Sunday, December 9, 2018

Contemplative Days of Advent, reception of a new Associate

By a fluke of our calendar, we had Contemplative Days again about a month after our previous ones. Usually, they are spaced out two or three months apart. But monks like silence and holy leisure (time to pray, meditate, study, recreate and rest). As usual, we limited the number of guests to fifteen and kept complete silence round-the-clock. I did do some work catch-up (not too much). I also read up on Augustine of Hippo (a Gary Wills short biography; I think I am trying to entice myself to read Augustine himself, eventually...). I also did some light planning for our upcoming Centering Prayer Intensive retreat (May 19 - 26, 2019).

My cell and my office both look out on the Hudson River, so I often notice river traffic going by. This week I noticed the Coast Guard patrolling our waters earlier than usual Often, a Coast Guard icebreaker will keep a navigable channel in the river when it freezes over later in the winter.

The Coast Guard patrolling the Hudson back and forth over a few days.
This weekend, we were back in talking mode to welcome individual guests and parish groups (St James and St Luke in the Fields from Manhattan). On Saturday, Br. Josép received our latest Associate, Devin McKay from Mineola, New York.
From top left, clockwise, Devin McKay reads her Associate Pledge; Br. Josép receives Devin into the Holy Cross family of prayer: the Advent wreath with its second candle lit. (pictures of Devin compliments of Walter McKay, her husband).
If you're intrigued by the possibility of being an Associate, a conversation with Br. Josép is in order. As he likes to say, "It's not as difficult as you may think."

Blessed Advent!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Founder's feast, white privilege training

This week we celebrated the feast of James Otis Sargent Huntington, priest and monk, who founded our Order of the Holy Cross. The feast was transferred from last Sunday to this past Tuesday. We are very grateful for Fr. Huntington's many gifts to the church, including the formation of our Order back in 1884.
Feast of James Otis Sargent Huntington, our Founder. From top left, clockwise: Fr. Huntington's icon in the sanctuary; the icon painted by Joseph Brown; worshippers saluting Fr. Huntington; Brothers assembled for honoring Fr. Huntington, at his tomb, in our crypt; the icon displayed in the church.
You can read and listen to Br. Bob Pierson's sermon for the occasion on our sermon blog.

From Tuesday evening to Thursday midday, I visited General Theological Seminary for my monthly round of spiritual direction there. I see a dozen people there over a day and a half. It is an inspiring thing to encourage seminarians and their professors to listen to God's promptings in their lives.

On Tuesday evening, I got to have supper with my good friend Jamie Callaway and his wife Mary Chilton. Jamie was my first spiritual director over 15 years ago. I am forever grateful for his wise listening and insightful guidance back then and for our continued friendship now.

On Friday and Saturday, our community had a workshop on white privilege with Frances Kendall. She is the author of "Understanding White Privilege: Creating Pathways to Authentic Relationships Across Race." We had many powerful, insightful and difficult conversations over our two days of work. Most of us are white and recognize we have ongoing work to do. We would like to continue to attract and retain vocations of all races. Hopefully, our ongoing work about white privilege and anti-racism will help us in that.

And we are now in Advent. Happy New Year, Church! The Advent wreath has made its appearance in the church. And if you keep to yourself, I'll let you in on a secret: I have laid out Advent lights in my cell... No, no, these are not Christmas lights. Christmas decorations will come out in force on December 23, when our guests help us deck the halls.

We lit the first candle on the Advent wreath this past Saturday, at Vespers.
Br. Bernard's Advent lights in his cell. Shhh, it's a secret.

Have a Blessed Advent. May you experience long moments of quiet serenity as we ponder about the coming of the Prince of Peace.


Monday, November 26, 2018

A Life Profession, Thanksgiving and two moms

On Tuesday, November 20, Brother Josép Martinez-Cubero made his Life Profession of the Benedictine Vow in the presence of his mom, many friends, fellow religious and the Brothers.

It was a moving ceremony of simple and great beauty. Josép had carefully chosen readings and hymns and had asked several of his musician friends to perform. Holy Cross Brothers from Toronto and California were present for the occasion.
From top left, clockwise: the Holy Cross Brethren; Josép surrounded by his Superior, Br. Robert James who also was his Novice Master a few years ago and his Prior, Br. Bernard; Brothers listening to Br. Robert James' sermon; the prostration in front of the altar while the Veni Creator Spiritu is sung; Josép receiving the blessing of his Superior; Josép, newly professed, is greeted by his Brothers.
From top, clockwise: Josép with visiting religious: with the Holy Cross Priory, Toronto, Brothers; with Yanick Savain and Matthew Wright; with members at various times of the Pied Piper Children's Theater that Josép founded many years ago.
Brother Josép's mother had come to the monastery for a few days around the profession. On Wednesday, Josép got to take his introduce her to NYC. They had a grand time.

On Thanksgiving, we gave thanks for all the donors to our completed Open Doors, Open Hearts Capital Campaign and we blessed the pledge cards. We look forward to all the improvements we will be able to bring to the monastery in the next couple of years.

Blessing the pledge cards. The cards were by the ambo (lower left) as Br. Bernard gave a short homily of thanksgiving for a successful campaign; they were then blessed by Br. Bob and made their way to the altar for the offertory.
We had a full house of overnight guests and day visitors for Thanksgiving and our chefs, Bob Morano, and Melissa Short had pulled all the stops for a festive banquet. And our Guest House Manager, Lori Callaway contributed the desserts.
From top left, clockwise: Br. Aidan, our Guest Master surveys the setting up of the food by our chefs, Bob Morano and, Melissa Short; Br. Bernard reads the menu and prays the graces for an eager crowd; clothed and flowered table; wine and cider; the dessert buffet.
Br. Aidan's mom arrived on Thanksgiving Day for a couple of days. It is been great to have Elba (Br. Josép's mom) and Stephanie (Br. Aidan's mom) with us for the weeks' festivities. We love welcoming relatives of our monks at the monastery.