In addressing the Christians in Rome, St. Paul wrote: "I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers nor heights, nor depth, nor any other creatures will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord". Could Y2K be one of the "future things" St. Paul was concerned about? The crisis, of course, is not the year 2000, but the possible social chaos and financial disaster the malfunction of our computers could cause. Would the social chaos and financial disaster be the worst thing that could happen to us? Or would it be our separation from the love God has for us in Christ Jesus?
In the same letter, St. Paul also wrote: "Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another...."To love one another sounds wonderful but how might we do that beginning in the new millennium?
In the narrative of the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, human beings were created outside the garden and placed in it to hold sway over all the animals and plants, till it and watch over it. There is some evidence that we are 'fixing' to take that God-given employment seriously. And there is some hope that this is a way out of our self-centered impasse. If we learn to look down on the earth with reverence and humility, as God looks down on it and us, we might re- discover our humanness and our vocation to ascend by humility from where we have descended by arrogance and pride. "You have been told what is good and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6,8)
The U.S. Bishops and others in the Church have written that we need to acknowledge a certain Social Mortgage on our land and legacy. Although at Mount Saviour the land and buildings are legally ours, this private ownership is not absolute. Not only do future generations of monks hold a certain mortgage on the land and buildings, but there is a Social Mortgage held by our immediate neighbors, the local, State and Federal Governments, the Church; that is the non- resident faith community, and all creatures large and small who dwell here, along with the vegetation they and we enjoy. In other words, we are in a web of relationships and God holds us responsible for how we deal with each of them.
As we become more convinced of our dependence upon God and more aware
of our security in the love God has for us and the riches we
possess in Christ Jesus, there will come that joy to the world of which
the angels sang when the Word appeared in our human estate at the
first Christmas. That joy is our Y2K wish for you!
The most important event for us and for him was the solemn profession of Br. John Thompson on November 1st. It was a great day too, for his mother and the others who celebrated with him. Br. John Thompson and his mother on his Solemn Profession Day.
In a less public event, but also important for us and for him, was the entrance of Br. George Laliberte into the Novitiate as Br. Guerric on the 1st Sunday of Advent. We ask your prayers for both of these men as they begin their different stages in the St. Benedict's 'School of the Lord's Service'. We are encouraged by the work in the orchard that helped produce over 6 tons of prize apples and lots of pears and plums. Thanks to those who worked in the garden and kept us in fresh vegetables through most of the summer in spite of the drought. The drought did diminish the hay harvest to record lows in spite of the efforts of Br. Bruno and the friends who help keep the farm equipment in working order. Encouragement comes, too, from the skills of our cooks, Br. Raphael, Br. James Cronen and Br Gabriel. We are happy that Piero Masia is back in the kitchen twice a week and for Br. Guerric's willingness to pitch in for Br James Cronen following his surgery. The encouragement we experience from relationship with our families & friends also means much to us. Br . Pierre attended the Annual Pratte family reunion in Montreal. Fr. James Kelly represented all of us at the 40th anniversary of Msgr. Benedict Tighe's ordination. Br Bruno managed some time with his family on Long Island and attended the installation of Fr. Alfred Lo Pinto as Pastor of St. Therese of Lisieux. It was on 15 August 1978 that the altar and chapel were consecrated. This year Dedication Day fell on Sunday 15 August and over 350 people attended the Mass and Brunch. Our community outing this year was at the home of Dr. & Mrs Calderone. To be received graciously inspires us to share our own gift of hospitality with the many guests who visit us each year. Br James Cronen had a third 'total hip' operation on 14 September and was back with us the 19th. He is doing well and gearing up for the opposite hip!
Mount Saviour Summer Experience
Monastic life began as a response of lay Christians to the movements of the Holy Spirit. It remains so today. More and more of the laity find that an association with a monastery anchors their faith and gives direction to their lives. For the past 10 years we have offered men 21-35 yrs. of age the opportunity to spend 5 weeks from 1 July through 6 August in the monastery. St. Benedict said the monastery was to be a 'School of the Lord's Service'. That means to learn to be of service for God's kingdom and to learn to serve as the Lord serves. These learned skills are necessary whether one is a monk or not. The participants in the Summer Experience carry and continue to develop these skills in whatever their calling in life. Summer Experience participants: James Piangozza, Robert Marco, Damon Williams, Andrew Hayward, Mark Chlapowski with Fr. William Sneck SJ
We are now accepting applications for 1 July through 7 August for the year 2000.
Presentations at Mount Saviour
On 13 June, some 75 people attended a special evening in honor of J. Madeleva Roarke entitled: A Journey of Faith and Political Commitment. It was sponsored by The Friends of Mt. Saviour, The Interfaith Hospitality Center at the Elmira Correctional Facility, The League of Women Voters, and the Southern Tier Interfaith Coalition.
