Dear Friend of St. Paul’s Abbey,
Greetings and the abundant blessings of our Lord to all of you as you prepare for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and the New Year of 2016. We thank you for your kindness and help which you showed us throughout the year of 2015. When we look back of 2015, there were some good and some bad events. Although there were sad and unpleasant events, we trust in God because he will lead us to the right way. Therefore, we always give thanks to God for his endless love and mercy. Asking our Lord Jesus Christ for his love and grace, I would like to share with you our community news in the year of 2015.
Various events and plans: At the end of May, the renovation of our retreat house and installation of fire alarms and smoke detectors was well completed. We had started these works last November. We also changed our old boiler into a high-efficiency boiler connecting to the new natural gas line. On May 31, the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, we had a ceremony for the blessing of our newly renovated retreat house presided by Abbot Blasio Park from Waegwan Abbey in Korea. Around 50 guests attended the blessing and had lunch sharing gratitude and joy with us. Following the renovation, we have continued to upgrade and repair our buildings. In August, we replaced around 45 old windows with new windows to prevent heat loss and save energy. In October and November, we removed the fallen chapel next to old monastery building with the help of our good neighbors, Mr. Snyder and Mr. Chris. Mr. Snyder owns a tree nursery and has several machines such as a backhoe and a bulldozer. He worked every weekend for more than a month without charging any money. Thanks to their help and work, we cleaned up the area and saved money.
Funeral Rite: Fr. Patrick Bonner, who was a member of St. Paul’s Abbey, died peacefully at his residence in Bayonet Point, Florida on Tuesday, Aug. 11 at 4:06pm. He served in the Zululand mission of Inkamana Abbey from 1975 to 1990. Through his life, he was a teacher of science, especially biology. He taught at the abbey minor seminary, Pope John XIII High School in Sparta, NJ and Inkamana High School. His body was transferred from Florida to St. Paul’s and we had the funeral mass on Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 10:30am. Abbot Justin presided at the mass.
Guests: Thanks to the renovation, more retreatants and guests have come here to make both community and private retreats. There were also many monastery guests. Abbot Blasio Park came here for his annual visit from May 25 to June 4. While he was here, he presided at the blessing of the retreat house and visited St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. He has a plan to send some seminarians to the Benedictine seminaries in USA. He also visited St. John’s University. Finally, in August he sent Br. Cyprian Ryu to study there. Fr. Bosco Kim, who lives in Whasun monastery, visited here and had a good time with us for 10 days in May and June. Abbot Michael Reepen visited here from June 27 to 30. He encouraged us and promised some help after looking around at the renovated retreat house and buildings. Fr. Damian visited us in August from Tanzania. On Aug. 15, he and Abbot Joel went to the convent of the Missionary sisters of the Precious Blood in PA to attend the final profession of one of the sisters who was a member of the parish which Fr. Damian looks after near Mazinde Juu in Tanzania. On Sep. 29, Archbishop Thadeo Cho of Taegue Archdiocese in Korea visited us with Fr. Young Su Kim and Jae-hyun Lee for a short afternoon visit. After having tea, they visited our cemetery to honor Br. Marinus who saved 14,000 refugees during the Korean War. On Dec. 8, Fr. Prior Mauritius from Schuyler visited us and stayed with us for 3 days. We had many things to talke about because we are both priors of dependant houses in USA. He encouraged us after looking at the renovated retreat house and buildings. Besides these, many religious sisters and brothers and priests also visited us. Thanks to all the visitors.
Brothers: The monastic way of life in Newton monastery is not very complicated but simple. As usual as every year, some brothers travelled to some other places. On July 3, Br. Bernadin visited his family in Tanzania because his father, Mr. Pius Mapunda, passed away on June 25. Abbot Joel is our world traveler. He visited many places both at home and abroad. When he visited St. Ottilien, Germany between June 24 and July 22, he visited Waegwan Abbey in Korea from June 7 to have a presentation of the book, “The Martyrs of Tokwon.” He translated this book from German into English; it tells the stories of the monks who were persecuted and martyred by the North Korean Communist. I also visited several Korean communities in some different states to celebrate masses and give some lectures. Fr. Matthew Kim returned to Waegwan Abbey on Dec. 3. He came here 3 years ago and worked at the retreat house, camp and business office. Now he is waiting for his new assignment. Br. Marinus Kim returned home from Waegwan Abbey on Dec. 16. He went to Waegwan Abbey for one year to have a monastic experience before taking his solemn vows.
I have to say a word about our Christmas tree sale. We really appreciate the many volunteers for their good work and help. We also are thankful for the Don Bosco Knights of Columbus and the Columbiettes who made Christmas wreaths for us.
Dear friends and benefactors, we always thank you for your prayer and help. We wish you a blessed Christmas and a hopeful New Year of 2016. May God bless you and your loved ones.
Fr. Samuel Kim, O.S.B., Prior
and the monks of St. Paul’s Abbey