Tag Archives: Abbot Primate

Abbot Primate celebrates 75 years

Notker imposes incense 2015The Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation celebrates his 75th birthday. Abbot Notker Wolf presides in charity over the worldwide communion of Benedictines from the Aventine Hill in Rome. He was the archabbot of the St Ottilien Abbey and Congregation before his election as Primas.


Congress of Abbots 2012 statistics

anselmo arms.jpglYou’re likely going to say big deal… there’s already been too much info on the 2012 Congress of Abbots on the Communio blog. Well, you’re correct. But a few statistics set a context.

Meeting at the Primatial Abbey of Saint Anselm in Rome for the September 2012 Congress of Abbots, there were:
  • 250 abbots
  • 380 monasteries represented: 205 abbeys, 45 independent priories, 130 dependent priories
  • 21 Benedictine Congregations of monks
  • 7,358 monks represented
  • 62 Benedictine Congregations of women
  • 13,650 Benedictine nuns and sisters represented.
Father Luke MacNamara OSB, a monk of Glenstal Abbey (Ireland) oversaw the simultaneous translation work of 5 languages.

Notker Wolf re-elected Abbot Primate for world-wide Benedictines

Ab Notker Wolf.jpgAbbot Notker Wolf, 72,  was elected for the third time by the world’s abbots and conventual priors who are at the quadrennial meeting currently in session at Sant’Anselmo, Rome.

Abbot Dr. Notker was the Archabbot of St Ottilien when he was elected the Abbot Primate in 2000. Abbot Notker professed vows in 1962, ordained in 1968, elected abbot in 1977, and elected the primate in 2000, 2008, and now in 2012. Abbot Notker will serve in the Office of the Primate for 4 years.
The election for the Primate’s Office happened today 9am Rome time following the singing of the Office of Terce. Typically the election for Primate is chaired by the Archabbot of Montecassino, but being sick, instead of Abbot Pietro, the Abbot of Subiaco, Mauro Meaci chaired the election. Each monastic superior was called forth to drop his vote. Dom Mauro announced the tally, and called on Abbot Notker seeking to know if he accepted election. He did accept. According to law, the re-elected Abbot Primate made a profession of faith and the oath of fidelity with his hand on the Bible. All assembled then sang the Te Deum followed by a solemn blessing imparted by the Abbot Notker. Noon Mass was celebrated at the nearby Santa Sabina Church and the normal work of the Congress continued.

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Abbot Primate’s Address to Pope Benedict XVI

As you know, the Benedictine Abbots and Abbesses met in Rome in September. and there was a meeting of the Benedictines with the Holy Father. I posted the Holy Father’s address already and now I am offering the Abbot Primate’s address for your consideration. I am most grateful to Father Abbot Primate Notker for sharing the English translation of his remarks.

Notker Wolf arms.jpgAddress of the Abbot Primate on the Occasion of the Audience with the Holy Father on 20th September 2008, at Castelgandolfo

Holy Father,

Every four years we, the Benedictine Abbots, come to Rome to celebrate our International Congress. We reflect on the impact of Saint Benedict’s spiritual patrimony on the world of today, we discuss our common project, that is, Sant’Anselmo as a monastic and academic entity. We have also invited representatives of the ‘Communio Internationalis Benedictinarum’, of the Orthodox Churches and of the Anglican Benedictines. Today, we have come to Castelgandolfo to greet you, to listen to your words and to receive your blessing. We come to you with the greatest sense of esteem and gratitude.


One of your great desires is the rebirth of a Christian Europe on the basis of Saint Benedict’s principles. We hope that our monasteries may be spritiual and cultural centres which will strongly influence their surroundings. Many people, both young and grown-up, come to our monasteries and join us in prayer and in the liturgy. The welcoming of guests in our monasteries and retreat houses, or the welcoming of students in our schools is our contribution towards the Church’s witness and a deepening of the Faith.


This is true not only in Europe but all over the world. 150.000 young people are being educated in our schools. To help this work, we have established a network among those responsible in order more effectively to develop our Benedictine profile.


Already for centuries Benedictine monasteries have been growing outside of Europe, as
St Benedict vision.jpgyou will have noticed in Brazil. Today, in an era of globalisation, Saint Benedict’s message is spreading throuhghout the world. Every year more than four new foundations are made, in Eastern Europe and as far away as Kazakhstan. Shortly, there will be a new foundation in Cuba. The official Church in China has sent a group of young priests to Sankt Ottilien to be formed as Benedictines with a view to starting a community in this country so dear to your heart.


We have no reason to be dissatisfied. In some parts of the world, such as Asia and Africa, there are many vocations, and even in Europe they are not lacking. But some communities have been waiting for years for new members and do not know what the future holds. For this reason some houses will be forced to close. Where there are no children and there is no faith the seed-ground for vocations does not exist.


Sant’Anselmo with its Pontifical Athenaeum and Pontifical College plays a particular role. In the last century, Sant’Anselmo was the unifying centre of formation, of contact and of common life for the many monastic observances and nations. At this time of globalisation Sant’Anselmo has become even more important in furthering the unity of the Confederation. For this reason we are grateful to you for having finally clarified the issue of the ownwership of Sant’Anselmo, by granting us officially the free use of the property. With the Pontifical Liturgical Institute we make a special contribution to the Universal Church.


In recent years there has been a growing interest among many laypeople anxious to conduct their lives in accordance with the spirit of the Rule of Saint Benedict. Always attached to a specific monastic community, they try to witness in the world that, only be being rooted in God can they develop the fulness of a truly human life. We have already celebrated one World Congress of Oblates where experiences were shared on an international level and new courage and zeal built up. At present we are preparing the second such Congress.


I should not like to conclude without mentioning our sisters, that is our Benedictine nuns and sisters. They bear witness in a special way in the heart of the Church to the contemplative element and to service of the poor. Their number is double that of the monks but they live a more hidden life than the monks. Together we try to carry on the precious patrimony of Our Holy Father Saint Benedict, the Patron of Europe, but who in the future, like Abraham, may come to be called ‘the Father of many peoples’.


Holy Father, once again we thank you for this generous meeting and humbly ask your paternal blessing.


Notker Wolf3.jpg+Notker Wolf OSB

Abbot Primate

Benedictine Abbots to meet in Rome

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.


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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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