The Saint Vincent Oblate News

Page created by Johnnie Vasquez
The Saint Vincent Oblate News
                               FEBRUARY - APRIL, 2022 • VOLUME 75, NUMBER 1

  A Message From Archabbot Martin - February 2022
Dear Oblates and Friends of Saint Vincent,

We’ll soon be embracing the grace-filled
season of Lent with the observance of Ash

Some years ago, Dr. Daniella Zsupan-Je-
rome, Director of Ministry Formation and
Field Education at Benedictine Saint John’s
University, introduced me to John Berney
Crome’s painting, Great Gale at Yarmouth
on Ash Wednesday. The canvas invites us
into the Lenten season with a visual story
of turbulence featuring clouds and waves
converging on the coast. The clouds belie
the invisible power of the wind. That wind
in turn stirs up the waves tossing the boat
and slapping the coastal buildings.

The clouds are varied: large white ones
as well as dark storm clouds. The central
                                              smeared, in the shape of a cross, much         ing to eliminate all that hinders us from the
black cloud is especially imposing; it is
                                              like the sign marked on our foreheads on       fullness of life in Christ.
                                              Ash Wednesday.
                                                                                             May Lent 2022 be for us a time of peaceful
                                              Lent calls us to conversion on the journey     but determined conversion culminating in
                                              to Easter. That path is often through rough    the bright calm of our victorious Savior.
                                              waters. We are tossed in the waves of our
                                                                                                 Sincerely in Christ and Saint Benedict,
                                              own desires and poor decisions; we are
                                              assaulted by our temptations and selfish-
                                              ness. Lent is the time again to confront           +Martin de Porres Bartel, O.S.B.
                                              our personal turbulence. The wind is not           Archabbot
                                              a danger, but the breath of the Spirit seek-
The Challenge of Resisting Worldly Entanglements:
       Keeping Christ as Lord of Daily Life
 Need to keep Christ in                      “fear the Lord, and do not become elated       signify the physical world in a neutral
                                             over [our] good deeds; [we] judge it is the    way or the created universe as creat-
Christmas & in Every Time                    Lord’s power, not [our] own, that brings       ed by God and, therefore, as basically
Traveling to and from parishes before
                                             about the good in [us]” (Prol: 29).            good.) Saint Benedict sternly warns all
and after Christmas, I noticed billboards
                                                                                            of us: “Do not gratify the promptings of
that proclaimed the reminder: “Keep          The abbot in particular, perhaps because       the flesh” (4:59) and “hate the urgings of
Christ in Christmas” (thanks largely to      he must take care of much secular busi-        self-will” (4:60). We are also told, “Your
the Knights of Columbus). That cause         ness for the monastery, is warned not to       way of acting should be different from
is indeed a worthy one, and I hope that      adopt worldly ways. He is to strive to cure    the world’s ways” (4:20). The cellarer,
the billboards have been producing a         monks of “their unhealthy ways” (2:8), to      who has to deal with material things on
salutary effect on those driving by. We      “avoid all favoritism” [a tool of the fallen
live in a very secularized culture that                                                     a daily basis, must be especially careful
                                             world] (2:16), and to remember the reck-       to avoid worldly ways. He must “not [be]
tends to exclude God from any public         oning he must give on judgment day for
functions as if He were being cast out                                                      an excessive eater” (31:1); he should
                                             the souls of all his monks and for his own     “keep watch over his own soul” (31:7);
as an unwelcome guest. As Christians         soul (2:38). Saint Benedict places strong
we know that Christmas without Christ                                                       rather than seeking his own importance,
                                             emphasis on the abbot’s call to spiritual      he must “show every care and concern
makes no sense. Our Lord’s incarnation       leadership when he asserts, “Above all, he
and birth anticipate His Passion, Death,                                                    for the sick, children, guests and the
                                             [the abbot] must not show too great con-       poor” (31:9). The very material objects
and Resurrection, which constitute the       cern for the fleeting and temporal things
most important events in human history.                                                     which he regularly handles belong to
                                             of this world” (2:33). In sum, the abbot is
As many Christmas carols tell us, Christ                                                    God and are to be treated with care and
                                             summoned to keep Christ first in all his
was born to die—and then to rise and                                                        respect; indeed, the cellarer “will regard
                                             dealings and to show forth Christ to his
ultimately to “save us all from Satan’s                                                     all utensils and goods of the monastery
                                             monks since “he is believed to hold the
power” and lead us to eternal commu-                                                        as sacred vessels of the altar” (31:10).
                                             place of Christ in the monastery” (2:2).
nion with the Blessed Trinity. Thus Christ                                                  In our “throwaway culture,” we must be
                                             The admonitions that “the love of Christ
must be at the center of every moment                                                       eager to make Christ Lord over the way
                                             must come before all else” (4:21), that one
of our lives. We could truly say, “Let us                                                   we interact with His material creation.
                                             must “dash … against Christ … all wrong-
keep Christ in daily life, and may He be     ful thoughts” (4:50), and that monks strive    Priors of the monastery are warned
Lord of every moment.”                       to “cherish Christ above all” (5:2) apply      not to be “puffed up by the evil spirit
The Rule of Saint Benedict is meant to       first and foremost to the abbot.               of pride” (65:2) nor to “[think] of them-
give us strong support in this endeavor.
                                                                                            selves as second abbots” or exercise
Along with leading us to a closer rela-      At the same time, the Holy Rule calls all
                                                                                            “tyrannical power” (65:2); rather, the pri-
tionship with Christ, the Rule provides      monks—and indeed all Christians—to
                                                                                            or is to show exemplary obedience to
ways to resist the evils of our culture.     serve as counterwitnesses to the world’s
                                                                                            the abbot—and to Christ—by “[carrying
                                             ways, insofar as “world” represents the
                                                                                            out respectfully what his abbot assigns
 The Rule’s Call to Live                     forces that are hostile to God—people
                                                                                            to him” (65:16).
                                             and movements that rebel against God’s
  Counterculturally                          plan. (“World” is used in Scripture also to    Toward the end of the Rule, Saint Ben-
Right from the outset, Saint Benedict                                                       edict urges builders of monasteries,
reminds us that we are engaged in a                                                         if possible, to include “all necessities”
spiritual battle against Satan, against                                                     (66:6) within its walls so that “there will
our inclinations to evil, and against the                                                   be no need for the monks to roam out-
perversions of our culture. The Prologue                                                    side, because this … is not at all good
reminds us that we are to be “armed                                                         for their souls” (66:7). Even in Saint
with the strong and noble weapons                                                           Benedict’s time, we know from the Rule
of obedience to do battle for the true                                                      and from Pope Saint Gregory’s Life and
King, Christ the Lord” (Prol: 3). While                                                     Miracles of Saint Benedict that monks
the world promotes self-indulgence and                                                      did go forth from the monastery on le-
self-will, the monk, the Oblate, and the                                                    gitimate business, probably even on
Christian are summoned to “prepare our                                                      missions of evangelization. In fact, in
hearts and bodies for the battle of holy                                                    the centuries that followed, missionary
obedience to [God’s] instructions” (Prol:                                                   monks became a common phenom-
40). While the world promotes pride in                                                      enon and contributed greatly to the
what we humans achieve, we Christians                                                       evangelization of Europe. We could in-

