Prior's Journal: April 10-May 9, 2010

"Mystagogia" is one of those fifty cent words that gets thrown around a lot after Easter. It either causes people to have a bland look wondering if they heard it correctly or it brings a smile to the newly baptized who recognize what it means. It’s an ancient Greek term for the period and the process of allowing those recently baptized or received into the Church to ponder and savor the joy of their new relationship with the Lord and the People of God. Even though we had no Easter baptisms here at the abbey, the liturgy continues that wonderful theme of rejoicing in the gift of the Resurrection and new life. The presence of the Easter environment in the basilica along with the stately Paschal Candle lift our minds and hearts in gratitude for the gift of Christian life through our baptisms whenever that might have taken place.

This is always a beautiful time of the year as Easter, baptisms in many parishes, and new life in nature combine to celebrate the creative work of God. The long wait of winter gives way to the promises of spring. The local farmers are hoping for some good drying days to get the rest of the crops planted. Some of the early corn has already come up.

Abbey Trails: All trails led to Conception Abbey again this year for our annual physical fitness program and social gathering. April 17 dawned as a perfect day for running and walking which of course delighted the 213 participants. Some of our friends have made this an annual outing over the years. It’s always nice to meet new friends as you run or walk the beautiful grounds of the abbey. The hearty and healthy breakfast afterwards and the health fair in gym were again much appreciated. The proceeds from the event go toward the maintenance of the year round wellness program which is open to the people of our area.

Year’s End: As this column is being written the seminarians have counted down the days before the final papers are due, the coming of the final exams, graduation day, and of course the summer break. Students and faculty alike need a good break at this time of the year. The final Eucharist of the year and graduation will be May 16. We extend our best wishes to those who are graduating and moving on either to further theological studies and the priesthood or to their vocation as dedicated laity. A good number of the monks associated with the seminary will represent the seminary at various ordinations to the priesthood and deaconate during the month of May and June.

LCCIP: Again this summer we’ll host a special program called Language, Culture, and Church for International Priests. This extension of our regular program during the school year for non-English speaking students is designed for priests who are already functioning in this country but still need assistance with their English pronunciation, and a better understanding of the American culture and Church. It has proven to be a very popular program not only for the sponsoring bishops but the participants themselves. See more about our LCCIP program here.

Beautiful landscape: The flowering trees and bushes set against the emerald green of freshly mown lawn make for a beautiful and relaxing scene. We invite you to come see us when you can. You’re always welcome!

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