Mount Saviour Chronicle

December 2008,  No: 95

Mount Saviour Chapel

Dear Oblates and Friends of Mount Saviour:                    As you know Father Martin retired this summer, June 15th in fact, and I was appointed Prior Administrator. So, it was suggested that I tell you about who I am. I began monastic life at St. Paul’s Abbey in my home state of New Jersey right after graduating from high school in 1944. Prior to graduation I became acquainted with a priest-monk from that monastery who was celebrating Mass daily at the Holy Spirit Parish near my home. When Easter vacation came around he invited me to visit his monastery for a few days. I entered their minor seminary that Fall. I came to like the life there more and more with its daily round of prayer, study and shared life style with other students. We were able to see the monks praying the Divine Office (all in Latin in those days) and to participate in the festive Eucharist of Sundays and major feasts. As I learned more about Saint Benedict, his famous Rule for Monks and his influence in the Church and history, I became more and more enthusiastic about becoming a monk. And, did so there; I went on to be solemnly professed and an ordained priest. Where I was, the vocation was threefold: monastic, priestly and missionary (East Africa, S. America and the East). As time went on my vocation became more specific in the simply monastic dimension. After much consultation, prayer and patient waiting, I asked to transfer to M.S. where the vocation was explicitly and simply monastic. I was finally able to transfer in the fall of 1966.

Dom Geraldo & Fr. James CronenI finally arrived at this holy mountain. It is a great honor and privilege to be called as a successor of Fr. Damasus. I can only attempt with the help and inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the full support of each member as we strive together to keep burning the flame and the zeal for the Divine Agape, which Fr. Damasus kindled on this mountain with the help and prayer of many helpers, not only within the monastery but all those oblates and devoted friends near and far who have carried us in their hearts and prayer.

Wishing you all the blessings and peace of this joyful season.

Fr. James Cronen, Prior

Dom Geraldo Gonzales, osb, secretary of
 the Abbot Primate and Fr. James in Rome.

The Incarnation of Jesus is a new creation

I recently read Elizabeth Johnson’s, book about Mary, Truly our Sister. It opened some doors that I didn’t even know existed on the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus and St. Paul’s references to the new creation. Scripture and the Creeds say Jesus was “conceived by the Holy Spirit.” Aware of how conception takes place, I settled for the usual biological explanation. However, “conceived by the Holy Spirit” is not a biological but a theological statement. Theologically it was a new act analogous to the original creation of the world.  Raymond Brown states: “It was an extraordinary action of God’s creative power, as unique as the initial creation itself.” (Raymond Brown, Birth of the Messiah, 531) As Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict, explains the birth stories of heroes in ancient mythology are different from the birth story of Jesus in the Gospels: “The main contrast consists in the fact that in pagan texts the Godhead almost always appears as fertilizing, procreative power, thus under a more or less sexual aspect and hence in a physical sense as the “father” of the savior-child. Nothing of this sort appears in the New Testament: the conception of Jesus is new creation,…. [not a mere physical act by God]. God does not become the biological father of Jesus,….  For the Sonship of which faith speaks is not a biological but an ontological fact, an event not in time, but in God’s eternity.” (Joseph Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity, 274-275).

This was news to me to learn that Mary’s pregnancy was not a miracle, but a new act of God analogous to the initial creation and this is really turning my life around .I remember that St. Paul spoke of Christ as a second Adam (1 Cor. 15:47-49), but I took the expression as an analogy or metaphor and totally missed its real significance. It means that for the entire course of his life on earth, Jesus was the only member of the new creation. Only after the events of his life on earth including his death and resurrection and the gift of the Spirit are we able to participate through him in the new creation.

As Elizabeth Johnson writes, ”The Savior’s coming depends not in the first place on human decisions, but on God’s own incalculable desire to be among suffering, sinful human beings in the flesh. Ontologically Jesus’ origin lays in God the Most High. His existence has its foundation in God. He is born wholly of grace, wholly of promise, God’s gracious gift to human kind. The novum of his approach lies in the incomprehensible depths of the mercy of God.” (Elizabeth Johnson, Truly Our Sister, pg 235)

It shook up Mary and Joseph and it is apt to shake us up, for it makes us aware of the divine initiative that blesses the world with a new act of creation by the Creator Spirit. I ask your prayers that this turning in my life will continue and that others experience the amazement and wonder that belong to their participating in this new creative act of God. I hope to write more on this later, but I pray that you can now begin to recognize the difference between the season’s greeting of “Merry Christmas” and the blessing of a prayer-filled “The Lord be with you”, which the Spirit wants you to hear at this time, at this Feast.

