Prior's Journal: March - June 2011

The coming of spring and summer is measured not only by the emergence of plants, grasses, flowers, bushes and trees but also new vigor in the monastery. House cleaning with fresh breezes blowing through the windows takes on a whole new feeling of preparing for wonderful things.

The coming of Easter and the end of the school year followed by the community retreat all serve to remind us that something new is about to come along. The celebration of Easter in all its splendor, no matter what the weather might be is one of those perennial signs that new life is possible. Even though we had no baptisms here at the abbey, we rejoice in the newly baptized who have brought special joy and hope to our neighboring parishes. I’m sure our seminarians who left immediately after the Easter celebration found that their own parishes were alive with a special dimension of the new life of Easter.

Our graduation and commencement events brought yet another school year to a close as our young men further discern what their individual vocations might be, either to continue toward pastoral ministry in the priesthood or recommitment to living their faith as a lay person.

A good number of us had the privilege of representing Conception Abbey and Conception Seminary College at over thirty ordinations conferring the Order of Diaconate or the Order of Priesthood on our alumni. It is always heartening to hear our sponsoring bishops express their appreciation on these occasions for the role Conception has had in the on-going formation of their newly ordained deacons and priests.

This summer will mark the beginning of another ambitious construction project as we hope to have ground-breaking ceremonies on June 20 for our new guest house. After a great deal of study and conversation with our loyal and generous donors we launched a capital campaign in 2009 which focuses on three areas of renovation - our health care center, the construction of a new guest facility, and eventually the renovation of our monastery. God’s blessings through our generous and loyal friends have brought us to the point where the monastic community could vote in favor of going ahead with the construction of the Guest House. If we are blessed with favorable weather and no major delays we hope to complete the guest house in ten to twelve months. This will certainly be an improvement for our guests and retreatants concerning location of the building and convenience in their living quarters.

At the time of writing this Prior’s Journal we are looking forward to the abbot’s return from his four week visit and teaching commitment in Italy. His emails have spoken of many rich and sometimes challenging experiences throughout his travels. One can never have too many second languages!

As the summer gets off to a good start we pray that our challenges will be manageable and our surprises will be blessings to be enjoyed and lived to the full.

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