The 2008 Congress of Abbots also occurs every four years which gathers the nearly 260

St Benedict6.jpgBenedictine abbots from around the world to discuss topics of interest. The Abbot Primate Notker Wolf said the purpose of the Congress  “Promotes the union of the Confederation, by extending its contacts with its many souls.” The meeting will take place at the Abbey of Saint Anselm from the 18th to 27th September.  


Among the presenters will be the esteemed Preacher to the Papal Household Father Raniero Cantalmessa, OFM Cap, who will make a presentation entitled, “What the Spirit is Saying to the Churches.” Plus, the recently retired Abbot General of the Trappists, Abbot Bernardo Olivera will deliver a talk called “Experiences as a Monk and as a Monastic Superior.”

Abbot Notker said there will be workshops and committee work on some major subjects, such as the monasteries with diminishing numbers of monks and nuns, ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue, matters pertaining to the African monasteries, the relation between monasticism

Thumbnail image for Notker Wolf2.jpgand the Church, and the relationship between between abbots and priests. The congress will also be attended by the Benedictine sisters and nuns who will be involved in a discussion about the relations between men’s and women’s monasteries. Discussions will also happen on the work and funding of the various institutes and academic departments, including the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, at Sant’Anselmo.


Obviously being in Rome the food will be delicious, there will be time for visiting the holy places and there will be times to recreate with other abbots. All this affords an opportunity to ask questions that sometimes stir up new ways of thinking and doing things back home. One the higher profile obligations of the gathered abbots is the election of a new abbot primate or the re-election of the current abbot primate, Notker Wolf.


The abbots will be granted an audience with Pope Benedict XVI, visit the Sant’Egidio Community, pray Vespers at the Abbey of Saint Paul outside the Walls and pray at the

St Paul tomb.jpgtomb of Saint Paul at the papal basilica given that it’s the Pauline Year.


Our prayer for the abbots ought to be:


Father, in Your goodness grant the abbots the intellect to comprehend You, the perception to discern You, and the reason to appreciate You. In Your kindness endow them with the diligence to look for You, the wisdom to discover You, and the spirit to apprehend You. In Your graciousness bestow on the abbots a heart to contemplate You, ears to hear You, eyes to see You, and a tongue to speak of You. In Your mercy confer on the abbots a conversation pleasing to You, the patience to wait for You, and the perseverance to long for You. Grant all of us a perfect end, Your holy presence. Amen.