disciples’ witness, those in the world
                                                                                              who are open to conversion will come
                                                                                              to know Him, to know the Father, and to
                                                                                              accept their unconditional love. In John
                                                                                              15, Our Lord tells His apostles, “‘If the
                                                                                              world hates you, realize that it hated Me
                                                                                              first. If you belonged to the world, the
                                                                                              world would love you as its own; but be-
                                                                                              cause you do not belong to the world,
                                                                                              and I have chosen you out of the world,
                                                                                              the world hates you’” (Jn 15: 18-20). In
                                                                                              His “High Priestly Prayer” (John 17), Je-
                                                                                              sus prays that His disciples not belong
                                                                                              to the world even though they must live
                                                                                              in it. He prays: “’I speak this in the world
                                                                                              so that they may share My joy com-
                                                                                              pletely. I gave them Your word, and the
                                                                                              world hated them, because they do not
                                                                                              belong to the world any more than I be-
                                                                                              long to the world. I do not ask that You
                                                                                              take them out of the world but that You
terpret the admonition against “roaming        Solomon’s reign, the whole of the northern     keep them from the evil one. They do
                                               kingdom (“Samaria” or “Israel”) fell into      not belong to the world any more than I
outside” as a warning to reject worldly
                                               false worship. We can be very much like        belong to the world. Consecrate them in
ways when a monk (or any Christian)
                                               such “reverts” when we at least temporarily    the truth. Your word is truth’” (Jn 17: 13-
leaves the safe haven of a Christian
                                               forget Christ’s sacrifice of love for us and   17). These precious words of Our Lord
environment. Most especially, a Chris-
                                               sometimes prefer wealth, status, physical      remind us how much struggle it can be
tian must not roam spiritually outside of
                                               comforts, or power over others.                to live a Christian life and how much the
a strong commitment to Christ and to
                                                                                              worldly forces of our culture will oppose
practices that keep one rooted in Christ.
                                               The New Testament abounds in passag-           us when we live our faith zealously. How
On the contrary, we Christians have an
                                               es that warn disciples of Christ against       we shall need God’s grace to be victors
obligation to be proactive in bringing
                                               adopting worldly ways. In His “Last Sup-       in the struggle!
the world to Christ, perhaps one soul at
                                               per Discourse” (Jn 13-17), Our Lord makes
a time, rather than to let secularistic val-
ues infect our minds and hearts.
                                               strong statements about not being “of the             How to Oppose
                                               world.” He also speaks about the suffer-            “the World” Today
                                               ing inflicted by the world upon disciples
     Biblical Cautions                         who remain true to His words. In Jn 14:27,     How are we to live this tension of living
    About the “World”                          Christ says, “Peace I leave with you; My       in the world (as if we had a choice) while
                                               peace I give to you. Not as the world          not giving in to “worldly ways”? For one
In the Old Testament, especially the pro-      gives do I give it to you.” A few verses       thing, we need diligently to adhere to a
phetic books, the Israelites are warned        later, He asserts, “”I will no longer speak    regime of spiritual practices, not for their
time and again not to worship the idols of     much with you, for the ruler of the world      own sakes but for a strengthening of
the pagan nations that surrounded them.        [Satan] is coming. He has no power over        our covenant relationship with God and
It may seem amazing to us that after all       Me, but the world must know that I love        for growth in our love of Him and trust
that God did for the people in saving          the Father and that I do just as the Father    in Him rather than reliance on human
them from slavery in Egypt and providing       has commanded Me” (Jn 14: 30-31). The          strength. We need to be strong in our
them with manna and springs of water in        implication is that through His Passion,       faith to resist the unspeakably horrible
the desert, they still reverted often to the   Death, and Resurrection and through His        developments in our culture, especially
idolatry of other peoples. Such worship
was less demanding and involved super-
ficially appealing control over the pagan
gods. The true God called the people to
be particularly His own, but they repeat-
edly forgot their chosenness and instead
preferred other gods, as if there really
were gods other than the God of Israel.
In the separation of Judah (and Benja-
min) from the northern tribes after King

book Availability: The Challenge and the        that battle is the nurturing of gratitude for
                                               Gift of Being Present (Notre Dame, IN:          being begotten by God, for the opening
                                               Sorin Books, 2015), popular author Robert       of our hearts to growth in love, and for the
                                               Wicks wrote, “As children we recognize          gift of eternal life, in which we share even
                                               at an early age that the world is not the       now. The events of Christmas, Epiphany
                                               kingdom-fulfilled. From the trauma of birth     and the Baptism of the Lord are joyful
                                               through the early formative years (birth to     mysteries that remind us of God’s love
                                               approximately five years of age) and into       that caused Him to take on human na-
                                               the other major period of identity forma-       ture, to show Himself to us, and lovingly
                                               tion-reformation, adolescence, we see the       to humble Himself in baptism in order to
                                               many things that we feel are missing in         share with us the arduous battle against
                                               ourselves. We unconsciously pick up the         sin. Let us live these joyful mysteries
                                               insecurities of our parents who, no matter      all year long. Let us struggle valiantly
                                               how wonderful they or our early guard-          against the secularistic world’s entice-
                                               ians were, also had issues and conflicts to     ments so that the Lord may better work
                                               confront” (p. 94). At an early age we may       through us in our self-sacrificing love for
                                               “begin to feel we have the answer [to our       Him and for others.
                                               discomfort]: success!” (p. 94). Then we
                                               learn, sooner or later, that success in one     This gigantic task can be a joyful one
                                               area or another does not bring us ultimate      because in the battle we are united with
                                               fulfillment or save us from our inner incon-    Christ, who is our joy, and He even re-
                                               sistencies. By grace and with an environ-       joices in us insofar as we are even min-
during the past few decades. Today not         ment with people who lead us to seek sal-
only has there been much popular ap-                                                           imally responsive to His loving outreach
                                               vation in Christ, we may learn that only He     to us. In the first reading at the first Sun-
proval of abortion, contraception, and
                                               and a growing faith in Him will deliver us      day Mass after the Christmas Season,
euthanasia, but more recently God’s
ways are being rejected in the con-            from the “mess” that lies within us.            we heard that God wishes to call us by
doning of a “redefinition” of marriage                                                         a new name and to share with us His
and of efforts to change our God-given            Faith as a “Tool” for                        glory. Like the exiled Israelites, we may
gender. Such evil trends are even be-            Overcoming the World                          often see ourselves as “Forsaken” and
ing encouraged among young people                                                              “Desolate.” Instead, the Lord wishes to
in some public schools. They attack            At weekday Masses during the Christmas          call us “My Delight” and “Espoused,” as
the very foundation of society, which          Season, the first Scripture reading comes       if we were in the best possible marital
involves stable traditional marriages          largely from the First Letter of Saint John.    relationship with Him. God Himself tells
which follow the moral law of God. Of          In that letter the apostle reminds us often     His people Israel and us, “For the Lord
course, we must all be firm in opposing        to struggle against “the world” taken in        delights in you and makes your land His
such developments. Most of us do not           its negative sense, with references also        spouse. As a young man marries a vir-
have much political influence; but we          to the battle against “darkness” and “the       gin, your Builder shall marry you; and
can all pray ardently for the conversion       evil one.” Saint John cautions us, “Do not      as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride
of those being deceived by these evils,        love the world or the things of the world”      so shall your God rejoice in you” (Is 62:
and we may have opportunities with             (1 Jn 2:15). After listing the elements of      4-5). All our struggle against the evils of
family and friends to dissuade people          the world as “sensual lust, enticement          the world is surely not an end in itself.
who are moving toward these destruc-           for the eyes, and a pretentious life” (1 Jn     It is meant to purify us of our unhealthy
tive trends. It is a wicked phenomenon         2:16), he concludes that “the world and         attachments so that we may truly prefer
indeed when governments promote                its enticements are passing away. But           Christ to everything else and welcome
gross immorality and even try to force         whoever does the will of God remains            God to espouse us in infinite love. This
perverted doctrines upon children.             forever” (1 Jn 2:17). Near the end of his       ultimate goal of infinite, perfect joy in
                                               letter, Saint John speaks of the Christian      communion with God and all the saints
However, our struggle is not only against      as having conquered the world. Baptized
these outer forces. Even more relevant                                                         is very much worth the arduous battle
                                               Christians strive to love God by keeping
to our daily lives is the need to oppose                                                       against evils within and evils without.
                                               His commandments. He adds, “And His
the “worldliness” that has invaded our                                                         With “our hearts overflowing with the
                                               commandments are not burdensome, for
own minds and hearts. To the extent                                                            inexpressible delight love,” (RB Prol: 49)
                                               whoever is begotten by God conquers the
that we are motivated not by the love                                                          even on this earth, let our whole beings
                                               world. And the victory that conquers the
of Christ but rather by pleasure, power,       world is our faith. Who indeed is the victor    rejoice that someday we shall “deserve
and popularity, we are still worldly. We                                                       … to share in [Christ’s] kingdom” (Prol:
                                               over the world but the one who believes
all can easily be deluded by our desire                                                        50) in its fullness.
                                               that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 Jn 4-5).
for praise or success. By a consistent
prayer life, we can come to recognize                                                               In the peace of Christ and Saint
these motives within us that are incon-               Joy of Looking                                Benedict,
sistent with our Christian profession               Beyond This World
and to work against them with the help
of the sacraments and of devout fami-          Christian life is not just a struggle against        Father Donald S. Raila, O.S.B.,
ly, friends, and spiritual directors. In his   “the world” and the evil one. Coupled with           Director of Oblates

