Dear Friend of St. Paul’s Abbey,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Greetings and the abundant blessings of our Lord to all of you during this Christmas season. We thank you for your kindness and help which you gave us throughout the year 2016. We pray that God will give you and your loved ones his abundant grace in the year 2017. Asking our Lord Jesus Christ for his love and grace, I would like to share with you our community news for the year 2016.
Various events and plans: During the summer, thanks to the aid of Münsterschwarzach Abbey and Schuyler, we installed new roofing on several more areas of the abbey building and put an additional four small bathrooms in the retreat house. In November, we also built a shed next to the boiler room to store the generator permanently. The purpose of this generator is to provide water to the monastery and school buildings when we loose electric power due to hurricane, heavy snow or unexpected accidents. The next step is to renovate our monastery chapel. On September 13, some of Koreans planted around 60 lilac bushes near the cemetery and gift shop in memory of Br. Marinus who saved 14,000 refugees during the Korean War. Actually, many Koreans want to do something in honor of Br. Marinus’ humanitarian acts. I will make plans to accomplish this step-by-step. Our junior monk Br. Marinus Kim will make his solemn profession on Sunday January 29, 2017 at Mass at 11:00am. Abbot Blasio will come here to preside at the ceremony.
Guests: Many guests visited us. Among them, Abbot Blasio Park visited us before attending the General Chapter Meeting at St. Ottilien in Germany from September 22 to 29. While he was here, he joined our community outing to Minnewaska State Park in New York. Mr. Jin Su Joseph Kim, who is a seminarian of Taejeon diocese came here for the experience of monastic life from October 1 to December 31. While he was here, he prayed and worked with us like one of our brothers. On August 2, our local bishop, Arthur Serratelli visited us and celebrated mass with us at 11:00am. His previous visit was almost 10 years ago when Fr. Bosco was the prior of our community. I had invited him several times but his schedule and ours were not compatible. After the Mass, we had lunch with guests in the retreat house dining room. He visited my garden because he likes gardening. I am happy to say that he was very impressed by my garden. Before returning to his residence in Paterson, he gave us words of encouragement as we live our lives in the monastery and wished us to be prosperous in this area. On December 1, one of Waegwan’s Benedictine oblates, Mr. Matthew Kim, came here for his monastic experience and will stay with us for 3 months until Feb. 28, 2017. In spite of his old age of 75, he has quickly adjusted to our community life. At the Christmas tree sale time, he dressed up as Santa Claus which the customers really enjoyed.
Brothers: We have a new face. On May 17, Br. John Baptist Tem Tem, a monk of Agbang Abbey in Togo, came here as a missionary. He lived at Waegwan Abbey and St. Joseph Priory for one and a half years so he can speak Korean. Now he works in the Christmas tree farm and studies English at the Community College. Abbot Joel travelled to many countries to help other communities in our congregation. When Abbot Blasio visited us in September, he announced that Abbot Joel would go to Christ the King Priory in Schuyler, NE where he was asked to serve as prior for 3 years to replace the former prior, Fr. Maurtitius Wilde, who was appointed prior of St. Anselmo. We were surprised at the news. Abbot Joel helped us with many things, especially liturgy and U.S. citizenship and immigration services. He is scheduled to go to Schuyler on January 9, 2017. Our Brothers Mario, Bernardo and Marinus went to Korea for their home vacations. I went to Germany to attend the General Chapter with Abbot Blasio on September 29 and returned home on October 23 after visiting Frs. Poeman Kang and Elias Lee who study at St. Anselmo in Rome. Thanks to your prayers, our other brothers are also doing well with prayer and work following the teaching of St. Benedict.
Christmas tree sale: Thanks to many volunteers and friends among our American neighbors and several Korean communities, we could manage our annual Christmas tree sale. We hope that with the fresh tree scent, God’s grace and blessings will be delivered to the homes of all those who bought our trees. 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, Thanks to your generous help, we can keep up with our monastic way of life in this area. We pray that our Lord will recompense you with his abundant grace. We also wish you a blessed Christmas and a hopeful New Year of 2017. May the infant Jesus Christ bring his love, peace and happiness to your family. Thank you.
Fr. Samuel Kim, O.S.B., Prior and the monks of St. Paul’s Abbey