As we rejoice in the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, who came into the world as a human being just like us to show us how much God the Father loves us, we hope and pray that His grace, mercy, and love will abundantly fill you and your family. I am sending you news from the monastery, wishing you a blessed and healthy life in the Lord’s love and grace in the New Year 2024.
This year, we have had many welcome visitors to the monastery. Fr. John Bosco Kim, the first superior of Newton Abbey, came on April 12 and stayed for about a month, meeting with his old friends and traveling to Toronto in Canada. On May 29, Fr. Min Kyu Antigono Park, pastor of the Koran Church in Toronto, visited the monastery for the first time after the pandemic and stayed for a few days. On June 17, Sr. Maoro Sye, General Superior of the Congregation of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing, visited the monastery with the sisters who ministered at the Korean American Church in Demarest, New Jersey and had a wonderful time sharing a meal with the brothers and touring the monastery. On Saturday, July 29, we invited those who helped us during the Christmas tree sale to have a barbecue party in the back of the Gifts-shop, and we were even more grateful and happy to have Abbot Blasio Park of Waegwan Abbey, who had just arrived from Korea that day, join us. His visit to Newton lasted until August 7. During his visit, he visited Cuba from August 1 to 5 to meet with Prior Aaron Jang and Fr. Athanasius Lee, who are from Waewan Abbey, and on Sunday, August 6, he met with the oblates and benefactors of the monastery to greet and introduce the situation of Waegwan Abbey and its various missionary activities. Fr. Javier, the mission procurator of our congregation, and six other mission procurators from different monasteries visited Newton Abbey on September 2 after a meeting at Schyler Priory in Nebraska. They stayed until September 6 and had the opportunity to sight-see Manhattan and visit the United Nations building. They also toured the monastery in a wagon connected to a tractor. The role of mission procurators is to help monasteries in undeveloped countries and their mission work. While most are in Germany and Switzerland, we have a mission procurator’s office at Waegwan in Korea, which was established over 20 years ago. Abbot Jeremias Schroder, the President of our Ottilien Congregation, also visited on September 2 after Abbot President’s meeting of the Benedictine Confederation in Conception Abbey in Missouri and stayed until September 4. On Sunday, September 3, he celebrated Sunday Mass, attended by our neighbors and Mission procurators. After a very long absence, Fr. Damian Milliken, who is serving a mission in Tanzania, was delighted to visit his hometown monastery of Newton on November 2, and during dinner that evening, we celebrated the 70th anniversary of his monastic profession. Despite being 90 years old, Fr. Damian is still very energetic to help the students in Tanzania. Continuing from last year, we had visits from the sisters of St. Benedictine Convent in Los Angeles. We welcomed Sr. Luna Park in August and Sr. Salem Jung and Marie Sophia Lee in November. Other visitors to the monastery included Br. Hermann Seyun Kim lives at Assumption Abbey in North Dakota; Korean Sister Lidia from Carmelite Convent in Chester, New Jersey; Mrs. Barbara, who worked here many years ago and now lives in Florida; and Abbot Joel’s two sisters.
Thank you for your concern and prayers; our brothers typically live in good health without big problems following the words of St. Benedict, “pray and work.” But some brothers have got flu and coronavirus. Abbot Emeritus Justine, who has been remaining at the monastery for health reasons, went on vacation to the monastery in Boston for the first time in a long time. Unfortunately, he was infected by a cold and the coronavirus. He also infected Abbot Emeritus Joel because Abbot Joel brought him from the airport to the Abbey. Both of them are getting much better now.
Having planted 2,700 Christmas tree seedlings this April, our community began selling trees the day after Thanksgiving, as usual. Once again, with the help of many American neighbors and volunteers, we could sell without much difficulty. Next year, we plan to move the sale place to the back of the gift shop, as the place where we currently hold the tree sale will be rented by June 2024.
Dear friends, we, the Newton community, are always grateful for your prayers and help, and we warmly welcome you to visit our monastery. With the grace and love of the Lord’s Nativity, we hope and pray that the New Year 2024 will be even more healthy and blessed. Thank you very much.
In the love of Jesus Christ,
Prior Samuel Kim
and the community of St. Paul’s Abbey