2017 Christmas Letter

Christmas 2017

Dear Friends of St. Paul’s Abbey,

As we give thanks for your kindness and help which you gave us throughout the year of 2017 and ask the blessings of Jesus Christ for you, we greet you from St. Paul’s Abbey. We hope you had a blessed Christmas and a hopeful New Year of 2018. I would like to tell you about our lives at St. Paul’s Abbey, giving thanks for God’s grace and mercy.

50th Anniversary of profession: Our American brothers, Abbot Joel, Abbot Justin and Br. Luke renewed their vows at the 50th Anniversary of profession on Saturday, September 9. Around 11 priests and 120 guests attended the ceremony. Among them were Fr. Bede, former monk of Newton who transferred to St. Martin’s Abbey in WA, Fr. Damian Milliken who works in Tanzania as a missionary and Fr. Adam of Münsterschwarzach. Abbot Elias, the President of American Cassinese Congregation, presided at the ceremony. When Abbot Elias was a college student, Abbot Joel was his teacher. After the mass, we shared gladness and gratitude at a luncheon with the guests. Ten Tanzaznian sisters from Assumption College sang the traditional Tanzanian songs of joy for the Anniversary.

Guests: Abbot Blasio came here on June 27 and the next day, he went to Washington DC to attend a meeting with South Korean President Jae In Mun at Jangjin Reservoir Battle Monument, National Museum of the Marine Corps. He was invited in honor of the humanitarian act of Br. Marinus at the Hungnam Evacuation during the Korean War. After returning from Washington D.C., he stayed with us until July 4. While Abbot Blasio was here, Abbot Primate emeritus Notker Wolf also visited us from July 3 to July 4. They planted two lilac trees in front of the stature of Jesus at the Abbey cemetery in honor of Br. Marinus on July 3. Abbot President Jeremias visited us on September 25. He looked around our newly renovated retreat house and boiler system. The next day, he presided at mass for us and then left Newton. Many other guests visited us as well.

Brothers: On June 7, Br. Bernardo Ji was assigned to Newton. He took vows on January 14, 2008 and worked in the business office at Waegwan Abbey. Now he is in charge of the kitchen and studies English. Br. John Baptist Tem Tem returned to Agbang Abbey in Togo. He came here on May 17, 2016 and worked at the Christmas tree farm. Br. Barnabas Song, our Abbey building maintenance man, went to St. Martin’s Abbey in Washington State to experience American monastic life and learn English from August 28 to November 17. He had a good time with American monks in a different atmosphere. He shared his experience with our brothers showing many photos of St. Martin’s Abbey and its brothers. I visited St. Benedict’s Priory in El Rosal, Colombia to attend the Superiors’ meeting of the American Region of our congregation from July 19 to 24. There are 5 small monasteries in North and South America which belong to St. Ottilien congregation: El Rosal, Gugue, Newton, Cuba and Schuyler. We talked about where we may go in the future and shared some information. El Rosal monastery is about 40 minutes distant by car from Bogota. Around 12 monks live there working in the retreat house, carpentry shop and farm. It was my first time in Colombia. I did not know that the Bogota area is so cool, even chilly, because of very high altitude at an average of 2,640 meters (8,660 ft) above sea level. Although I can’t speak Spanish, I could talk with some people by using both the smart-phone and body language. On the evening of Monday, September 18, Br. Matthias Yoo and I attended a meeting in Manhattan of Korean American Community leaders in honor of the visit by South Korean President Jae In Mun. I showed some pictures of Br. Marinus and Newton Monastery, briefly explaining about our community. Mr. President Mun and the First Lady told me that they want to plant 2 trees in front of our chapel in honor of Br. Marinus’ humanitarian act. The planting has been planned for May, 2018 by their representatives because they won’t have time to visit our monastery themselves.

Christmas Tree: Thanks to the help of many volunteers and good weather, we successfully sold even more Christmas trees than last year. 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, in 2017, many guests visited our community in thanks for Br. Marinus. They want us to make plans to build some memorials for Br. Marinus. We also would like to do something in honor of Br. Marinus. But we still have some difficulties, especially leasing the school building. We are waiting and looking for a new tenant for the school. It is not easy to find a new tenant. Until then, we have to submit to financial difficulties. I ask you to pray for our community to solve this problem by God’s grace. We wish you a blessed Christmas and a hopeful New Year in 2018. May God bless you and your loved ones.

Fr. Samuel Kim, O.S.B., Prior
and the monks of St. Paul’s Abbey

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