.

For Sisters, the celebration of Saint Scholastica may be postponed to Thursday, 11 February.


The Year of Consecrated Life Concludes

Pope Francis closes the Year of Consecrated Life with a Mass on Tuesday, 2 February 2016, the 20th Day of Consecrated Life. Cardinal João Bráz de Aviz, the Prefect of CICLSAL, said during a symposium, "As consecrated people, we have to show that God can fill our hearts and make us happy." He exhorted all to unity and fraternity as a means to live the spirituality of communion in the Church.

Live video of the Holy Father's Mass with consecrated women and men will begin Tuesday, 5:25 p.m. CET, Rome (11:25 a.m. ET).

The audience for consecrated women and men, 1 February, is also available as video on demand.

January 2016

World Economic Forum 2016, Davos

Pope Francis responded to the request from Professor Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, for an address to the 2016 assembly meeting in Davos. Cardinal Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, delivered the address on behalf of the Holy Father, 21 January 2016. "Pope Francis stresses the vital role that politicians and economists have in promoting an inclusive approach which takes into consideration the dignity of every human person and the common good" (

Election at Hanga

Saturday, 23 January 2016, the community of St. Maurus Abbey, Hanga, Tanzania, elected Fr. Octavian Masingo OSB third abbot of the monastery. Abbot Octavian, 41, a native of Singida region in northern Tanzania, joined Hanga Abbey in 2000 and became a priest in 2010. He will assume office, 1 August 2016, for an unspecified period. Until then, Prior Jerome Mlelwa OSB will be acting superior. The election followed the end of the mandate of Abbot Taddei Mhagama OSB on 13 January. He had been abbot since 2004.

Week of Prayer for Church Unity

Monday, 18 January, began the International Week of Prayer for Church Unity, first observed in January, 1908. The Octave ends on 25 January, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. The devotion of prayer for unity, inaugurated by the Society of the Atonement, was approved as a Catholic devotion by Pope Benedict XV in 1916. This year, the theme is "Called to Proclaim the Mighty Works of the Lord." Resources for the week are available from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Church Unity, the Graymoor site, and from the World Council of Churches.

Archabbot Justin Announces Retirement

Archabbot Justin DuVall OSB, 64, the spiritual leader and chief administrator of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad, Indiana, on Wednesday, 13 January 2016, announced that he will resign as abbot, effective 2 June 2016. Archabbot Justin has served as the ninth abbot and sixth archabbot of the 162-year-old Benedictine community for more than 11 years. The monks of Saint Meinrad elected Archabbot Justin, 31 December 2004. Following a period of discernment and discussion, the monastic chapter of about 80 monks will elect his successor, 2 June, according to the Constitution and Statues of the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation. Surviving precedessor archabbots include Abbot Bonaventure Knaebel OSB, 97, resigned 1966; Abbot Timothy Sweeney OSB, 80, resigned 1995; and Abbot Lambert Reilly OSB, 82, resigned 2004.

Saints Maur and Placid - 15 January

Pope St. Gregory the Great tells the story of Benedict's young disciples, Maur and Placid, in Chapter 7 of the 2nd book of his Dialogues. Responding in perfect obedience, Maur was able to rescue little Placid from drowning. Follow the link  to read the story and see a charming watercolor of the event by Jeanne Kerremans from L'Admirable Légende de Saint Benoît (1948).

World Day of Peace

"Overcome Indifference and Win Peace"

Vatican City, (VIS) - "Overcome Indifference and Win Peace" is the title of the Holy Father's message to celebrate the 49th World Day of Peace,  1 January 2016. The document was signed on 8 December, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and the day of the opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The message encompasses eight chapters: God is not indifferent, God cares about mankind, God does not abandon us; Maintaining our reasons for hope; Kinds of indifference; Peace threatened by global indifference; From indifference to mercy: the conversion of hearts; Building a culture of solidarity and mercy to overcome indifference; Peace: the fruit of a culture of solidarity, mercy and compassion; and Peace in the sign of the Jubilee of Mercy.

The Economist Lauds HMML

The Economist magazine features in its Christmas Special the work of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Libary preserving Islamic manuscripts in Mali. Timbuktu was the Sahara's capital of manuscript study. Books were exchanged as caravans came through Timbuktu and, beginning in the late 16th century, they were copied there, too. The monks of Saint John's Abbey founded HMML in 1965. The long article, “Faith's Archivists,” tells the gripping story of the timely rescue of manuscripts before the arrival in Timbuktu of a militant group linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. A related video supplements the article.

Jubilee of Mercy


8 December 2015 begins the Jubilee of Mercy. Opening of the Holy Door in the Vatican Basilica is the official act of the Holy Father inaugurating the jubilee that concludes on the Feast of Christ the King, 20 November 2016. In the words of Pope Francis, "On that day, the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope."

What's New OSB
What's New auf Deutsch Aktuelle Meldungen (Erbe und Auftrag, Monastische Welt).
What Was New OSB, October, November, and December 2015, and previous quarters (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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