Oblate Events
      Retreats for 2022                        tude to the public-relations staff, possible
                                                                                                   Plans for the
                                               speakers for Oblate Day in September
Because of the pandemic, the status of         and the Day of Recollection in October,
                                                                                               5th World Congress of
retreats this coming summer is still uncer-
                                               and the NAABOD meeting scheduled for             Benedictine Oblates
tain. Brother Hugh Lester, O.S.B., director
                                               August 4-9, 2022, at Saint Meinrad Arch-       The international Oblate Congress origi-
of the Summer Retreat Program, urges
                                               abbey. The board agreed to schedule its        nally for scheduled for November of 2021
people who are interested to check the Re-
treat website, www.saintvincentretreats.       next meeting for April 29.                     has been rescheduled again for Septem-
org to see the planned offerings. Plans are                                                   ber 9-16, 2023. Presumably the pandem-
for three weekend retreats and one Day of        The Solemnity of Saint                       ic will be over by that time. This resched-
                                                                                              uling was announced on December 1 by
Recollection. Last year two virtual retreats    Benedict at the Archabbey                     Abbot Primate Gregory Polan, O.S.B. In
were offered and these are still available.        on March 21, 2022                          his letter to superiors of monasteries, Ab-
Links are on the retreat website.
                                                                                              bot Primate Gregory said, “We count on
                                               Oblates are welcome to attend events at        your usual collaboration for the success
  Oblate Day and Day of                        the Archabbey on Monday, March 21, to          of this important event, which we are
  Recollection for 2022                        celebrate the Solemnity of the Passing of      working on together with the International
                                               Our Holy Father Benedict with the mo-          Team of Benedictine Oblates.” Four Ob-
Oblate Day for 2022 has been scheduled         nastic community and other guests. The         lates affiliated with Saint Vincent Archab-
for Sunday, September 25, 2022, and the
                                               schedule includes Mass at 4:00 P.M., sup-      bey have already expressed interest. For
fall Day of Recollection for Saturday, Oc-
                                               per at 5:15, Oblate ceremonies at 6:15,        more information you may contact the
tober 29, 2022. The form of these events                                                      website for the congress or our Father
                                               and Vespers at 7:00. (See the schedule
will depend much on the status of the                                                         Benoît Allogia, O.S.B., who has been co-
pandemic. If you are considering staying       and reservation form elsewhere in this is-
                                               sue.) The registration form should be sent     ordinating plans for the congress.
overnight as a guest, do remember that,
as of now, the guest house is open only        to the Oblate Office by March 12. The cost
for guests who are fully vaccinated.           of the dinner, depending on the menu cho-            Assembly of
                                               sen, will range from $16.29 to $19.50. At      Deanery Representatives
     Meeting of Oblate                         the suggestion of the Board of Advisors,       on Saturday, June 4, 2022
     Board of Advisors,                        no one will be obliged to pay, but free-will
                                                                                              The semi-annual Assembly of Deanery
                                               donations will be accepted at the time of
      January 14, 2022                                                                        Representatives, postponed from last
                                               the dinner. Checks should be made out to       year because of the pandemic, is ten-
Members of the board assembled for             Saint Vincent Archabbey.                       tatively scheduled for Saturday, June 4.
their 83rd regular meeting at 6:30 P.M.                                                       One or two representatives from each
on January 29 in the Faculty Dining                                                           deanery are invited to participate. Some
Room (after supper). Five members, in-                                                        are likely to need overnight rooms on
cluding Father Donald, were able to at-                                                       June 3-4 and/or June 4-5. Please let
tend in person, and two others attended                                                       Father Donald know by early May if you
by Zoom. The topics discussed includ-                                                         will need an overnight room. A speaker
ed the 2023 World Congress of Oblates,                                                        and a topic have not yet been chosen,
the event on March 21, the possibly                                                           but deanery representatives will be wel-
of a deanery representatives’ meeting                                                         come to bring up their own issues for
this summer, the need to express grati-                                                       discussion among the group.

Oblate News
Suggested Lenten Projects                       purchases. Just let the volunteer at the
                                                cash register know. The hours of the gift
It is suggested that the Oblates and Ob-        shop are 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M., Monday
late novices affiliated with us rededicate      through Saturday.
themselves to the regular praying of the
Liturgy of the Hours (as much as one’s            Quotes from Father
schedule allows) and the regular practice        Michael Casey, O.C.S.O.
of lectio divina on the Bible (daily, if pos-
sible). The undertaking of good spiritual       (from new book Coenobium: Reflections
reading replacing less beneficial activities    on Monastic Community (Collegeville,
is also recommended. It is also important       MN: Liturgical Press, 2021)
to keep reading the Holy Rule, ideally a
                                                “It is the sacred character of the monastic
bit each day, and to apply it personally to
                                                community that is its most distinctive fea-
one’s everyday life, as in performing the
                                                ture. Its role as a visible sign of the church
spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
                                                is to witness to the presence of the risen
                                                Christ to an indifferent world and to be a
    Basilica Gift Shop
                                                sign of hope to a generation that some-
   Offers 10% Discount                          times seems to be fading into despair. By
       to Oblates
                                                the attractiveness of their fully realized
Oblates and Oblate novices who pur-             humanity monks and nuns can be lights
                                                on a hilltop, trailblazers for all who wish      than that. It is yielding control—moving
chase items in the Basilica Gift Shop
                                                to follow Christ, who is our road to eternal     from a zone of activity into a condition
may receive a discount of 10% on all
                                                life” (p. 23) [This challenge also applies to    of responsiveness and service. There is
                                                Oblates and Christian families.]                 no explicit agenda in going to the Office
                                                                                                 except being there ….” (p. 30).
                                                “The Liturgy of the Hours is an invitation
                                                to come away to the desert so that God           Prayer-partner Program
                                                may speak to the heart. It involves leaving
                                                behind the world of practical utility, allow-    Our revised Prayer-partner Program
                                                ing tasks to be left undone or unfinished        has been implemented now for several
                                                in order to stand before God... In part, go-     years. Each new Oblate (soon after final
                                                ing to the Office is routine, but it is more     Oblation) is partnered with a monk who

