Abbots and Priors' Congress:
On September 1st. Fr. Martin left for Rome to attend the meeting of Benedictine Abbots and Priors that are held every 4 years. On Sunday, Sept. 3rd. they were at St. Peter's Square to witness the beatification of Dom Columba Marmion, Abbot of Maredsous in Belgium who died in 1923. The Congress elected Archabbot Nokter Wolf, osb to succeed Abbot Marcel Rooney, osb as the Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Order.
The farm has been spared from predators thanks to the presence of more donkeys. On Sept. 6th, our jenny gave a third son, Mingo jr. Donkeys like to bond and become very protective. If they see unfamiliar "invaders", they will sound the alarm (typical hee-haw) and most predators will step back. Last year, when we put the rams with the ewes, the donkeys did not approve the behaviour of the rams; they chased them away until we intervened and made peace with their new neighbors.
On Sept. 9th, Fr. Alexis and Br. Pierre flew to Paris with 25 pilgrims to follow the traditional roads to St. James of Compostela. They covered 1,300 miles by bus and stopped at famous churches that were visited by pilgrims since the 12th century. Fr. Alexis celebrated mass for the group in the crypt of the Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre, Chartres and many cathedrals; Medieval churches had a simplicity that gave more meaning to the pilgrimage. When you enter most of the old churches, you are greeted by Christ as Judge or Christ in Glory on the portals. The Romanesque churches depict the bible on the capitals and the Gothic churches give you stories from the Bible on the stained-glass windows. Spain is very different in its landscape and spirituality. They have Romanesque and Gothic churches with additions from the Baroque period. The last day was spent in Compostela with a concelebrated mass; a sister lead the singing with her beautiful voice and a real talent to conduct the liturgy. After communion, we had the privilege to see the 5 foot tall censor swinging in the transept as part of our thanksgiving: "Let my prayer rise before you like incense, O Lord." (See the diary of the Meyers for more details.)
On September 29th, we had the visit of the Rt. Rev. Msgr Jose Siro Gonzalez Bacallao. The picture shows Msgr. Frederick Eid (former student of Fr. Damasus at the Darlington seminary in New Jersey), Juan Cabrera and his mother Marta, Br. Stephen, Msgr. Gonzalez and Fr. Martin. "For the past 4 years, Castro had allowed the diocese of Pinar del Rio, in western Cuba, to publish a handsomely printed bimonthly magazine named Vitral. It has a circulation of about 30,000 and an editor, Dagoberto Valdes Hernandez, who has been demanding in elegant but firm editorials greater social justice and national reconciliation of all Cubans." America Nov.99. "This interested me (I'm Cuban by birth) and saw a web link to Vitral at El Herald, a Miami newspaper on the Internet. So, I clicked on Vitraland viewed the magazine. Its articles on religion, literature and art were of very high quality. I e-mailed the bishop requesting a subscription. He replied he would send them free; I received several issues via the Nunciature in Washington, DC. We kept contact and he was interested in me as Benedictine and former architect. On a visit to Puerto Rico to a fellow priest who was building a church, the bishop learned that the architects had known me; one of them had worked with me at the office of Emilio Del Junco in Havana. From then on, he wanted to meet this former architect, now monk. In September, Bishop Jose Siro was allowed to come on business to the States. A very important item on his agenda was to visit Mount Saviour. From Hoboken where he was staying, friends drove him him, four and a half hour each way, for a four hour visit to Br. Stephen's surprise and joy. He signed the guest book with a comment in Spanish: "What joy to find myself at the Saviour's Mount." Br. Stephen.
Mount Saviour page