Father Gregory Polan, 66, until now, Abbot of Conception Abbey, has been elected the 10th Abbot Primate, succeeding Abbot Notker Wolf who has served in the position of Abbot Primate since being elected by the Congress of Abbots on 7 September 2000.
Abbot Gregory has been the 9th Abbot of Conception since November 6, 1996. He was professed in 1971 and ordained in 1977. He is a native of Berwyn, Illinois.
Abbot Gregory is the second abbot of Conception Abbey to be elected Abbot Primate. Abbot Marcel Rooney was the 8th Primate having been elected on September 18, 1996 and resigned on 3 September 2000.
Abbot Gregory is the fourth American to be elected to the Office of Abbot Primate. The others were Dom Rembert Weakland (now retired archbishop of Milwaukee); the late Abbot Jerome Theisen, and Abbot Marcel Rooney.
According to the Proper Law which governs the Confederation of Congregations of Monasteries of the Order of Saint Benedict, the ministry of the Primas is described as “the office of the Abbot Primate whose function it is to represent the Confederation and to do all he can to foster co-operation between the confederated monasteries.”
Abbot Notker was born on 21 June 1940, professed a monk of the Archabbey of St. Ottlien in 1962, ordained in 1968, elected Archabbot of his community in 1977, elected Abbas primas and Abbot of Sant’Anselmo 7 September 2000. He served three terms.
In the decree Inæstimabilis unitatis (16 September 1894) of Pope Leo XIII, gave the office of abbot primate to the Benedictines. The Primate has no direct authority the vast number of Benedictine houses (but there are Benedictine monasteries he is responsible for). There are approximately 7000 Benedictine monks. Polan becomes the abbot of the monastery Sant’ Anselmo. As THE Benedictine leader, he is the point of communio for the worldwide Benedictine Confederation and he who works as the primary liaison with the Holy See. Abbot Gregory is recognized as being a pastoral abbot and spiritual leader and well regarded across various sectors. Professionally, he is a scholar of Sacred Scripture and has the skills of a musician. Under his leadership a new English translation of the Book of Psalms that has been adopted by the US Catholic Bishops and Rome as the translation that’s used in the Liturgy.