has agreed to participate. There is no       er a brochure for first-time Oblate guests,     among collegians and seminarians, and
communication between partners un-           but any Oblate is welcome to request a          to maintain a world-class instrument
less both agree to such communication.       copy. As of January, with construction          for special events and concerts, Saint
Each partner prays for the other regu-       of buildings still occurring, guests must       Vincent Archabbey and Saint Vincent
larly, ideally daily, as best as he or she   pick up meals in the Community Center           Parish ask for your help in raising funds
can. If you are a full Oblate who wishes     (college cafeteria).                            for the enhancement of our pipe organ
to have a monk prayer-partner, please                                                        so that it can be played to its fullest. If
phone the Oblate Office.                      Oblate Logo Clothing &                         you would like to make a gift for these
                                              Apparel Items for Purchase                     improvements to the Saint Vincent Ba-
Oblates as Guests at the                     Clothing and other items with the Oblate
                                                                                             silica organ, please call or email: Shan-
 Archabbey - Now Possible                    logo is available; you may contact the
                                                                                             non J. Jordan, Chief Mission Advance-
for Those Fully Vaccinated                   website
                                                                                             ment Officer, Saint Vincent Archabbey,
                                                                                             Seminary, and Apostolates, 300 Fraser
Oblates are again welcome to come                                                            Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650;
to the Archabbey as overnight guests
                                                Completion of Saint
                                                                                             724-532-6740; Shannon.jordan@stvin-
if they are fully vaccinated and send
                                               Vincent Basilica Organ
proof of their vaccination. The number       Several years ago a new pipe organ for
of rooms in Leander Hall is very limited;    the basilica was installed, but one whole         Reminder About “the
so reservations should be made as far in     section was left unfinished because of            Saint Vincent Oblates
advance as possible. No fee is required      lack of funds. Now the monastic commu-                Scholarship”
or specified, but donations are welcome.     nity has decided to complete the organ,
The current break-even cost for one          provided that the funds are available. In an    Funds available from the “Oblate Schol-
guest staying one overnight and taking       ongoing effort to enrich the liturgical expe-   arship” of Saint Vincent College to be
three meals is $60.00. Also, some Ob-        rience at Saint Vincent Basilica, to provide    awarded are the result of the spending
lates and Father Donald have put togeth-     organ instructions for budding organists        policy adopted by the Saint Vincent Col-
                                                                                             lege Board of Directors. If anyone has
                                                                                             questions or would like additional infor-
                                                                                             mation, he or she may contact Carolyn
                                                                                             Walsh, by e-mail, at Carolyn.walsh@
                                                                                    or, by phone, at 724-805-
                                                                                             2412. This scholarship may benefit your
                                                                                             children or grandchildren if they attend
                                                                                             Saint Vincent College. (The last newslet-
                                                                                             ter had the wrong e-mail address.)

(4) book Nadeem Feroze: Oblate of
                                           Saint Benedict, Pakistani, Defender of
                                           the Faith—$8.00 each

                                           (5) Blessed Saint Benedict/Saint
                                           Scholastica scapulars (usually given
                                           at final Oblation; sometimes the sup-
                                           ply is limited)

                                               New (or Newly
                                            Discovered) Books on
                                           Benedictine Spirituality
                                           Father Michael Casey, O.C.S.O., Co-
                                           enobium: Reflections on Monastic
                                           Community (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical
                                           Press, 2021)

                                                  Personal Notes
                                           (1) On January 13 Oblate Gregory
   Some Items Available                    DeFloria of Greensburg, PA, was ap-
  from the Oblate Office                   pointed Assistant Episcopal Master of
                                           Ceremonies by Bishop Larry Kulick of
(1) pamphlet “God’s Love for You” with     Greensburg. Our prayers and congrat-
message of evangelization—free             ulations are with Greg in his significant
                                           position in the diocese.
(2) booklet Saint Benedict for Busy Par-
ents—for $1.00 each                        (2) Oblate Paul Fling of Conway, SC,
                                           reported in December that the Women’s
(3) booklet of deanery histories—free or   Center where he volunteers announced
with donation for postage                  that in 2021 its staff and volunteers

were able to save 72 babies from abor-        Pittsburgh Oratory as part of the “Oratory     generally change during Holy Week and
tion and to persuade 29 people to ac-         Lecture Series.” The title of the discussion   the Triduum.
cept Christ into their lives. Let us praise   with Clare as translator, in conversation
God for these graces and the coopera-         with Father Michael J. Darcy, C.O., was        2. Father Donald apologizes for his late
tion given to the Lord by His ministers       “Saint Philip Neri: His Work and His Lega-     response to a large volume of Christmas
of life!                                      cy.” We congratulate Clare on her arduous
                                                                                             mail. Duties with the Archabbey Liturgy
(3) Oblate Clareece “Clare” Godt of                                                          Committee and other factors have left
Pittsburgh, PA, has been working for            Special Announcements                        a big pile of Christmas greetings unan-
some years on an English translation
                                                                                             swered even in late January. He plans
of a book in Italian on Saint Philip Neri,    1. Oblates who wish to attend services
                                              during the Paschal Triduum may phone           to reply to each piece of mail, but it may
which was recently published. She was
scheduled to give a presentation on           the Oblate Office a few days in advance.       be well into March before he can finish
Saturday, January 29, at 7:00 at the          The times for Morning Prayer and Mass          responding. Please be patient.

News From Oblate Deaneries and Groups
                                                                                             The 3:00 presentation on November 21 was
                                                                                             given by a junior monk, Brother Francisco
                                                                                             Whittaker, whose topic was “The Eucharist
                                                                                             in Benedictine Spirituality.” About 13 people
                                                                                             attended in person, and about 12 by Zoom.
                                                                                             Brother Francisco began by saying that
                                                                                             although Saint Benedict did not explicitly
                                                                                             mention the Eucharist often in the Rule, he
                                                                                             clearly had a very Eucharistic spirituality. The
                                                                                             talk covered three main topics: the Liturgy of
                                                                                             the Hours, silence, and community meals,
                                                                                             all insofar as they were connected with the
                                                                                             Holy Eucharist. Regarding the Liturgy of the
                                                                                             Hours, each Hour is a preparation for the
                                                                                             Eucharist or an expression of thanksgiving
                                                                                             for the Eucharist. Brother Francisco noted
  Father Jude Brady, O.S.B.                      Father Earl Henry, O.S.B.                   that the Mass contains the four traditional
                                                                                             elements of prayer, and so does the Liturgy
                                                                                             of the Hours, the elements being adoration,
                                                                                             contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication.
                                                                                             Both the Hours and the Mass remind us
                                                                                             that Christ is with us always; we are never
                                                                                             alone. Brother Francisco, in treating silence
                                                                                             and humility, noted that the Eucharistic host
                                                                                             is apparently small and unimpressive; Christ
                                                                                             continues to come in humility, and we need
                                                                                             to silence ourselves to recognize Him, to
                                                                                             adore Him, and to rely on Him. In silence we
                                                                                             grow in gratitude for the Eucharist, which is
                                                                                             the greatest gift that we can receive.

