Mount Saviour Chronicle

Winter 2003                                                               No: 89
Entrance in winter

 Ordinary Time   Winter 2003

“O that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you, while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for, such as they had not heard of from of old.”  This was the anguished cry of Isaiah that we heard on the First Sunday of Advent.  What sort of response by God would be adequate to the prophet’s prayer:  “Do some awesome deed we could not hope for?”  It could only be the awesome deed of new creation! 

This Advent I listened to tapes by Fr. Raymond Brown with our Ecumenical Bible Study Group and I’d like to think I’ll never be the same!  Advent isn’t merely a preparation for Christmas.  It is the preparation for the new creation!

When we read the opening verses of the Gospel of Matthew, the Infancy Narrative, that is exactly what we find.  “The book of the origin (genesis) of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham.”  It is not an account of the descendents of Abraham but of the genesis of Jesus.  But for those of us who are not specialists in the Bible, the names don’t mean very much so we skip over to Mary and Joseph and the familiar Christmas story of the angels, the shepherds and the Magi.  That boring list of people trumpets the beginning of the new creation like the tumultuous scene on Mount Sinai - if we have ears to hear it.  The mix of Hebrews and non-Hebrews, saints and sinners, well known and altogether unknown persons presaged the new stage in God’s plan to bring the world to the glory and unity for which it was created.

The Incarnation marks the definitive beginning of the ‘new creation’.  The life of Jesus, especially his suffering and death on the cross and his humanity being brought into a new relationship with the Blessed Trinity, continues the process.  His death marks the end of the first creation.  His resurrection is the first flowering of the new creation.  In his resurrection, his humanity is bonded to the Blessed Trinity by a bond that cannot be broken.  So in Jesus, the Christ, a human is at peace with God.  This very peace he shares with us:  “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.  Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (Jn. 14,27). 

Christ’s own peace is the hope we can live by.  This peace that was the hope of the prophets and sages becomes a reality in Jesus.  Until he comes on the last day, the fullness of his peace remains a future benefit for us.  Yet “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control (2 Tim. 1,7).  And so Christ’s peace is the origin and source of all we long for as peace - not just the absence of war, but economic stability, family and civic harmony and personal happiness. 
      The anguished cry of Isaiah with which we began this message comes from the hearts of countless millions of people today.  God’s response, in that it is mediated through us, is that we manifest this peace of Christ to the world as his disciples.  Even on the cross, Jesus was at peace with God. Apparently a defeat,  the cross has insured his victory over sin and his resurrection victory over death.  For us as well, amid the uncertainties and upheavals of our lives, no matter what our personal or national agony, our conviction that the gift of the peace of Christ is willed by God as the source of unity and harmony of all creation, will be our most gracious response to God’s ever-present love.                                                                                                             
                                                                            Christ’s peace be with you
                                                    Fr. Martin                                                                                       

                             News Notes 2003                                                     

Our Community Retreat  has been a blessed event every year.  We like to have it early in the winter when things are quieter and we seem more receptive.  Last year, Abbot John Eudes Bamberger OCSO had just retired at Our Lady of the Genesee and was about to leave for the Philippines when he graciously agreed to be with us when our scheduled Retreat Director had to cancel. Abbot Timothy Kelly OSB of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville led us into 2003.  New fallen snow and ice provided a magnificent setting and the power outage and candle light supper made it nearly perfect.  A brief summary of the Retreat is on the Monastery Web for this January.

Guests are also an inspiration and encouragement in our vocation.  Every year we look forward to students and faculty groups from near-by Colleges and Universities, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester, the Company of Kirkridge,  the men to be ordained Deacons from the New York Archdiocese, an Adult Study Group in June, and for 13 years, the young men in our Summer Experience from 1 July until 6 August.  Last year’s group was one of the best and for some it was a considerable personal sacrifice to be able to afford the time with us.  Matthew Inocelda was from Hawaii, Edison Tyag, originally from the Philippines and now a candidate for the Rochester Diocese.  John Houston from Nebraska and Christopher Kelly and Robert Evanila from the Empire State!  We will not have the Summer Experience this year in order to give more attention to candidates to monastic life here. The year ended with the students of Rochester Institute of Technology in December.  They always bring a number of young people from the school for the deaf. To experience their participation through the graceful signing as we sing the Mass is a very moving experience.  Although we are not set up for large groups, these are just right. 

