St. Benedict, in his “Rule for Monks” compares the office of abbot with that of a shepherd. The abbot, as father of the community, encourages his brothers to follow the teachings of the Gospel and the precepts of the Rule. Inspired by the example of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, the abbot accepts great responsibilities which he shares with those whom he calls to assist in leadership positions. The Rule of St. Benedict can be considered as blueprint for modern day democracy.
On the evening of Friday, May 5th, Abbot Michael arrived in Omaha after a long flight from Frankfurt, Germany, via Denver, CO. Fr. Volker was the designated driver. Abbot Michael makes it a priority to visit Christ the King Priory at least once every year. He meets with each monk individually and at the end of his stay convenes the community for a formal meeting.
Abbot Michael was elected on May 20th, 2006 as the 75th abbot in the history of Muensterschwarzach (founded in 816) and as the 5th abbot since the monks returned to the ancient monastery in 1913.
That monks are real people could be witnessed after Mass when the photographer Mary captured Abbot Michael and Fr. Prior Joel engaged in discussion and even laughter. One might wonder about the seriousness or lightheartedness of the moment. We celebrate Eucharist – we share life – not only the burdens, but also great friendships and moments of laughter.
Good Shepherd Sunday is the annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Let us pray that young men and women will hear the shepherd’s voice and embrace the monastic, consecrated life, or priestly vocation as a viable option for their life’s journey. All the baptized are “vocation promoters!” Encourage young people to visit a religious community or a seminary. Much information can be found on a website of a religious community but there is nothing better than visiting a convent, monastery or seminary and to encounter a “real person” who made a joyful commitment of following the Good Shepherd for life as member of a religious order or as a diocesan priest.
Pope Francis encouraged priests and bishops to be with the sheep entrusted to their care – to be among the people.
Thank you for your interest in the ministries of the Missionary Benedictines. Be assured that you and your intentions are included in our prayers, especially at the celebration of Holy Mass.
Bro. Tobias, O.S.B.
P.S.: Towards the end of May we will post our “Current Appeal” in conjunction with the observance of the Month of the Sacred Heart. We will bring to your attention our “quiet” involvement in a region of China where up to the expulsion of missionaries monks of our Congregation have ministered. Can we count on your help to assist the small Catholic communities and at the same time women and men who come to us for help in their spiritual and temporal needs?