Sunday, September 12, 2010

Birthday blessings

On this gorgeous early fall Sunday, Br. Mauritius and I were invited by former Archabbot Fr. Bonaventure Knaebel to join him in a couple of anniversary celebrations (I was the chauffeur). First, we attended a 150th anniversary Mass for the parish of St. Michael in Charlestown, Indiana, where Fr. Bonaventure served as pastor from 1981 to 1986. It was one of many assignments he's had as a monk of Saint Meinrad--including abbot from 1955 to 1966, and procurator for our former mission in Peru in the 1970s.

The bilingual (Spanish and English) Mass attracted a large crowd of parishioners and well-wishers. Presiding was Diocese of Indianapolis Archbishop Daniel Buechlein (also a monk of Saint Meinrad). Several former pastors and associates returned for the occasion along with Fr. Bonaventure and concelebrated with the archbishop.

Incidentally, last week Fr. Bonaventure celebrated his 92nd birthday. He is still quite active and sharp as a tack. He even takes an occasional class in the Seminary on a topic of interest.

After the anniversary celebration in Charlestown, we drove to Fr. Bonaventure's hometown of New Albany, Indiana, for another party. This time, much of his family had gathered to celebrate the 1-year birthday of his great-great niece Kate. That's her above matching smile for smile on the lap of her 92-year-old great-great uncle.

I cannot close without mentioning another interesting piece of information. While we know him here in the monastery as Fr. Abbot Bonaventure, his family knows him simply by another name: Uncle Merton.

Since returning from Einsiedeln with Br. Mauritius a month ago, I have been busy giving my first guesthouse retreat, and with oblate talks, the beginning of classes, and my work as associate editor at Abbey Press Publications. However, later this week I will be taking a brief break to head back to northwest Ohio for a family celebration of my own. My "little" sister Shannon is getting married. .... And .......... yes ........ I think this is worth the risk--in our family (courtesy of our Uncle Kenny), Shannon has been known since childhood as Monk, short for Monkey.

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