Advent / Christmas 2012
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. When we see the people who buy the Christmas trees to prepare for Christmas, we strongly feel the coming of the Lord to us. We pray and hope that you and your family have a glorious and blessed Christmas and New Year. On the other hand, we know that there are still many people who suffer from Hurricane Sandy. We also ask our ever loving God to strengthen them so that they can recover their normal life and share the joy and happiness of Christmas. Asking our Lord Jesus Christ for his love and grace, we would like to bring you up to date concerning the recent news from our community.
General Chapter: From October 3 to October 18, I attended our General Chapter which took place at Damme Priory and St. Ottilien Archabbey in Germany. The Chapter meets every four years and this was our 20th General Chapter. Superiors and delegates from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas were present. As the Prior of this community, I reported about the condition of our community. Abbot Joel also attended the meeting as the superior of the American community. Now we all 9 Korean monks live together with 4 American brothers and 1 Tanzanian brother, Br. Bernadin, observing monastic discipline as missionaries. As Abbot President Jeremias mentioned, our most pressing need is to take care of aging buildings. It is very difficult to build a new monastery building because of lack of funds. Therefore, we may hurry to repair the roofs of our buildings, inspect the heating system and install a new boiler system as soon as possible. I hope that our Newton community will grow constantly in order to be the salt and the light to the world as faithful Benedictine monks and missionaries.
Ordination and Renewal of profession: Deacon Bede Na, who went to Waegwan Abbey to prepare for his ordination, will be ordained as a priest in Waegwan Abbey, Korea on January 25, 2013. After ordination, he will return to St. Paul’s Abbey. We have planned for him to celebrate his first mass in our Abbey church some day in February. Br. Marinus Kim will renew his temporary profession for two years in mid-January 2013.
Christmas tree sale: Thanks to many volunteers and friends from several Korean communities and American neighbors, our annual Christmas Tree Sales are favorably progressing. We wish that with the fresh tree scent, God’s grace and blessing will fill the homes of the people who buy the trees. We also pray for God’s abundant graces to all of the volunteers and friends who helped sell trees and made beautiful Christmas wreaths.
Our Brothers: The Korean brothers made an annual retreat at the Sacred Heart Center of the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, Newton from Monday, Sep. 10 to Friday, Sep. 14. This time Fr. Yeyoun Whang, who studies “Spirituality of Priests” at Washington University, gave some lectures and spiritual directions for us. We had a good time sharing fraternal love in the love of God. On Nov. 20, Deacon Owen and I attended Bishop Serratelli’s Meeting with Superiors at St. Paul Inside the Walls. Bishop Serratelli reported on the USCCB meeting and pastoral priorities and affairs of the diocese. The superiors also shared and talked about some issues, especially action on urban collaborative initiative. They decided to established a Neighborhood Center in Passaic, NJ and support it in various ways. Our community also will support it with prayer and donations.
On Oct. 13, the Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburga invited us to the Eucharist for the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Monastic Profession of two sisters. Br. Luke, Fr. Augustine, Br. Bernardo and Deacon Owen attended the celebration and shared in their joy and thanksgiving.
Hurricane Sandy: Due to Hurricane Sandy, we didn’t have electricity and water for a couple of days. Many trees on our property also fell. While electricity was gone, we changed prayer time and used water from our lake for flushing toilets. Fortunately, we gained back power two and a half days later. When the electricity came back, we also turned off or turned down the heat in some areas of the monastery building to save oil because the oil and gas companies were running low. Now we are looking for a generator for our water and sewage plant. We also talked about how to help the needy when our neighbors lost power and water because of the natural disaster. We agreed to donate some amount to Paterson diocese to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Guests: Many guests visited us, especially in November. Frs. John Lee and Paul Jang, who are my classmates, visited us for about one week. Fr. Lee came on vacation from Chung-ju diocese in Korea and Fr. Jang is pastor of a Korean parish in Montgomery, AL. While they were here, they went to Washington D.C. with me. On Nov. 14, Fr. Young Gil Joo, who is a pastor of the Kansas City Korean community, also came here to meet Frs. Lee and Jang because they are all from Chung-ju diocese. On Nov. 21, two more Korean priests, Fr. Myoung Suk Peter Han and Fr. Bo Yo Seo visited and stayed overnight with us. On Nov. 27, Br. Young-ho Philip Bae, who is a brother of Kkottongne Brothers of Jesus in California, also visited us and stayed with us until Friday, Nov. 30. Abbot Justin also visited us in November for health care. He had a surgery and then went to Boston. I hope he may regain good health. I appreciate all the guests for visiting us.
Dear friends of St. Paul’s Abbey,
We should not lose our hope in Jesus even though many difficult things happen in our life such as Hurricane Sandy, several tragedies and financial problems. We believe that Jesus Christ will bless us with more abundant gifts and grace when he comes to us if we trust him with our whole hearts because Jesus will never disappoint us. I again thank you for your help and your kindness. We wish you a blessed Christmas and a hopeful New Year of 2013. May God bless you and your loved ones. Thank you very much.
Fr. Samuel Kim, O.S.B., Prior
and the Monks of St. Paul’s Abbey