                                                                                             In silent prayer we model Christ in His
                                                                                             prayers away from crowds. Finally, Broth-
                                                                                             er Francisco noted that meals are an ex-
  Father Nathanael Polinski, O.S.B.              Father Justin Nolan, O.S.B.                 tension of the Eucharistic meal. Every
                                                                                             meal should be an occasion of gratitude
                                                                                             to God and for our brothers and sisters
Oblate Meetings in Latrobe                     sary. The session on February 20 is to be
                                                                                             in Christ. During meals our thanksgiving
   and Presentations on                        offered by Father Jude Brady (“Obedi-         from the Mass overflows into our experi-
 Benedictine Spirituality                      ence”), on March 13 by Father Nathanael       ence of eating with others. Those serving
                                               Polinski (“Holiness”), on April 10 by Fa-     and those dining are to treat everything
Oblates from all locations are welcome         ther Earl Henry (“Stability”), and on May     with reverence since Christ is present. Af-
to the monthly meetings of the Latrobe         15 by Father Justin Nolan (“Walking with      ter his presentation Brother Francisco re-
Deanery of Oblates, mostly at 6:30 P.M.        the Lord”). According to the latest policy,   sponded to a number of questions.
and usually in Brownfield 202. The next        those staying for supper have been pick-
four meetings will be on February 20,          ing up meals in the college cafeteria and     In the evening at 6:30, five Oblates re-
March 13, April 10, and May 15. Those          eating in one of the rooms across the hall.   mained to discuss “Silence/Taciturnity”
wishing to come for Evening Prayer (usu-       (We hope that sometime soon the guest         from the book A Study Guide for the Rule
ally at 5:00) and supper before the eve-                                                     of Saint Benedict by Abbess Emerita Ma-
                                               dining room will re-open.)
ning meeting should phone Father Donald                                                      ria-Thomas Beil, O.S.B., of Saint Walbur-
in advance at (724) 805-2291. The book A                                                     ga Abbey in Colorado. The themes dis-
Study Guide for the Rule of Saint Benedict     Latrobe, PA (Saint Gregory                    cussed from the Rule included silence as
is currently being discussed. Also, infor-        the Great Deanery)                         a remedy to sin, the connection of silence
mative presentations on Benedictine spir-                                                    with humility and obedience, forbidden
ituality continue to be offered at 3:00 P.M.   Meetings usually on 3rd Sunday of month,      types of speech, silence in the Bible, si-
on the same dates, usually in Brownfield       3:00 P.M. presentation in Brownfield 202;     lence as a “fruit of the heart,” and prayer
Room 202. All are welcome, and pre-reg-        6:45 P.M. discussion on book, in Brown-       in silence. The session ended with the
istration is no longer absolutely neces-       field 202                                     praying of Compline at 7:45.
Brother Francisco Whittaker, O.S.B.             Father Basil Burns, O.S.B.                      Father Donald Raila, O.S.B.

Father Basil Burns gave the presentation        themselves.” To become holy often in-           young children.
on December 19 to about 15 people; it           volves some loneliness in the process of
was entitled “Holiness in Benedictine           being abandoned to divine providence            At the meeting at 6:30, attended by five
Spirituality.” He introduced the topic of       and being possessed by the Holy Spirit.         Oblates, the group completed a study of
holiness by referring to holiness in the        Father Basil asserted that it is crucial for    silence and began the section of the text
Christian tradition, by relating a personal     the Christian to strive for holiness and that   on humility. Saint Benedict’s concept of
experience of undergoing a series of con-       holiness is more than following rules; it is    humility involves acknowledging God’s
versions, by emphasizing that holiness is       a matter of being “possessed” by Christ.        greatness and our utter human weakness.
possible only by grace, and by remarking                                                        Humility requires self-emptying and being
                                                However, for Benedictine monks and Ob-
that we can tell when we observe holiness.                                                      filled with God; it is the foundation of our
                                                lates, the way to holiness is to follow the
Then turning to the Holy Rule, Father Basil                                                     spiritual lives. The attendees then reflect-
                                                Rule in daily life, with the help of grace.
mentioned that Saint Benedict often uses                                                        ed on the first three steps of humility be-
                                                The way to holiness involves life as a jour-
the word “sanctus” (holy) and challeng-                                                         fore praying Night Prayer at 7:45. We were
                                                ney and life as a battle for Christ, our true
es monks (and all of us) to become holy                                                         blessed to have among us an Oblate from
                                                King. Every day we are called to pray for
in all of our conduct. Blessed Columba                                                          Iowa who, despite long affiliation with
                                                the intentions of many people; such pray-
Marmion, in his book Christ, the Ideal of                                                       Saint Vincent, had never before been able
                                                ing for healing and for the conversion of       to attend an Oblate meeting in Latrobe.
the Monk, mentions holiness many times          hardened sinners is also an important part
and writes of Christ as our divine model of     of growth in holiness. We must accept           The meeting on January 16 took place
holiness; our part of growing in holiness
                                                Saint Benedict’s challenge ever to “has-        amid the beginnings of a snow storm. The
is to surrender to Christ by faith. Christ,
                                                ten” to the summit, our heavenly home.          3:00 session was attended by four Oblates
as Saint Benedict tells us, must fill all our
                                                After his stirring presentation Father Ba-      and Kim Metzgar of Archabbey Public Re-
activity. The Sarabaites in RB 1 represent
                                                sil responded to a number of questions,         lations, who recorded the presentation.
the opposite of holiness; they are “full of
                                                including one regarding the salvation of        Because the scheduled speaker was just

