2018 Christmas Letter

Christmas 2018

Dear Friends of St. Paul’s Abbey,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Greetings and the abundant blessings of our Lord to all of you in this Christmastime and the New Year of 2019. We thank you for your kindness and help which you showed us throughout the year of 2018. Giving thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ for his love and grace, I would like to share with you our community news for the year of 2018.

I. Planting of Memorial Tree for Br. Marinus: There was a tree planting ceremony of in honor of Br. Marinus LaRue on June 1. The memorial tree was dedicated by President Jae-in Moon of South Korea in commemoration of Br. Marinus’ selfless contribution and great service during the Korean War. Ambassador Yoon-je Cho, President Moon’s representative in Washington D.C., planted the memorial tree together with Abbot Blasio Park, Consul General in New York Hyo-Sung Park and Br. Marinus’ friend, Mr. Robert Lunny. Besides them, many other guests and friends attended the ceremony. After the ceremony, they visited Br. Marinus’ grave in our Abbey cemetery and commemorated his good work and sprit.

II. Guests: On May 10, Abbot Michael of Münsterschwarzach Abbey visited us and stayed for a couple of days. While he was here, he looked at newly renovated areas and roofs being installed by the help of Münsterschwarzach and Schuyler. On May 29, Fr. Volker from Schuyler, NE visited us during his vacation and stayed with us until May 31. Fr. Prior Pacomio Choe of St. Joseph Priory in Korea came to this area to give some retreats for a Korean bible study group and Korean sisters working in the USA and Canada who made an annual retreat from June 21 to July 5. He visited our community before giving the first retreat and between the two retreats. After the sisters’ retreat, around 12 Korean Benedictine sisters also visited us and had lunch with us. On July 18, Fr. Willibrord Nzota of Hanga-Katibunga visited us and stayed with us until August 7. He served many years as Prior for the community. While he was here, he visited New York City and Washington D.C. He came here again on December 17 after taking the Sabbatical program at Colorado Springs. He will stay with us until January 3, 2019. Abbot Justin is here with us also. He came here on July 12 to attend his brother’s funeral rites and returned to his mission place in Namibia. He came back to be treated for his sickness on September 12. Recently, he went to the emergency room several times due to a heart problem. Finally he had an operation on his heart in a hospital. Now he is getting well and expecting to return to Namibia. Abbot Joel, who is living in Schuyler monastery in Nebraska as Prior, visited here on October 4 and returned to Schuyler on October 19. While he was here, he visited his sister in Maine. Fr. Romualdo Heo, the Prior of Waegwan Abbey in Korea, came here on October 5. He gave a retreat for our oblates on October 6 and 7. After that retreat, he also gave us our annual retreat from October 8 to 12. He even went to the Korean community in Baltimore to give a retreat on October 13 before returning to Korea on October 16. He must have been so tired. Beside these guests, many other guests visited our community.

III. New members of our community: June 22 – Fr. Francisco Xavier Hyeon-gyu Kim came here from Waegwan Abbey in Korea since Br. Mario Kim returned to Korea on May 30. Fr. Xavier Kim was ordained a priest on January 20, 2017 and worked at the Abbey business office. Now he works at the business office and kitchen and learning English at the Sussex County Community College. We have a new member of our kitchen staff. Mrs. Beata Won came here to work together with her sister Lucia, who is our main cook and manager. Now our kitchen has been run very efficiently serving our brothers, guests and retreatants without any problems.

IV. Construction works: We made a walkway next to the garage building so that guests can go directly along the prayer path to our Abbey cemetery. Thanks to the donation of our benefactor, around 200 concrete blocks and the volunteer work of our oblates, we could make a beautiful walkway. We also newly changed all the windows in the retreat house and several brothers’ rooms. We are satisfied with the windows because they are very efficient, soundproof and well insulated.

V. Christmas tree sale: We really appreciate our American neighbors and friends, and many volunteers from several Korean communities for their good work and help. In spite of bad weather conditions, we sold more trees than the previous year. We are thankful for the kindness and help of Mr. Cesar Bedoya for repairing the roads in the Christmas farm. 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 are trying to firmly root in this area giving witness to Jesus Christ and his words, but we are still struggling with many difficulties, especially lack of vocations and financial difficulties. As you know, we lost the rental income from the school building due to the broken contract with Willow-Glen. Although we have been looking for a new tenant since then, it is very difficult to find one. Please pray for our community to solve the problems soon through the grace of God. We also keep praying for you so that you may always live in the love and protection of Jesus Christ. May God give you and your family his great grace and abundant gifts throughout the year of 2019.

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

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