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News from Christ in the Desert:
Current Road Conditions to the Monastery
Road update 3/27/2015

The road leading to the Monastery, Forest Service Road 151 is dry. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended to traverse the road.

Schedule for Holy Week 2015

Holy Thursday--2015

4:00 am Vigils
6:00 am Lauds
8:00 am Terce
12:15am Sext
3:00 pm None
5:00 pm Eucharist of Holy Thursday
8:00 pm Private Adoration until Midnight

Good Friday--2015

4:30 am Vigils
7:00 am Lauds
8:15 am Terce
11:15am Sext
2:00 pm Stations of the Cross
3:30 pm Liturgy of Good Friday
6:30 pm Compline

Holy Saturday--2015

4:30 am Vigils
7:00 am Lauds
8:15 am Terce
12:30pm Sext
1:45 pm None/Lectio/Prayer/Meditation
5:30 pm Vespers
6:50 pm Compline

Easter Sunday--2015

10:25am Terce
11:00am Easter Day Mass
1:15 pm Sext
5:00 pm Solemn Vespers and Benediction

Easter Monday 2015/Easter Tuesday 2015

4:00 am Vigils
6:00 am Lauds/Mass
8:45 am Terce
11:30am Sext
4:00 pm None
5:30 pm Vespers

Posted 2/10/2015

Please join us for a weekend or more in the coming months, for a preached retreat given by the monks of Christ in the Desert. Each retreat weekend will cover different topics and approaches to Benedictine Spirituality and its application to people in the world today. Feel welcome to attend more than one weekend, as each retreat will be unique in its content and focus.

The following weekends of preached retreats will be:

December 4 - 6, 2015, with Prior Christian Leisy, OSB :
  • "Wisdom of the Desert Fathers and Mothers"

December 18 - 20, 2015, with Subprior Benedict McCaffree, OSB :
  • "Partakers of the Divine Nature"

January 8 - 10, 2016, with Abbot Philip Lawrance, OSB:
  • "Silence in the Normal Life"

January 29 - 31, 2016, with Prior Christian Leisy, OSB:
  • "More on the Psalms"

February 19 - 21, 2016, with Subprior Benedict McCaffree, OSB:
  • "Humility in Gospel, Rule and Life"

The weekend retreat will include Friday arrivals and an opening conference that night. On Saturday there will be three conferences during the day and a final conference on Sunday morning. The retreatants are invited and encouraged to partake in all of the chanted Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours) with the monks in church, daily Mass and time of adoration, and the possibility of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) on Saturday afternoon.

Silence and recollection will be the norm during the retreat, with time for personal prayer and solitude in the spectacular setting of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert.

Space is limited, so sign up early, using our online reservation procedure on the Guesthouse section of our website:

The retreats are open to men and women, coming as individuals, couples or in small groups.

Those who wish to come earlier than the weekend retreat may do so and/or stay on after the retreat. Just reserve a room or rooms for the dates you wish.

In addition to the customary donation for a stay here (see our website), there will be a $75 fee for each retreatant, or $100 for couples coming.

These are NOT directed retreats, where individual retreatants meet each day with a director. Rather, these are preached to a group, with an emphasis on self-direction and active participation in the contemplative life of the monastery itself. Three meals are provided each day, taken in silence.

That In All Things God May Be Glorified - St Benedict (480-547 AD)


We have telephones now! The single greatest gift from our benefactors this past year was our new phone system that really works. It saves us from having to drive to the highway to make a call. It was all part of a technology upgrade that also enables us to have regular access to the Internet and that will be used to power a new website and online store for selling high quality religious items and art. We expect to have all of this in operation by this coming April. We'll keep you posted on this.

Just to show we are moving into modern times, perhaps, we have also brought electricity to the Guesthouse. Now please don't be too upset, you can still just not turn on the lights! But seriously, it seemed to be necessary for the safety and a modest amount of convenience for our guests. The Guesthouse remains simple and completely conducive to personal retreats in silence and solitude. The electricity itself is mostly obtained from solar panels that are environmentally friendly and affordable. Occasionally we have to run a propane fueled generator to supplement the supply of electricity.

We also have a new road on the monastery property itself. The U. S. Forest Services does a good job of maintaining the road from the highway to our property, but the road inside the property can often get muddy and rutted. We have graveled almost our entire road so that guests and visitors can travel to and from the Guesthouse and the church more easily. We were able to accomplish this project with the help of our friends.

Finally, we are happy to say that through The financial assistance of 48 sponsors, we now have that number of new choir stalls. These are the traditional "booths" where monks can stand or sit for singing while chanting the Divine Office. These stalls put the monastery squarely into the monastic tradition from which we can best serve our Lord and neighbor.

We are deeply grateful to the Lord and our friends for these improvements to the Monastery.


We truly had a wonderful celebration of our 50th Jubilee anniversary on June 24, 2014, the Solemnity of the birth of St. John the Baptist, our Patron. Fr. Aelred Wall, OSB, established this Monastery on that day fifty years ago. We remain deeply grateful for his beginning our monastic community that flourishes now thanks also to our friends and benefactors and the goodness of God.

The celebration included Mass with Abbot Philip as the main celebrant and 300 guests. The Abbot spoke of the years of Providential care the Lord has lavished on the community. He also spoke of the meaningful relationships over those years with the friends, visitors, and guests of the monastery. He hoped that the service of prayer and hospitality would continue for at least another fifty years. Afterwards, we served lunch in the courtyard of the cloister. We had open house throughout the monastery so that our guests could "take a peek" behind the scenes where we work and pray. Everyone greatly enjoyed the day and offered their congratulations and good wishes for the future.


We have been greatly blessed by an ever-increasing number of men interested in discerning whether they have a monastic vocation. Brother Benedict McCaffree, OSB, is the Novice Master in charge of the postulants and novices that fill all the quarters at St. Antony's and most of the old cells as well. Additionally, other monks have recently taken vows and the community here now numbers 38 monks. We are grateful to the Lord for His loving support of our community by sending many new vocations.


I simply want to say "thank you" for your wonderful responses to the three appeals we made this last year for help with our expenses in educating our younger monks; an upgrade of our technology and phone systems; and for help with our heating costs. We welcome all written requests for prayers whenever you write to us and in any event, each day we pray for the intentions of our benefactors. Each and all of you assure the continuation of this community of monks who pray for the peace and welfare of the whole world and for all of you as well.

I am celebrating 50 years as a monk this year and in that time the Lord has provided innumerable friends and greatly blessed my life of prayer. For all of this I am deeply grateful. Thank you for helping to make this possible. May all blessings in Christ's name be with you. Merry Christmas to one and all!