                                                                                                  Dorothy Day

coming out of quarantine, Father Donald                Annville, PA                          the “Prayer for Oblates” and a reading
gave the presentation, which was about            (Saint Placid Deanery)                     from the Rule. Then the attendees entered
silence in Benedictine spirituality. Father                                                  into a discussion on Part 1 of the book
Donald offered reflections on the ninth,       Meetings at 3 P.M. on 4th Sunday of each      mentioned above. They agreed to read
tenth, and eleventh steps of humility from     month, Saint Paul the Apostle Church          Chapters 7 and 8 in Part 2 for the next
RB 7, with references to Scripture and to                                                    meeting, scheduled for February 13. The
                                               Secretary/lay leader Phyllisann Godfrey       group also discussed lectio divina and the
the book A Guide to Living in the Truth        reported on November 16, December 9,          value of the online app “AMEN” from the
by Father Michael Casey, O.C.S.O. The          and January 17 & 24. Four Oblates met         Augustine Institute in assisting with lectio.
session ended, as usual, with a prayer for     on November 12 and began their meet-          They also mentioned how an online app
Dorothy Day’s beatification. Because of        ing with the “Prayer for Oblates” and a       with audio could assist members in pray-
the bad weather, there was no additional       reading from the Rule. There followed a       ing Vespers in community since newer
session that evening.                          discussion about prayer in general and        members have not had much experience
                                               what forms of prayer each attendee found      with the Liturgy of the Hours. The meeting
    Oblate Group in                            challenging or especially beneficial. They    adjourned early because a snow storm
                                               then moved on to a discussion about the       was beginning; so the attendees prayed
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada                     Liturgy of the Hours, its history, and its    Vespers individually at their homes. Zoom
                                               importance in light of Jesus’ command to      meetings will be used until one member
Meetings on 1st Thurs. mornings at Saint
                                               pray unceasingly. Also considered were        recovers from surgery.
Gregory the Great Church in Cambridge          the many options available today, includ-
                                               ing online resources. The group planned
Oblate Cathy Mayled reported by e-mail
                                               to continue to read the book A Layman’s
                                                                                                  Baltimore, MD
on many occasions with prayer intentions.
                                               Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours by Fa-      (Saint Walburga Deanery)
However, because of the persistent threat
                                               ther Timothy Gallagher and to discuss the     Meetings at 3:00-4:45 on 3rd Sun. of month,
of Covid, the group has not been meeting       chapters of that book. The meeting ended
in person.                                                                                   parish house, Saint Benedict Church
                                               with a sharing of light refreshments and
                                               the praying of Vespers in the church.         Moderator Father Paschal Morlino sent
     Oblate Group in                                                                         an e-mail message on January 7 remind-
   Tennessee Colony, TX                        Health problems and family obligations        ing Oblates of the “Christmas meeting”
                                               prevented the Oblates from gathering in
      (Michael Unit)                           December. The meeting in January was
                                                                                             planned for January 23 and passing on to
                                                                                             them information from lay leader Jay Wells
There was no report. Apparently, meet-         held on the 16th after being postponed
                                                                                             about the opportunities offered by the Cy-
                                               from the previous week because of haz-
ings are not yet being held because of                                                       ber Deanery.
                                               ardous weather. Thanks to the expertise
the pandemic.
                                               of one of the Oblates, the session involved
                                               a trial meeting by Zoom, which worked out
                                                                                             Beaumont, TX [Stiles Unit]
Oblate Group in Rosharon,                      well for members who were unable to at-        (Saint Stephen Deanery)
   TX (Terrell Unit)                           tend in person. The meeting opened with
                                                                                             Oblate novice Jeremiah, serving as lay
Oblate Gilberto reported by mail on De-                                                      leader and secretary, wrote on December
cember 1. Although Oblate meetings are                                                       7 and 27 and on January 10. The meeting
                                                                                             on November 20, attended by 15 people,
not yet permitted, a group that prays the
                                                                                             began with the praying of the Office of
Liturgy of Hours together regularly has
                                                                                             Readings and a reading of a passage from
grown to six or eight participants. It is                                                    the Rule. Jeremiah reflected on the pas-
hoped that “prayer meetings” can be re-                                                      sage by commenting on the importance
sumed soon.                                                                                  of silence for listening to God’s voice and,
                                                                                             especially in Saint Benedict’s day when
Oblate Group in Livingston,                                                                  monks had no private rooms, for showing
   TX (Polunsky Unit)                                                                        respect to others. Jeremiah also explained
                                                                                             about internal and external distractions
Oblate Alex reported by mail on Novem-                                                       and mentioned ways to deal with them.
ber 2, along with a statement of what Ob-                                                    He also recalled a personal experience
late commitment means, especially for                                                        about the value of practicing silence. He
those who are inquiring. He also wrote on                                                    emphasized that silence was not an end
December 24 with Christmas greetings                                                         in itself but is of value insofar as it leads to
                                                                                             God and the doing of His will.
and with an expression of hopes that the
group could resume meetings soon, that                                                       The meeting on December 4 was attend-
it could become a deanery, and that the                                                      ed by seven or eight people and again
participants could develop a fraternal life.                                                 began with the Office of Readings and
a reading of the Rule—from RB 53, on               Oblate Ronald Weleski for his years of          “Oblates can find daily readings of Saint
hospitality. Jeremiah summed up Bene-              faithful service as lay leader of the dean-     Benedict’s Holy Rule with reflections from
dictine spirituality as “silence, obedience,       ery, especially during the difficult time of    a Benedictine monk and one of our Ob-
and service, all underscored by humili-            Covid (which, of course, has not yet end-       lates affiliated with Saint Vincent. Check-
ty.” Benedictines, he said, are known for          ed), and we thank Joyce for her willing-        ing in daily, one can fulfill the recommen-
hospitable service to all; we are called to        ness to step into this position.                dation of reading the Rule three times
imitate Christ’s example in extending our-                                                         within the year. We provide suggestions
selves to others. Each person whom we                 Cyber Deanery (Saint                         and links to videos, books, and other spir-
encounter comes as an opportunity from             Isidore of Seville Deanery)                     itual guidance to help in the members’
God. Loving other people as Christ loved                                                           conversatio. We give Oblates affiliated
involves making time available for them            [Those interested in the deanery may con-       with Saint Vincent Archabbey a vehicle to
and actively listening. True love is sacrifi-      tact]                    share their experiences and reflections.
cial and “takes the extra step.”)
                                                   Lay leader Patrick Kenny reported by            “To join the Cyber Deanery, please feel
The meeting on December 18, attended by            e-mail on December 7. On December               free to contact Patrick at PatrickCKenny@
about eleven people, began with the Office         5 the deanery conducted its “trial Zoom”
of Readings and a reading of a passage from        meeting,” and it was successful.
Rule, namely Chapter 63 on “Community                                                                   Jacksonville, NC
Rank.” Then Jeremiah gave a reflection on          The next Zoom meeting occurred on Jan-
the chapter with a description of novice for-      uary 2 at 3:00 E.D.T. Sixteen people tuned          (Saint Michael the
mation, which includes a process of looking        in to it. After opening prayers, at Patrick’s       Archangel Deanery)
inward, understanding oneself, and over-           request Fr. Donald offered some reflec-
                                                   tions. He spoke about the Solemnity of          Meetings at Infant of Prague Church, 7:00
coming disorders in one’s life—or possibly
                                                   Epiphany and references in the Holy Rule        P.M., 3rd Tues. of month
discerning that Benedictine life is “not for
me.” Is one truly called to this way of life, or   to the presence of God and manifestations
                                                                                                   Lay leader Robert Hilton reported on No-
is one looking only for external influence or      of Christ, with the summons to obey Him
                                                                                                   vember 23 and January 7. The meeting
perceived benefits? The session ended with         and honor Him. The meeting then went on
                                                                                                   on November 16 was attended by seven
Jeremiah’s reference to the three Benedic-         to a discussion of the book that had been
                                                                                                   people in addition to Father Vic Gournas,
tine vows and a rough explanation of con-          chosen for group discussion.
                                                                                                   moderator of the deanery. After an open-
versatio morum. The consideration of the                                                           ing prayer, the group viewed a DVD en-
vows was to continue at the next meeting.             A Statement on the                           titled “The Everyday: Benedictine Life at
                                                        Cyber Deanery of                           Mount Saviour,” produced by Mount Sav-
The meeting on January 8 was attended
by one Oblate, four inquirers, and one oth-
                                                    Saint Vincent Archabbey                        iour Monastery in Pine City, NY. Since the
er person. Attendance was low probably                                                             liturgical commemoration for the day was
                                                   Lay leader Patrick Kenny wrote the fol-         the memorial of Saint Gertrude the Great,
because of uncertain circumstances. The            lowing for this issue of the newsletter in
session began with a brief prayer, followed                                                        Robert distributed a summary of her life
                                                   December, 2021.
by a hymn. Then Jeremiah gave some in-                                                             to the attendees. The meeting ended with
structions on the use of the breviary, in          “Living in Alabama, I am grateful that the      Night Prayer.
particular Christian Prayer. Next he offered       Oblate Office of Saint Vincent Archabbey
a lesson from RB 58 (on the vows) and RB           established a cyber deanery for those who
63 (on community rank). He spoke about             are unable to belong to a physically locat-
the required qualities of those who enter          ed deanery or attend deanery meetings
the novitiate and the importance of no-            in person. For many who are too far from
vitiate formation to help men to “find out         Latrobe and have no other deanery in their
who we really are.” Jeremiah then gave             vicinity, it can be difficult to stay focused
detailed reflections about the meaning of          on their Benedictine obligations. Having
