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Someone once quipped, “The English language is a work in progress. Have fun with it.” The monks at Monastery of Christ in the Desert recognize from a spiritual standpoint, we are all works in progress and language is but one aspect of that work. We are an English speaking monastery, as opposed to Italian, French, Vietnamese, or Spanish speaking monasteries throughout the world. We are an international monastery with brothers hailing from 13 countries, many for whom English is not their first language.
So, as you can imagine, communication at the monastery can at times be strained. Fortunately, many outside ESL professionals consult with us and many visit and stay with us for as short as one week and up to a month. These volunteer ESL teachers lead multiple and concurrent ESL classes designed to help monks at various English language speaking levels. Our goal at the monastery is to have monks fully participate in the work, the spiritual life, and the liturgy of the community.
And, yes, we have fun learning English, too. We joke about mispronunciations amongst ourselves and with kindly jocularity encourage our brothers to keep improving their language skills and not fall into the temptation of recidivism into comfortable language cliques of Malawians, Kenyans, Vietnamese, Mexicans, Indians, or Congolese. With joy the whole community embraces this important work, this Pentecostal verisimilitude! We thank you for helping our ESL monks when you visit the monastery and chat with them during recreation on Sundays after Mass or during work on our weekday schedule. Our goal is to share a common human language that we might glorify God through our expression in heavenly language.
4:00 am Vigils
6:00 am Lauds
8:00 am Terce and Meeting for Monks
9:00 am Work Meeting for Guests at Giftshop and Necessary Work
12:15 am Sext
3:00 pm None
5:00 pm Eucharist of Holy Thursday
8:00 pm Private Adoration until Midnight
4:30 am Vigils
7:00 am Lauds
8:15 am Terce and Meeting for Monks
9:00 am Work Meeting for Guests at Giftshop and Necessary Work
11:15 am Sext
2:00 pm Stations of the Cross
3:30 pm Liturgy of Good Friday
6:30 pm Compline
4:30 am Vigils
7:00 am Lauds
8:15 am Terce, Work Meeting for Monks, and Music Practice for Monks
9:00 am Work Meeting for Guest at Giftshop
12:00 noon End of Work
12:30 pm Sext
1:45 pm None and Lectio/Prayer/Meditation
5:30 pm Vespers
6:50 pm Compline
3:00 am SOLEMN VIGILS OF THE LORD’S RESURRECTION with Eucharist
10:25 am Terce and Music practice for Monks
11:00 am Easter Day Mass
1:15 pm Sext
5:00 pm Solemn Vespers and Benediction / Recreation for Monks and Guests / Compline
A Resplendent Day for an Abbatial Blessing
On the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, the Most Reverend John C. Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe blessed the Rt. Rev. Dom Christian Leisy, OSB as Abbot of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert. Approximately 400 guests were in attendance including a 4th grade class from Holy Cross Catholic School, clerics and religious from the Holy See, Brazil, Mexico, and England, local leaders and longtime supporters of the monastery. All delighted in participating in the Mass under an enormous white tent near the Chama River for the new Abbot who is loved and well received by many throughout the world, but especially in our corner of the world, Abiquiu, NM.
Archbishop Wester congratulated the overjoyed gathering celebrating the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, the Eucharist, and the abbatial blessing. Although Mary is front and center in the celebration of this solemnity, Archbishop Wester encouraged Abbot Christian to be Joseph, Mary’s spouse who had a large role to play in the Gospel, for the community of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert. “As Abbot, you are called to guard this space in this part of the desert where Christ can be adored, abiding in the womb of the monastery,” the Archbishop said.
In response to the Archbishop and the overflowing warm of those gathered, Abbot Christian pledged himself to forming monks “for life.” This means commitment by all to live the life fully, with its daily demands and challenges, and doing so joyfully, out of love for Christ and the brethren.
After the Mass, the participants convened under large tents adjacent to the Mass tent for a delicious monk cooked meal of lasagna, salad, garlic bread, a selection of three delicious cakes, and assorted beverages. After the meal, guests were invited to an open house of the monastery to get a glimpse of cloister life. The sun shone brightly throughout the whole celebration as were the faces of so many loving friends and supporters. People could not help but respond positively to the beaming face of the new Abbot.
On March 21st, the Feast of the Passing of Our Holy Father Saint Benedict, two of our novices made their simple or first profession of vows, promising obedience, stability and conversion of life as Benedictine monks. This took place during the Conventual Mass at our monastery. The newly professed monks are Brother Boniface Blackburn, originally from Tennessee, and Brother Chrysostom Christie-Searles, from Chicago. Both are talented and welcome additions to our monastery. Please pray for them.
We received two new novices into our community on Wednesday evening, March 20th. They are Brothers Charbel Gomez and Benedetto Reinte, pictured here with Abbot Christian. Please keep these brothers in your prayers and be assured of their prayers as well.