On 21 July, The Right Reverend Frank Griswold, Primate of the Episcopal Bishops of the USA, spoke to us about his meetings overseas with the hierarchy of the Russian and Greek Orthodox Churches.
In early August, Margit Kristensen, sister of our Fr. Ansgar who died in June of 1992, spoke to us of her experiences in Burkina Faso, Africa. Margit is with the Danish Embassy and was able to bring us up to date on various situations in Denmark.
On 14 October, Professor Brian Tierney, recently retired from the History Department of Cornell, gave us a brilliant lecture on the Development of the Notion of Rights in the West.
It is not John Glenn going into space but Br. Bruno going into bee space.
In May, Diane Treveiler helped organize another trip to Italy which included Br Bruno and Wes Kennison. A trip which will follow some of the Medieval Pilgrimage Routes to Compostela in Spain is being planned for September 2000. One of the monks will be in the group. Write us for information.
In June, our oblate Mary Skinner led a group of oblates and friends of Mount Saviour on a tour of monasteries and cathedrals in France. Br Pierre was the official translator. The hospitality of the various Benedictines along the route, and especially that of the Trappistines of Laval and the Benedictine nuns of St. Croix de Poitiers, was as impressive as the famous sites.
In October, Fr James Kelly shepherded a group to the Holy Land and he intends to take another group there in October 2000. Write him for information.
We had a very fine Adult Study Week in June on Discipleship and the Cross. Unfortunately we won't be able to have one in 2000.
Also in June, Br John Thompson and Br William Uiting attended a Workshop for simply professed monks at St. Meinrad's Archabbey. Abbot Primate Marcel Rooney and Fr.. Columba Stewart of St John's Abbey directed the event which covered the Liturgy and a study of John Cassian's writings on monastic life.
Br John also spent a month as a guest of Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside California.
In November, Fr. Martin attended a conference in Westborough Mass. on the responsible care of land and property.
Our ecumenical Bible Study Group began the Fall & Winter session with the Acts of the Apostles.
On Dedication Day, mentioned above, Clare Gonta, Daniel Paul and Mary Patricia Ciccariello entertained us with a two piano recital. There is not much written for 2 pianos, but Clare was able to find some delightful music.
Gina Russo, who helped at St. Gertrude's during the summer, gave a viola concert using the music of J.S. Bach and some improvisations of her own.
Johannes Somary played a CD of music he composed for 7 poems by Emily Dickinson and told us about the creative process of setting words to music. It made for a wonderful evening.
Peter Calderone gave us a 'dress rehersal' for his piano concert which was a great success later at Elmira College.
And from time to time we overhear the piano responding to the touch of our own James Kelly or Gabriel Duffee. And that too is a joy.
The Mount Saviour Pilgrimage to Central Italy
May 21 to June 3 1999
It seems right that friends of a monastery
would want to travel to Italy to trace the medieval roots of monastic
life. Our journey through Lucca, Pisa, Florence, Cinque Terre, Siena,
Assisi, Cortona and Frascati gave us a lot to see and ponder between meals.
Unexpectedly, we also had the opportunity to trace the roots of another
medieval institution, which survives to the present day: the hospital.
Hospitals were originally invented to care for sick and injured pilgrims.
Our group had both kinds. But the illness and injury brought to us
the grace of God as each traveler offered gifts of courage, knowledge,
generosity, patience and good humor to overcome the obstacles and speed
us on our way.
Fortunately, our medieval pilgrimage wasn't too medieval. The Villa Michela in Lucca kept us pretty comfortable napping by the pool as Brother Bruno planned our evening prayer (which met in our very own chapel). At the Ristorante La Fortezza in Assisi, we ate a recipe that came to the chef one night in a dream. Not even a heat wave could keep us from climbing to the Ristorante Cacciatore in Spello where lunch was served on a balcony overlooking the entire Spoleto Valley. Sketch of Cella-Contona by Bob Ivers (5-31-99)
As Giovanni, our bus driver, zigzagged us from Frascati to the airport, we all knew that we had experienced something more than just a vacation. It had truly been an adventure of the Spirit, captured best in Giovanni's parting words, "Viva L'Amore!"
By Wes Kennison
Fr. James Kelly and his flock on the Mount of Olives.
Special prayers are said several times a day for our Oblates and Benefactors. They are also remembered at the daily Liturgy and at a special Mass each month. We ask you to join us in prayer for all who died recently, especially:
Bishop Dennis Hickey of Rochester
Fr. Boniface Cronin James Lyons
Sister Margaret Adelaide SSJ Art Rohde
Br Aelred Shanley Amelia Foyo
Maria Antoinette (Etta) Jerome Gwen Stinson Robinson
Susan Gonta Valsin Dumontier II
Please, remember us in your prayer and, if possible,
also in your estate planning or will.
Our legal title is - The Benedictine Foundation of New York State.
Mount Saviour Web Site