Dear Friends of St. Paul’s Abbey,
As we give thanks for your kindness and help which you showed us throughout the year of 2010 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 2011. We would like to share the happiness and joy of Christmas with you and your loved ones. We also ask you to share the blessings and gifts from God with others, especially with the poor and the needy. We believe that Jesus Christ will bless you with more abundant gifts and grace when he comes to us. We would like to tell you about our lives at St. Paul’s Abbey, giving thanks for God’s grace and mercy.
Christmas tree sale : We started to sell Christmas trees after Thanksgiving Day. We have tried to grow Christmas trees with good fragrance and in fresh condition. Fr. Odilo especially arranged for a tree expert to give a lecture to explain tree pruning to our brothers. Last year we couldn’t sell as many trees as we thought because of the heavy rain during the tree selling season. We hope that we can sell as many trees as possible this year. Moreover, we wish that with the fresh tree smell, God’s grace and blessing will be delivered to the home of the people who buy the trees. On November 19, the Don Bosco Knights of Columbus and the Columbiettes came to our monastery in order to make Christmas wreaths with the help of children from St. Joseph’s confirmation classes. Fr. Brian, the pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish, also attended the event. We really appreciate their kindness and good efforts.
Temporary profession and the beginning of novitiate : Our novice, Br. Marinus Kim, will make his temporary profession for two years on January 25, 2011, the Feast Day of St. Paul’s Conversion. One day before, on January 24, our postulants Br. John Suh and Br. Thomas Cho will receive monastic habits as novices for one year. They will also receive new monastic names.
Our Brothers : Annual retreat: Except for a few brothers, the Korean brothers made their an annual retreat from Sunday, Aug. 22(from the evening prayer) to Thursday, Aug. 26 (to the Mass) at Franciscan Spiritual Center in Ringwood, NJ. Other Korean brothers and American brothers made their retreats privately, mainly at St. Mary’s Abbey or Newark Abbey.
Abbot Joel went to Germany on Aug. 30 to help Abbot Siegfried who is working on the history of Ndanda Abbey. He also went to Kouquian in China to attend the superiors’ meeting of our congregation. On the way home, he visited Hwasun monastery, which is a daughter house of Waegwan Abbey, from September 23 to October. 1. After that he went as usual to Kumily in India from October 26 to December 2. Fr. Bosco makes progress leading a Lectio Divina retreat four times a year. He wants the faithful to get a taste for the words of God. A good number of retreatants participate in the retreats.
Br. Ludovico Heo returned to Korea on October 7. He came to St. Paul’s Abbey with the first group in December 2001. Since then he worked at the Christmas tree farm and vegetable garden. He also served the community as a subprior two times. Now he is in the Kumnam old folks home as a gardener.
Fr. Peter Ahn attended the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the foundation of Legio Mariae in New York on October 24 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral he is the director of the Korean Adult Legio Mariae in the Northeast U.S.A.
I couldn’t attend the superiors’ meeting of our congregation which was held in Kouquian, China from September 18 to 22. The Chinese Embassy in New York refused my application for a visa because I am a priest. Instead of going to China, I went to Waegwan Abbey, Korea for my vacation. I had a good time with my brothers in Waegwan Abbey and my family and friends.
On November 23, Deacon Owen and I attended a major superiors’ meeting with Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson Diocese at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Christian Charity in Mendham, NJ.
Guests : Fr. MinKyu Park, who is a parish priest of the Korean community in Toronto, Canada and four of his parishioners visited and stayed with us from August 22 to 26. He helps our community with his parishioners. On October 23, Sr. Placidia and Sr. Marina of the Busan Benedictine convent in Baltimore, MD also visited our community.
Various plans for the development of the community : Our community needs to keep developing our liturgy, monastery building and workshops such as the retreat house, gift shop, tree farm and camp. In July, I formed a liturgy committee and building committee. Now the liturgy committee meets together from time to time to address liturgical questions and problems. The building committee also works activelyly to solve many problems. In September, weagreed to build or add to the monastery building in order to separate the retreat area from the monastery area. We invited an architect in order to receive some ideas and request drawings for building construction. In addition, I have asked a marketing expert for some good ideas about how to improve the marketing and development work of our community. We want to start building construction next year, if possible, because the condition of the building is very bad.
Dear friends of St. Paul’s Abbey, we should not lose our hope in Jesus even though our life is difficult and our financial condition is getting worse. Jesus Christ will never disappoint us if we trust him with our whole hearts. I again thank you for your help. We will pray for your help and kindness so that Jesus Christ will repay your good deeds with abundant gifts and grace.
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