In Xto,
Fr. Martin

Quick Brief Community News

·    We are very lucky that Br. John Thompson (Italy) & Br. Thomas (Prince of Peace Abbey) were both able to attend training programs outside of the monastery. It is a benefit to both them and us.
·    Lambing season went well, we had 263 lambs born. The loss to coyotes was much less than last year.
·    Fr. James & Fr. Martin visited Bishop Matthew Clark on June 11th to tell him of our change in leadership and thank him in his support and encouragement. We have been very well received by the diocese since Bishop James Kearney welcomed us into the Rochester Diocese in 1951.
·    Some of us were able to attend some talks at the Abbey of the Genesee given by Fr. Brian Daley, SJ on Patrology who also gave us our retreat this year.
·    On June 15th we had a simple transfer of leadership and Fr. Martin got his old job back as guest brother.
·    On June 28th we were happy to attend the ordination of Edison Tayag whom the Diocese had sent to participate in our summer program. In 2004 I was able to visit him at the North American College in Rome and Br. John was able to visit with him during this last summer in Rome.
·    Fr. James’ brother Robert Cronen passed away the 30th of June after a long illness.
·    The weather was perfect for our 4th of July picnic with guests, but it presented a real chore for Br. Bruno & Br. Thomas to complete the haying due to the frequent rains.
·    Fr. James Kilzer of Assumption Abbey accepted our open invitation to visit from July 14th to 25th. It was a pleasant exchange and we are eager to welcome any visiting monks and members of the American Cassinese Congregation to come experience our life.
·    At the end of July Br. Pierre was able to visit his family in Canada.
·    On July 30th Fr. Patrick Mundy of the Ogdensburg Diocese came to visit as a long-term guest. His visit was interrupted for a triple by-pass, but he is recovering very well.
·    Towards the end of August Fr. Martin visited Procopius Abbey in Lisle. Ill. After his return he had a fall and broke a bone in 2 places in his pelvis. He is recovering well.
·    Sept.12-14 some of our NYC Oblates were here for the annual Fall meeting.
·    Fr. James went to Rome from the 15th to 27th of Sept. for his first meeting with the Abbots and Priors at St. Anselmo.
·    On Oct. 6th Br. William also had a fall and is slowly recovering.
Br. Gabriel oversaw the successful completion of the new roof for the boiler room.

Mt. Saviour Extra Events

Elissa QuinnOn Aug 10th Elissa Quinn, soprano, and Marcos Kreiger, pianist, performed a classical concert for our delight. Elissa helped Madaleva in the women’s guesthouse and has been studying voice and we're delighted to witness her improvement over the years.
Our D-Day celebration was on Aug 17th. Music was provided by Fritz Orzelek of Albany.
On Sept 18th Matthew Innocelda, who was one of our summer students, gave us a talk on his 1st tour of duty in Iraq before returning for his 2nd tour of duty.          
The topic for the annual Emmaus meeting, which is always held on Columbus weekend, was ecology. Representatives from the Genesis Farm (Judy Leaf and Geraldine DeSapio) conducted the program and it was very well received.

Future Events 2009

Starting in 2009 there will be Centering Prayer every 2nd Saturday of the month from 8:30 to noon led by Deacon George Welch. If you would like to attend please contact Deacon Welch at (607) 733-6541.
6th Annual Knitters Retreat – This wonderful retreat will be held Jan. 16-19, 2009. If you are interested please contact our guest brother. Deadline for registration is December 30, 2008.
Damasus Winzen Memorial Lecture – the 7th annual lecture series will be given by Sister Judith Kubicki on Sunday May 2nd.

D-Day 2008

Orchard and Garden Report

This year’s growing season would have been nearly ideal except for a severe hailstorm lasting about 20 minutes on July 17th. At our women’s guesthouse (a little higher in elevation) the hail was the size of golf balls. At least one third of the state’s apple crop was affected. Our 2nd largest apple crop at over 14,000 lbs. was “cosmetically challenged” in appearance but still useable. We sold apples for four weeks in the gift shop, made 570 gallons of apple cider and 100 quarts of applesauce so far. We were again blessed and thankful for all the volunteer help and for Br. Bruno’s contribution of spraying the orchard while Br. John was in Italy for the Monastic Formators’ Program.
Another 1000 lbs. of produce came from our small garden courtesy of Br. Thomas and helpers. While Br. John was away Br. Thomas discovered his green thumb. He was responsible for starting this years plants from seed as well as the tilling and planting of the garden. The fresh produce was greatly appreciated by the community and guests.

Many thanks to those who have made donations to us throughout the year. We were able to replace the roof over the boiler room. This will keep the heat effectively inside the East building. We also installed smaller more efficient boilers.

Our next project is to have the underground oil tanks removed and replaced. To remove and replace these tanks that is now a requirement by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will cost us around $10,000.

Please remember us in prayer and, if possible,
 also in your estate planning and will. Our legal title is -

The Benedictine Foundation of New York State.

Our web site has fresh news and information every month
Guest Brother:
Mount Saviour Monastery
231 Monastery Rd.            
Pine City NY 14871-9787
Phone: (607) 734-1688
Fax: (607) 734-1689