Cemetery chapel, Saint Bernard Abbey, Cullmam, Alabama, where Abbot Christian is attending the annual Benedictine Abbots Workshop this week.
Spring is arriving in Alabama, where Abbot Christian is this week for Abbots’ Workshop
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God, and the firmament shows forth the work of His hands,”
Raise up in Thy Church, O Lord, the spirit with which our Holy Father Saint Benedict, Abbot,
was animated, that filled with the same spirit,
we may strive to love what he loved and to practice what he taught.
This we ask through Christ our Lord.
We are celebrating now the days between the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord and the Baptism of the Lord.
With the Magi of old, come let us adore the Lord!
* * *
Il 12 dicembre 2018 P. Christian Leisy è stato eletto nuovo Abate dell’ Abbazia di Christ in the Desert (New Mexico – USA). L’ Abate Presidente e la comunità della curia generalizia gli esprime il suo vivo ringraziamento per il servizio svolto come Assistente. Preghiamo per lui e per tutta la comunità monastica che lo ha scelto come padre del Monastero.
On December 12, 2018 Fr. Christian Leisy was elected new Abbot of the Abbey of Christ in the Desert (New Mexico – USA). The Abbot President and the community of the General Curia express his heartfelt thanks for his service as an Assistant. Let us pray for him and for the whole monastic community that chose him as the father of the Monastery.
Le 12 décembre 2018, le P. Christian Leisy a été élu nouvel abbé de l’abbaye du Christ dans le désert (Nouveau-Mexique – États-Unis). Le P. Abbé President et la communauté de la Curie générale lui expriment leurs sincères remerciements pour son service d’Assistant. Prions pour lui et pour toute la communauté monastique qui l’a choisi comme père du monastère.
El 12 de diciembre de 2018, el P. Christian Leisy fue elegido nuevo Abad de la Abadía de Cristo en el Desierto (Nuevo México, EE. UU.). El Presidente del Abad y la comunidad de la Curia General expresan su sincero agradecimiento por su servicio como Asistente. Oremos por él y por toda la comunidad monástica que lo eligió como el padre del Monasterio.
Curia Generalizia della Congregazione Sublacense Cassinese dell’Ordine di San Benedetto Via
di S. Ambrogio, 3 00186 Roma Italia Tel +39 06 68 80 27 92 Fax +39 06 68 32 95 2
On the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, the monastic community of the Abbey of Christ in the Desert elected Dom Christian Leisy as our new Abbot. He succeeds Rt. Rev. Philip Lawrence, who had served as superior of Christ in the Desert for 42 years. Presiding over the election was the Rt. Rev. Guillermo Leon Arboleda Tamayo, Abbot President of the international Subiaco Cassinese Congregation of Benedictine Monks – to which Congregation Christ in the Desert belongs. After the election Abbot President Guillermo installed Abbot Christian as Abbot of this monastery, placing around his neck the cross which is the symbol of the Office of Abbot. Abbot Christian has been a monk of Christ in the Desert since 1977 and originally hails from Oregon. Retiring Abbot Philip said: “I know that Abbot Christian will be a superlative superior of our community!” Abbot Christian solicits the prayers of all of the friends of Christ in the Desert that he may serve humbly and well as shepherd of the community.
On December 12, 2018, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe The Right Reverend Philip Lawrence, OSB, the Abbot of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert will retire and the monastic chapter will elect a new Abbot under the supervision of the Abbot President of our Subiaco-Cassinese Congregation, Abbot Guillermo Arboleda Tamayo, OSB.
In the lead up to this special day the Guesthouse will be closed. Visitors to the Monastery are still welcome and the Giftshop will be open during the regular hours.
Finally, we ask you to join us each day in this prayer for our Community: Lord God, You are our Eternal Shepherd and Guide. In your mercy grant this Monastery a shepherd who will walk in Your ways, and whose watchful care will bring us Your blessings. Amen.
The Right Reverend Philip J. Lawrence, OSB, the Abbot of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, recently announced in the summer newsletter that given the required retirement of an abbot at age seventy-five coming in 2019, he has decided that he will retire on December 12, 2018, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, because there are a number of important decisions that are to be made in connection with our rapid growth in monastic vocations and those will best be made by his successor.
In answer to questions from a sizeable number of well-wishers, Abbot Philip has explained that the actual retirement event is done privately at the Monastery. The Abbot President of our Subiaco-Cassinese Congregation, Abbot Guillermo, OSB, will oversee the subsequent election process and the public will be advised of the results on the news page of the Monastery’s website.
If you wish to read the summer newsletter which is dedicated to honoring the accomplishments of Abbot Philip’s 41 years as the superior of the Monastery, please click HERE.
Finally, we ask you to each day join us in this prayer for our Community: Lord God, You are our Eternal Shepherd and Guide. In your mercy grant this Monastery a shepherd who will walk in Your ways, and whose watchful care will bring us Your blessings. Amen.