stability, conversatio morum, and obedi-           the support of other Oblates can help to
ence, with the remark that “love is what           keep us energized.
makes obedience possible.” Jeremiah
also responded to a number of questions.           “COVID delivered a new opportunity for
                                                   the Cyber Deanery to provide support to
        Butler, PA                                 many more Oblates. When deanery meet-
                                                   ings were postponed for reasons of safe-
(Saint Hildegard Deanery)                          ty, the Cyber Deanery saw many Oblates
Monthly meetings at Saint Fidelis Parish           affiliated with Saint Vincent Archabbey
Hall, 6:30 P.M., 4th Thurs. of each month          seeking support and community. Start-
                                                   ing with just a handful of Oblates before
Lay leader/secretary Joyce Collins report-         COVID, the Cyber Deanery is now 49
ed by e-mail on December 17. We thank              strong and continues to grow.
other attendees then offered suggestions         Niagara Area, Ontario,
                                              about other books, prayers and devotions         Canada (Saint Henry/
                                              that might be helpful. They also spoke          Saint Gertrude Deanery)
                                              about the humanness of saints in their
                                              struggles with life’s stresses so that there   Meetings on 3rd or 4th Thurs. of each
                                              is hope for all of us to become saints.        month, meeting room of Saint Thomas
                                              Suggestions were also made about journ-        Aquinas Church, Saint Catharines, Ont.
                                              aling and apps that are available for pray-    (after a holy hour with benediction)
                                              ing the Liturgy of the Hours.                  Lay leader Brian Chisholm reported by
                                                                                             phone on December 30. At the meeting
                                                    Kalispell, MT                            on November 25, Father Benjamin Weber,
                                                (Holy Trinity Deanery)                       moderator, gave an excellent presentation
                                                                                             on scandal.
                                              Meetings at Saint Matthew’s Roman
                                              Catholic Church in Kalispell on 2nd Wed.,      Father Ben could not be present at the
  Father Thomas Acklin, O.S.B.                10:00 A.M.                                     meeting in December. Because of Father
                                                                                             Ben’s extremely full schedule, there was
                                              Lay leader/secretary Tanishia Sperling         talk about finding another deanery moder-
The meeting on December 21 was attend-        reported by e-mail on December 9 and           ator, perhaps a retired priest.
ed by seven people, and it opened with        January 17. The meeting on December
the praying of Vespers. Then the group        8 was attended by three Oblates while                Pendleton, IN
viewed a DVD presentation on “Holiness        two long-distance Oblates were kept ap-
and Humility” by Father Thomas Acklin,
                                                                                             (Saint Celestine Deanery)
                                              prised. After an opening prayer, the group
O.S.B., at the Archabbey. Bob reported        continued to discuss the book A Guide          Monthly meetings in the chapel in Pendleton
that former lay leader James Hough, al-       to Living in the Truth by Father Michael
though he is suffering from a terminal ill-   Casey, O.S.C.O. In their consideration         Secretary Oblate Frederick reported by
ness, continues to meet with an individual    of Chapter 9, “Yielding to Others,” the        mail on November 28 and December 12.
to give him RCIA instructions.                attendees mentioned the virtues of re-         The meeting on November 21 occurred
                                              specting one another, of not seeking to        after a Liturgy of the Word service and
                                                                                             was attended by three Oblates and one
  Johnstown, PA (Saint                        be esteemed, and of valuing the wisdom
                                                                                             inquirer. Oblate Cory gave a presentation
 John Gualbert Deanery)                       of the young as well as of the elderly.
                                                                                             on RB 40, entitled “The Proper Amount
                                              These virtues apply to Oblates in family
                                                                                             of Drink.,” and his presentation was en-
Meetings on 1st or 2nd Monday of each         and community as well as to monks, and
                                                                                             titled “Individuality and Personal Goals.”
month, 6:30 P.M., Saint Benedict Church       we must work on them.
                                                                                             He spoke about everything good as a gift
Lay leader/secretary Kathy Kristofko          There was no meeting in January, particu-      from God and the things we can do to re-
                                              larly because of one member’s illness.         spond to that gift. Cory mentioned that
wrote on December 15 and January 15.
                                                                                             abstaining from drink is one way to “earn
The meeting planned for November was
                                                                                             our reward” in response to God’s gift. He
canceled because of unforeseen circum-
                                                                                             also reflected on the term “local condi-
stances. The meeting on December 13                                                          tions,” especially situations of deprivation,
began with Evening Prayer in the church.                                                     which can help us to strive for holiness if
Then the group moved to the Saint John                                                       we embrace them and offer them up out
Paul II meeting room for a pre-Christmas                                                     of love for Christ. Cory also referred to the
social and a discussion of what Oblates                                                      readings for the Office of Readings for the
can do to strengthen the spiritual lives of                                                  day and to St. Benedict’s allowances for
people in their own parishes.                                                                monks of his day, which show his com-
                                                                                             passion for human weakness.
The meeting on January 10 was held by
Zoom. There was mention of the mission                                                       About the same time Oblate Argumedo, in
to be held at Saint Benedict Church on                                                       another unit, gave a presentation on obe-
March 26-28. The group also made plans                                                       dience based on RB 5: 1-19. He spoke
to celebrate the Feast of Saint Benedict                                                     about the need to remember original sin
                                                                                             and its consequences as opposed to the
on July 11 by having a meal together at
                                                                                             prompt obedience called for by St. Bene-
a restaurant. Then the attendees spent
                                                                                             dict as “the first step of humility.” Argu-
some time communicating with the Ob-
                                                                                             medo also referred to Mk 10: 28-30.
late novice who attended and who told
about the books that she was reading on                                                      On December 9 the group was able to have
the Rule and Benedictine spirituality. The                                                   a Liturgy of the Word service in a chapel for
the second week in a row. On that date,         requested for those who had lost loved        with personal intentions and the “St. Ben-
after the liturgy, Fred gave a presentation     ones recently or who had family members       edict Prayer.” Because of the drastic rise
on RB 56, entitled “The Abbot’s Table.”         who were very ill.                            of Covid in the area, no meetings were
Five people were in attendance, including                                                     planned for January or February. The next
three Oblates. Fred focused on the phrase       Lay leader George Ponticello, whose mother,   meeting is planned for March 6.
“for the sake of discipline” and, quoting       Rita, died on November 14, thanked all the
from Heb 12:11, mentioned that the fruit        deanery members for their many prayers,       The meeting on November 7 was led by
of healthy discipline is growth in righteous-   words of support, and a beautiful “Serenity   Oblate novice Christine Raizin and attend-
ness. He also referred to Saint John the        Prayer” blanket, which the deanery members    ed by only one other person, an Oblate.
Baptist’s response to people’s questions        gave to George in memory of his mother.       The two of them reflected on RB Prol: 9-10,
”What should we do?” when they came to                                                        14-15. 22. The discussion highlighted the
him for baptism. The meeting ended with         The deanery held its annual Christmas         importance of being continually open and
the praying of the “Oblate prayer.”             party on December 27, with Father Jim         available to Christ in the present moment,
                                                Orr hosting the event at his beautifully      with the use of eyes and ears to discern
                                                decorated rectory. Four Oblates attended,
     Philadelphia, PA                           and Father Jim was especially gracious in
                                                                                              God’s call and to seek Him at all times.
    (Saint Augustine of                                                                       We are to nurture a continual yearning for
                                                preparing food that was compatible with       God, to learn God’s will, and to surrender
    Canterbury Deanery)                         the attendees’ dietary needs. The next        our hearts to His will with confidence that
                                                meeting was planned for January 24, with      He will provide.
Memorial Chapel of the Good Shepherd,
                                                the intention of discussing Chapters 8 and
10:00 A.M. on Saturdays
                                                9 of The Story of a Soul. The goal was to     The meeting on December 5 was led by
Moderator Father Vincent de Paul Crosby,        complete the book in February and then        Mary Ann Kaufman and attended by four
O.S.B., reported in person on January 17.       move on to another book.                      others. The group reflected on RB Prol:
There had been hope for a meeting in Jan-                                                     21-32 & 33-38, with focus on 25-28, 32,
uary, but the rise of the Covid pandemic         Pittsburgh, PA (South                        and 35. The discussion highlighted the
led the deanery to wait until March (condi-      Hills - Blessed Columba                      challenge of RB 25 and “walking without
tions permitting) to resume meetings.                                                         blemish.” We need to realize that we are
                                                   Marmion Deanery)                           not yet sinless but that the Lord leads us
  Pittsburgh, PA (North                         Meetings on 1st Sunday of month at Saint      away from sin and to a knowledge of His
                                                Louise de Marillac Church in the Bishop       forgiveness. Temptations should be quickly
Side - Saint Peter Deanery)                     Leonard Room, 1:30 P.M. - 3:00 P.M.           “dashed against Christ,” who wins the vic-
Meetings on 4th Monday, 7:00 P.M., Saint                                                      tory over sin for us. Emphasis was placed
                                                Lay leader Mary Ann Kaufman reported          on God’s daily patience and our need to
Anthony Chapel in Troy Hill
                                                by phone on January 9 and by e-mail on        “translate” His holy teachings into action.
Oblate James Perini, acting lay leader, re-     January 21. The meetings on November
ported by e-mail on November 9 and Jan-         7 and December 5 began with Daytime            Rosharon, TX [Ramsey
uary 16. On October 25 five Oblates met         Prayer, “A Prayer for Oblates,” and “Con-     Unit] (Saint Bede Deanery)
with Fr. James Orr, moderator, to discuss       secration to the Blessed Trinity” by Bless-
the remainder of Chapter 6 of their book        ed Columba Marmion. The discussions on        Monthly meetings
for discussion, namely The Story of a Soul      the Rule were based on the book The Rule
by Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. Prayers were       in Bits and Pieces. The meetings closed       There was no report. Apparently, the
                                                                                              deanery has not had meetings because of
                                                                                              the pandemic.