Visiting Benedictine Monks are a special joy.  Fr. Alexis Foyo was a tremendous help in the time he spent with us.  He has now returned to Prince of Peace Abbey.  We are grateful also for Fr. Timothy Brennan of St. Mary’s Abbey in Morristown NJ.  Abbot Timothy Kelly and Fr. Dan Ward of St John’s Abbey in Collegeville were first to come in 2002 and later their confrere, Br. David Rothstein.  We welcomed Abbot Primate Notker Wolf for a brief visit and we are especially grateful for his conferences.  Br. Hugh Lester, of St. Vincent’s Archabbey, Abbot Joel Macul of St. Paul’s Abbey, Fr. David Brown of Belmont Abbey, Fr. Lawrence Freeman from England and Fr. Cyprian Davis of St. Meinrad’s Archabbey were also a delight to have with us. 
Br. André
Br. Rodrigo
Br. Jude & Francis
Br. André
Br. Rodrigo
Br. Jude & Francis
Sr. Aquinata, osb

     When Abbot Philip Lawrence of the Abbey of Christ in the Desert came he made a most generous offer to send two monks at a time to help us through the summer and early winter.  Br. Andre Lemieux  and Br. Rodrigo Gonzales were with us from 30 June until 3 September.   Brothers Francis and Jude arrived on the same day and were with us until December.  It was a wonderful gesture of fraternal support and we are very grateful.  It is also a blessing for us to come to know more of our brothers at Christ in the Desert.  Fr. Joseph Gabriel from there was visiting his family in Buffalo NY and was able to drop down for the day.
     Some of us were visiting monks 25-28 August when we attended Sr. Aquinata Bockmann’s conferences celebrating our Weston brother’s 50th Anniversary along with the monks and nuns of Petersham, Regina Laudis and Portsmouth.

Projects completed since the last Chronicle include the installation of new windows in the Refectory.  We were able to eat there even in January in spite of the cold winter.  St. Joseph’s Guest House has a new carpet.  The old one dated back to 1975.  The main barn has a new roof.  The West Casa has a new insert in the fire place.  The road from the Monastery to St. Gertrude’s Guest House has stood up well and has been a wonderful improvement.  There is always more to do but these tasks had been ‘in process’ for so long.  We are very grateful for your help in accomplishing them and your patience while they were completed.

New windows St. Peter’s Barn lost a portion of its roof and front in a severe wind storm.  The barn dates back to Civil War times and we have a picture of Conrad Nagle with a flock of sheep in front of it in 1896.  It has quite a role in the history of Mt. Saviour as well.  Many of you have Br. Luke’s beautiful water color of the barn.  To take it down and clean up the site properly turns out to be expensive and we have been assured its structure is in good shape.  We believe we can restore it at a reasonable cost and we will give you those figures at a future date.

Emmaus Experience: Reflections on Community and the Christian Life.
Mount Saviour Monastery, July 1- 6.

This summer we will host an ecumenical conference of Christian men and women interested in coming together for 6 days of prayer, study, dialog and experience of community.  The desire for smaller communities within the church has been growing for some time on a world wide basis.  The Synod of the Diocese of Rochester in 1993 chose Small Communities as one of its top priorities.  Many believe our Faith will not be celebrated in large numbers as formerly but in small more fervent communities. Never has the need or challenges been greater.  We will explore Scriptural images of community and study early Christian communities, investigate insights into community from monastic and other traditions, and interview people living in various contemporary types of communities.  Space and the time frame for application are both limited.  For more detailed information, you are invited to make inquiries to Gail & Dan Mandell:   or Mary Skinner: or write  to Mary Skinner at 740 Clark Hollow Road, Pine City NY 14871.  Cost $300.00  Some partial scholarships are available.

Good News: Oblates received a holy card with our prayer for vocations and the ink was hardly dry when Ty Jacobs came and is now a Postulant.  Three more people are here as Observers and others are knocking.  Our concern for them at this time is that together we can discern God’s direction for their future.  We can hope and pray that it will be as monks of Mount Saviour.  We ask you to join us in this service to them by your prayer. 
     We ask your prayers also for Br Sebastian Maher and Brother Christopher Gardner, two Regular or Cloistered Oblates who died recently.  “Cloistered”,  as those of you who knew him, wouldn’t be the most accurate description of Brother Sebastian!  He and Bro. Christopher worked together for several years in the business office.  Brother Christopher had transferred to Christ in the Desert in the 70’s.   

Father Damasus is receiving special attention at the moment and we are very pleased.  Servant Publications is re-printing his Pathways in Scripture. It is due out in April for $11.99.  It is a wonderful commentary on a number of books of the bible and since Catholics are notoriously ignorant of scripture, there is no more delightful way of correcting that deficiency than by reading and re-reading these books of the bible along with Fr. Damasus’ commentary.   Sr. Marie Julianne Farrington, SSMN has been with us on a modified Sabbatical organizing his papers.  She has had expert help from Sr. Martin Joseph, SSMN, a highly qualified archivist.  Rev. Martin Shannon of the Community of Jesus is doing a doctoral thesis at Catholic University on Fr. Damasus.  We also hope to initiate a Damasus Winzen Lecture Series later this year.

We realize the present economic conditions have worked a real hardship on many of you and we want to express our sincere gratitude for your response to our requests and your continual financial support - and for your prayers on which we also depend.  We keep you regularly in ours.
Christ’s peace be with you,
Fr. Martin

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