Newsletter – 2024 Easter (E)

Easter 2023

Happy Easter!

Dear friends of St. Paul’s Abbey,

Happy Easter! God the Father showed us his tremendous and unthinkable love and mercy through the death and resurrection of his beloved Son, Jesus Christ. We pray that His Resurrection’s grace, joy, and peace will be with you and your families during Easter.

Korean Fir: Our Newton monastery Christmas tree farm is home to about 30,000 trees, of which there are about five different species, including the Korean Fir, which is endemic to the mountains of Korea, including Jeju Island, and is now considered endangered in Korea. But we have about 150 of these trees of Korean Fir growing on our Christmas tree farm, and they’ve been getting a lot of attention in Korea, especially from botanists from Jeju Island, who have asked us to preserve them. So starting on March 4, with the help of Chris Megna, an oblate member, and Mr. Snyder, who owns a farm near the Abbey, we cleared a vacant lot between the Abbey and the school and moved 67 of the trees that were in good condition in the tree farm and planted them. We hope these trees, native to Korea, will be well preserved and grow with our Korean monks at Newton.

Brothers: Thanks to your prayers and concern, we are grateful that our brothers are doing well. Br. Bernardo Han Sam Lee, responsible for the monastery’s finances, received his master’s degree in accounting from Montclair State University in March; he studied diligently at night, even with the many duties of the monastery, to earn his degree. Abbot Joel, who until last year served as Prior of Schuyler Monastery in Nebraska for about six years, visited that monastery for about a week beginning January 24, and he had a great time with them. Although Abbot Justin occasionally goes to the Newton Hospital for his health problems, he lives here with us optimistically and gladly as a prudent and spiritual father. After Abbot Blasio Park returned to Waegwan Abbey after his regular visit to Newton in January, he gave a new assignment to our monastic brothers. Br. Joseph Duck Hyun Kim, in our Newton community, has been assigned to Waegwan Abbey in South Korea, effective by April 1. He went to his mother’s home on Staten Island on March 20 for a vacation and, with Abbot Blasio’s permission, will go to South Korea on April 11. On January 11, I attended the Don Bosco Council, Knights of Columbus, Annual Charity Funds Presentation Night at the Sacred Heart Center in Newton with oblate Chris Megna. I thanked them for their support and gave them a brief update on news about the monastery. On February 2, I attended the American Benedictine Abbots and Priors workshop at Prince of Peace Monastery in Oceanside, CA until February 5. There are about eleven Benedictine congregations in the United States. Our community belongs to the St. Ottilien congregation in Germany, and two monasteries belong to the St. Ottilien congregation in the United States. One is our community, and the other is Schuyler Monastery in Nebraska, where Abbot Joel had been a superior for six years until early last year. A new Prior, Fr. Anastasius Reiser, attended the workshop. Prior, Anastasius originally came from the Münsterschwarzach Abbey in Germany and served as an Abbot at Peramio Abbey in Tanzania for 12 years. After his resignation as Abbot, he was appointed superior of Schuyler Priory after Abbot Joel last year. He will come to Newton this July for the canonical and financial visitation.

Dear friends, the year 2024 holds special significance for our community. It will be 100 years since the Benedictine monks of the German Congregation of St. Ottilien laid the foundation and began their monastic life in the small town of Newton, New Jersey, in 1924. It has been 22 years since our Korean brothers came in December 2001, hoping to continue and deepen the roots of Benedictine monastic life in this area. I can’t help but think about how we will celebrate the centennial of the founding of the Newton community and how we will grow anew. I hope that by the Lord’s great grace, we will have vocations and the petition for the beatification of Br. Marinus, who saved 14,000 people at the Heungnam harbor during the Korean War, will be successful. Externally, we hope to renovate the monastery chapel so that it will be where those who visit the monastery heartfully want to linger and pray. We, the Newton community, are always grateful for your prayers and support, and we pray that you will live a fruitful life of joy and love in the grace of the Lord’s resurrection.

In the Love of Jesus Christ,

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

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