Dear friends of St. Paul’s Abbey,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
As we give thanks for your kindness and help which you showed us throughout the year of 2013 and ask the blessings of Jesus Christ for you, we greet you from St. Paul’s Abbey. We wish you a blessed Christmas and a hopeful New Year of 2014. Asking our Lord Jesus Christ for his love and grace, I would like to bring you up to date concerning the recent news from our community.
Christmas tree sale : Although we could not sell as many trees as we expected due to snowstorms, still many people came and picked up good, fragrant, fresh trees. Many volunteers helped us during the tree sale season, especially the young people from the Manhattan Korean community, the members of Legion of Mary, some ladies who sold hot cocoa and good neighbors in our area. The Don Bosco Knights of Columbus and the Columbiettes also came to make Christmas wreaths with the help of children from St. Joseph’s confirmation classes. We really appreciate their kindness and good efforts.
Various plans for the development of the community : From October 28 to November 1, all the Korean brothers except Fr. Matthew Kim made an Annual Retreat at St. Mary’s Abbey retreat house in Morristown, NJ under the direction of Fr. Gregory Lee who is the prior of Waegwan Abbey. We made the retreat in Korean. We, however, attended the Vespers and Mass in the Abbey on Thursday. We also had meals with the monks of the Abbey. Thanks to their welcome and great hospitality, we made a good retreat. Prior Gregory led the retreat enthusiastically in spite of his advanced age of 79. He also celebrated his 50th ordination on December 20.
We renovated three windows in the kitchen and monastery dinning room in October so that we can prevent losing heat. We also are going on with the installation project for showers and toilets in many rooms of the retreat house. We have discussed this regularly and invited a Korean architect to help.
On December 7, we first celebrated our liturgy separately for Korean speakers and English speakers as we agreed to do on the first Saturday each month for 6 months. The Korean brothers prayed compline in Korean with the Korean people who came to help to sell the Christmas trees.
Guests: We always welcome our guests and friends. From October up to now, many guests have visited us, especially priests and religious brothers and sisters. Sr. Angelina Lee came here from Toronto to make a private retreat. Prior Gregory Lee, Fr. Michael Kim who is a priest of Newark Archdiocese, Benedictine Sisters Gaudia Park and Mariael Kang, who study at a Benedictine convent in Norfolk, Nebraska, Fr. Charles Bebe from Congo, who is studying English in Virginia, Abbot Emeritus Basil Ngaponda, who is a monk of Mvima Abbey, Tanzania and Br. Mario Dong-jin Kim, who is a monk of Waegwan Abbey, visited our community. Between visits to his relatives in Chicago, Br. Mario came here for one month to help sell Christmas trees at the request of Abbot Blasio Park. He stayed with us until December 30 and he was a big help.
Brothers: Oct. 20, Br. Luke and Br. Bernardo went to St. Theresa’s Church in Succasunna in the afternoon for Mass with Bishop Emeritus Frank Rodimer for the local diocesan celebration of World Mission Sunday. Deacon Owen made his private retreat at St. Mary’s Abbey retreat house while the Korean brothers made their retreat at the same time. Fr. Samuel went to the Rhode Island Korean community to give some lectures on November 15 to 18, and he was also invited with local priests for dinner by the members of the Knights of Columbus on November 25. The next day he and Deacon Owen also attended the annual meeting of the Superiors of the Diocese of Paterson which was held by Bishop Arthur Serratelli at St. Mary’s Church Hall. On Nov. 24, Abbot Joel went to the Carmelite Hermits in Chester to attend the Installation Mass for a new superior at 11:00 am. In addition, our brothers gave lectures and heard confessions in many places.
New face: Br. Ezekiel, who was assigned to come here, was granted a visa and came here on Dec. 19. He will be given his new assignment after having sometime to adjust.
Vocation Guests: Mr. Jinmo Paul Chong visited us again on Dec. 12. He will stay with us until Jan. 15 and wants to join our community around end of February or early March. Mr. Martin Eo also visited us, using his winter break.
Dear Friends of St. Paul’s Abbey,
Jesus came to us to save us from sin and death and give us true hope. He became our ultimate hope so that we should not despair. He will never disappoint us if we trust him with our whole hearts. Let us take courage because Jesus is here in our midst.
May Jesus Christ give you and your loved ones his abundant blessings and gifts during the Christmas season and throughout the New Year of 2014. Thank you very much.
Fr. Samuel Kim, O.S.B., Prior
and the monks of St. Paul’s Abbey.