                                                                                                Savannah, GA (Saint
                                                                                              Katharine Drexel Deanery)
                                                                                              Special monthly events (Sept. - May) at
                                                                                              Sunday Vespers at Benedictine Priory

                                                                                              Moderator Father Ronald Gatman, O.S.B.,
                                                                                              reported by e-mail on November 22, with
                                                                                              the addition of a reflection by lay leader
                                                                                              Michael Williams entitled “Keeping the
                                                                                              Balance,” which refers to the crisis associ-
                                                                                              ated with the pandemic and related issues
                                                                                              and the value of the Holy Rule and our
                                                                                              prayer lives to help us to maintain balance
                                                                                              amid turmoil. Copies of this reflection are
                                                                                              available from the Oblate Office.
In September the deanery met on a Sun-                 Somerset, PA                          be effective without first understanding
day to discuss a portion of the Rule and       (Saint John Paul II Deanery)                  the doctrinal content of Catholicism. The
to attend a Mass celebrated by Father                                                        meeting ended with a closing prayer, in-
Ron. In October the group met for some         Meetings on 2nd Tuesdays, 6:30 -8:15,         tercessions, and the singing of the Bene-
group lectio divina and then came togeth-      chapel annex                                  dictine “Ultima.”
er for a Mass, during which Deacon Doug
                                               Because of the pandemic, meetings are         The meeting on December 13, attended by
Delzieth gave a presentation with the as-
                                               apparently not yet being allowed.             seven people, was led by lay leader David
sistance of his wife, Renee. On Novem-
ber 21, the Solemnity of Christ the King,                                                    Nice in the absence of Father David, who
the group participated in a discussion of
                                                    State College, PA                        was hearing confessions at an Advent pen-
part of the Prologue of the Rule led by lay       (Saint Joseph Deanery)                     ance service. After the praying of “Oblate
leader Mike Williams, who also offered the                                                   prayers” and Vespers, the group discussed
                                               Meetings on 2nd Mon., 6:30 P.M., Our
reflection mentioned above. The meeting        Lady of Victory Church, Saint Joseph Ac-      Chapter 5 of the given text, which address-
was followed by a Mass.                        tivity Center.                                es evangelization. The main point of the
                                                                                             chapter is that “evangelization isn’t about
The first meeting for the new year was
                                               Secretary Phyllis Austin reported by          a concept or an idea, but about a friend-
planned for January 16, with a full gather-
                                               e-mail on November 10 and December            ship with Christ that you have, and that
ing of Oblates for a session of group lectio
                                               20. The meeting on November 8 was at-         you want someone else to have, too.” In
divina and a celebration of Mass followed
                                               tended by moderator Father David Griffin,     the chapter Bishop Barron describes ways
by supper. Oblates were also to be invited
                                               O.S.B., and seven others. The meeting         in which such a relationship can be shared
to join in the monastic Vespers.
                                               began with “Oblate prayers” and Vespers.      without watering down doctrine or jettison-
Plans for the next few months include a        Then lay leader David Nice led a discus-      ing tradition. The idea that all of us are to be
discussion of the Rule led by Deacon           sion of Chapter 4 of the book that the        evangelists was emphasized. As usual, the
Kevin Knight (a teacher at Benedictine         deanery has been reading and discuss-         meeting ended with a closing prayer, inter-
Military School) and Oblate Jackie Kim in      ing, namely To Light a Fire on Earth. The     cessions, and the “Ultima.”
February. The session is to be followed        chapter focuses on “truth” and gave the
by Vespers. In March Father John Paul          group much material to ponder regarding          Tennessee Colony, TX
Heiser, O.S.B., member of the community        how we are to seek truth, value truth, and          [Coffield Unit]
in Savannah, is to lead the attendees in a     live the truth of our faith. Bishop Barron     (Saint Boniface Deanery)
session of group lectio divina, which will     in his talk criticized “beige Catholicism,”
be followed by Mass. In April there is to be   which denotes a watered-down version          Oblate Kenneth wrote on November 17,
a day of recollection, including a presen-     of the faith and the current state of our     December 6, and December 20. Meetings
tation by Sister Christine.                    secularized culture, which longs for an-      are still not allowed, but Kenneth and three
                                               swers which can be found only in Christ.      others pray Morning Prayer together. Oth-
     Selingsgrove, PA                          In our efforts to evangelize, we cannot       er Oblates in the deanery are reported to
  (Saint Anselm Deanery)                                                                     be reciting the Divine Office individually or
                                                                                             in small groups. A deacon has been hold-
Monthly meetings at 2 P.M. on 2nd Sun-                                                       ing weekly communion services, and an
days at Saint Pius X Church in Selinsgrove                                                   R.C.I.A. program is available. It might be
                                                                                             noted that Kenneth composes a month-
Lay leader/secretary Teresa Warlow report-
ed by e-mail on November 15, Decem-                                                          ly spiritual reflection, with citations from
ber 18, and January 23. The meeting on                                                       Scripture and often with themes from
November 14 began with the “Prayer for                                                       Benedictine spirituality. These, in edited
Oblates” and continued with an audio pre-                                                    form, are available from the Oblate Office.
sentation of Bishop Robert Barron’s talk on
                                                                                             Oblate Anthony wrote on January 14. He
the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eu-
                                                                                             expressed the hope that Oblate meet-
charist, followed by a discussion. The at-
                                                                                             ings might resume soon after February 1.
tendees were grateful for Bishop Barron’s
                                                                                             Individual Oblates were focusing on the
Scripture-based points, which can be used
                                                                                             Oblate Formation Booklet, daily readings
in evangelization. The meeting ended with
                                                                                             from the Rule, and the Bible. One mem-
the recitation of Midafternoon Prayer.
                                                                                             ber of the deanery seemed to be ready
The meeting planned for December 19                                                          for final Oblation, and several inquirers
was canceled, probably because of Covid                                                      seemed to be ready to be invested as
and pre-Christmas activities.                                                                Oblate novices.
You can also read