Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Dear Friends of St. Paul’s Abbey,
Greetings, and may the abundant blessings of our Lord be with all of you this Christmas and New Year of 2022. We thank you for your kindness and help which you showed us throughout the year of 2021. Although we still live with various difficulties during this Covid-19 pandemic, we can have hope because God loves us and protects us. We keep praying for you so that you may always live in the love and protection of Jesus Christ. Giving thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ for his love and grace, I would like to bring you up to date on the news from our community.
“Marda & Norwegian Medal Presentation” for Brother Marinus: On August 16, there was a meeting for the “Marda & Norwegian Medal Presentation” for our Br. Marinus at 10:00pm. Bishop Kevin Sweeney and around 12 members of the “Guild of the Servant of God Brother Marinus” attended the celebration. After having lunch, they visited the grave of Br. Marinus in the abbey cemetery.
Move of reception area and change of Sunday mass time: In May, we exchanged the places of the business office and the reception area. We were able to rearrange things in the newly changed business office without any problems. The new reception area needed a bit more work that we completed over several months. We installed a kitchenette and changed the windows to a bigger size. Now guests and retreatants use the reception area as a social place.
On September 27, we made the decision to change the time of Sunday Mass from 10:30am to 11:00am, which was approved by Abbot Blasio and started on October 31 so that guests from far away can more easily attend the Mass.
Brothers: On May 27, Br. Matthias, who went to Korea for his vacation in March, returned home with Br. Theodore Lee who was assigned to Newton. After being quarantined for a couple days, they got together with us at the first Vespers of the Most Holy Trinity on May 30. Br. Theodore is taking care of the maintenance of the abbey buildings. I am happy to inform you of some good news for our community. Fr. Gregory Jung-Min Lee, who was a priest of Wilmington Diocese in Delaware, entered our community as a candidate on July 5 after being approved by Abbot Blasio Park. On the Solemnity of All Saints, he received the monastic habit as a Postulant during Vespers. I attended several events this year. On June 1, I went to Corpus Christi Church in Chatham Township, NJ to attend this year’s Jubilee Mass and luncheon. Bishop Sweeney and around 100 priests attended the ceremony and lunch. On November 14, I attended the Annual Pride in Priests Dinner at Hanover Manor, East Hanover at around 5pm. During Advent, I went to several Korean Catholic communities to give Advent lectures: St. Michael Korean Community in Palisade Park, NJ, St. Columba in San Diego, CA and Holy Korean Martyrs in Baltimore, MD. I have also gone to Good Shepherd, our neighbor parish, to celebrate mass every Thursday since July.
Guests: On June 14, two Daegu Benedictine sisters who work in Los Angeles, CA came here to make an annual retreat. They stayed at the Subiaco house until June 23. While they were here, we held a picnic for dinner at the vegetable garden with them. On Thursday, July 8, Br. Justin Ayanou and Br. Cajetan, brothers of the Cassinese Congregation in Togo, who study at St. Meinrad Archabbey Seminary were supposed to visit us in the evening. They were not able to come because of thunderstorms at Newark airport. The flight was canceled. On Friday, July 9, Br. Justin and Br. Cajetan finally arrived here through LaGuardia airport in New York in the morning. They stayed with us until July 11. On Sunday, July 11, on the Solemnity of our Holy Father Benedict, we celebrated Mass at 11:00 am and had lunch with guests and oblates in our retreat house dining room. Around 35 people attended the celebration. On September 13, Fr. Adam who is a monk of Schuyler priory in Nebraska visited us and stayed with us until Sep. 15. He shared with us that the monastic life in Schuyler continues happily. Fr. Adam was also able to catch up with Abbot Justin who resides here with us at Newton. On Monday, October 25, the Korean brothers made their annual retreat from Vespers on Monday, Oct. 25 to Mass on Friday, Oct. 29. Fr. Laurentio Hae Cheol Jung, pastor of the Korean Catholic community in Baltimore, MD, came here to give our annual retreat. He spoke to us on the psychological dimensions of religious life in community.
Christmas tree sale: Like last year, we were uncertain about how well our annual Christmas tree sale would go because of the continuing circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, our patrons would not be denied a cherished part of their Christmas traditions and it turned out to be a successful season. Thanks to our many volunteers and friends, especially our abbey security guard Mr. Chris Megna and his friends, we were able to safely and successfully manage our annual Christmas tree sale. We were glad to welcome a few new volunteers this year and it was delightful to see so many young people take part. There was a joyful camaraderie amongst the brothers and the many volunteers. We thank God for this wonderful tradition of Christmas trees at Newton that has sustained St. Paul’s Abbey and allowed us to share Christian joy with our neighbors.
Dear friends, from all of us here at St. Paul’s Abbey, we wish all of you a joyful Christmas season and a prosperous and happy New Year of 2022. May our Lord Jesus Christ Who came to us and brought us salvation in such wonderful and surprising ways bring to you and your families many unexpected blessings.
Fr. Samuel Kim, O.S.B. Prior
and the monks of St. Paul’s Abbey