A message from Abbot Peter’s Desk

Fr. Joseph Ackerman, OSB, returned to the Abbey from his retirement home in Bruno this summer, after a fall. In September, he celebrated his 95th birthday. (Photo courtesy of St. Peter's Abbey)

By Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB

[This is an excerpt from the St. Peter’s Abbey Newsletter, Spring and Summer 2019, published by the Monks of St. Peter’s Abbey, Muenster, SK]

This year saw a growth – of sorts – in the monastic community here in Muenster.

Most evident was the acceptance in September 2018 of two candidates: Robert Janiga and Edmundo Cruz. Both lived in the Toronto area. They made a profession of vows in March 2019, and have made a significant contribution to our regular community life.

For the past few months, Joseph Do has become a working guest, and joins the community in our prayer and work.

Other monks have returned home.

Fr. Lawrence DeMong and Fr. Richard Meidl both retired from their pastoral assignments this summer and returned to the abbey. Fr. Richard lived in Watrous and is now abbey treasurer to replace retired Kathy Tumback. Fr. Lawrence loves to nurture his garden at the abbey as well as volunteer for weekend assistance in parishes where needed. He served three years as pastor in Southend and LaRonge in northern Saskatchewan, in the Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas.

Fr. Joseph Ackerman spent over a month in the hospital this summer after a fall at his retirement residence in Bruno. He has since returned to the abbey where he needs minimal care. Much of his heart is still at the Bruno Prairie View home where he has spent his retirement years after serving 19 years as pastor of Bruno and Peterson. (Find an article about Fr. Ackerman by Fr. Paul Paproski, OSB, on page 16 of St. Peter’s Abbey Newsletter, Spring and Summer 2019).

St. Peter’s College began a new term in September 2019 with a lower number of students. The number in residence is 16 again, the same as last year. After a year characterized by a “quiet” group of students, this year’s class is more lively and engaging.

Meanwhile, the past year has seen an increase in the number of guests and groups using our guest residences. With the current closure of the Lumsden conference Centre, a number of groups have migrated to St. Peter’s Abbey. It is always nice to welcome new faces, and they appreciate the monastic presence and beautiful grounds St. Peter’s can offer. Fr. Demetrius Wasylyniuk has served 22 years as guest master and 18 years as director of student residence. I took charge of managing the student residents last year.

Next year I will turn 75 years old. Our Benedictine constitutions advise that abbots resign at age 75. That will mean that the community will hold an election for abbot. While no date has been set yet, it will likely be in spring. Next fall, a Congress of Benedictine abbots will be held in Rome, There are usually 250 abbots present from around the world. Congresses are held every four years.

For more information about happenings at St. Peter’s Abbey, see:  St. Peter’s Abbey Website