Dear Friends in Christ,
More than a week has already passed since the Abbatial Blessing here on Monday, March 25, 2019, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. I am happy to report that everything went very well!
The days leading up to March 25th were full and hectic, as you can well imagine. There was much to do, of course, including the putting up of quite a few huge tents for the celebration of the Mass and for the luncheon afterwards. A party rental company in Santa Fe took care of the tents, but the ground had to be prepared beforehand then covered with garden tarps once the tents were up.
The rains that came mid and late week before the 25th made Forest Road 151 muddy, so the crew coming to set up the tents had to postpone, with some fear their work would be prevented or unduly delayed. One day when the crew was working, gusty winds caused one of the smaller tents to collapse! No one was injured, but it was a setback to completing the project.
By Friday, March 22nd, the weather began to clear up and the tents were finished, able to accommodate around 300 people for the solemn Mass and another set of tents for the same number for the meal after.
Here I wish to thank all the brothers of Christ in the Desert for their good zeal and hard work, including the sacristans, cooks, guesthouse cleaners, the maker of signs for traffic and people, the giftshop attendants, those who set up chairs, tables and who worked on the event in general. Many of our guests in residence also assisted, for which I am very grateful. It was certainly an “all hands on deck” endeavor.
The day of the Blessing was cloudless, bright and warm. Guests attending the Blessing numbered about 250, approximately 50 monks were present, so about 300 souls all together. For me it was a day of many graces and a chance to pledge myself anew to this Monastery and its aspirations, now as its spiritual father, the abbot. Please pray that I may indeed do that.
Special thanks to our Archbishop John Wester for his presence and celebrating the Mass and conferring the Abbatial Blessing upon me. May God reward him! The ceremony itself, including the music, sound system, etc., seemed to flow without a hitch and Holy Mass lasted about an hour and forty-five minutes.
After Mass the delicious festive meal that had been prepared by various brothers was enjoyed by all.
It was difficult for me to adequately greet and thank all in attendance and I now realize there were some people present whom in fact I didn’t get a chance to greet. For this I apologize, but I am sure they understand.
From my immediate family, my younger sister Linda was present, as well as her husband Kevin, from Arizona, as well as their daughter-in-law Gina, from Washington State and another friend of theirs, also named Linda.
I am deeply grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers of family, friends, neighbors and all who attended the Abbatial Blessing. To all who were unable to attend I also give thanks, as they prayed for us during the days leading up to March 25th, on the day itself and after. Thank you all from the heart.
Saint Benedict says: “that in all things God may be glorified.” I hope this was the intention, spirit and reality of preparation and celebrations here at the Monastery of Christ in the Desert on March 25, 2019.