Tag Archives: abbot

Francis to the Abbots

pope-francis-with-abbots-8-sept-2016[Zenit] Pope Francis today received in audience some 250 participants in the congress of Benedictine abbots and abbesses gathered in Rome to reflect on the monastic charism received from St. Benedict and their faithfulness to it in a changing world.

This theme acquires special meaning in the context of the Jubilee of Mercy since, as Francis affirmed, “if it is only in the contemplation of Jesus Christ that we perceive the merciful face of the Father, monastic life constitutes a privileged route to achieve this contemplative experience and to translate it into personal and community witness”.

Today’s world clearly demonstrates the need for a mercy that is the heart of Christian life and “which definitively manifests the authenticity and credibility of the message of which the Church is the depository, and which she proclaims. And in this time and in this Church, called to focus increasingly on the essential, monks and nuns safeguard by vocation a peculiar gift and a special responsibility: that of keeping alive the oases of the spirit, where pastors and faithful can draw from the wellsprings of divine mercy.”

With the grace of God and seeking to live mercifully in their communities, monks and nuns “announce evangelical fraternity from all their monasteries spread out in every corner of the globe, and they do so with that purposeful and eloquent silence that lets God speak out in the deafening and distracted life of the world”.

Therefore, although they live separated from the world, their cloistered life “is not barren: on the contrary, an enrichment and not an obstacle to communion”.

Their work, in harmony with prayer, enables them to participate in God’s creative work and shows their “solidarity with the poor who cannot live without work”.

Their hospitality allows them to encounter the hearts of the “most lost and distant, of those who are in a condition of grave human and spiritual poverty”, and their commitment to the formation of the young is highly appreciated. “Students in your schools, through study and your witness of life, can too become experts in that humanity that emanates from the Benedictine Rule. Your contemplative life is also a privileged channel for nurturing communion with the brothers of the Oriental Churches”.

Your service to the Church is very valuable”, he concluded, expressing his hope that the Congress may strengthen the Federation so that it is increasingly at the service of communion and cooperation between monasteries and urging the Benedictines not to be discouraged if their members age or diminish in number. “On the contrary”, he emphasised, “conserve the zeal of your witness, even in those countries that are most difficult today, with faithfulness to your charism and the courage to found new communities”.

Dom Xavier Perrin as Abbot of Quarr

Abbot Xavier

Great news from Quarr Abbey! A new abbot has been elected. The Abbey is part of the Solesmes Congregation.

Dom Xavier Perrin has been elected as Abbot of Quarr Abbey, the Benedictine Abbey on the Isle of Wight. The election took place on Wednesday, May 11, 2016.

Fr Xavier Perrin, born in Tours in 1958, first studied French Literature in Rennes, and then History of Art at the Sorbonne. In 1980, he entered the Abbey of Sainte Anne de Kergonan, a monastery founded by Solesmes in South Brittany in 1897. He studied theology first at Solesmes, then at Fribourg in Switzerland, and finally in Munich. After his ordination in 1989, he took charge of the guesthouse, while teaching dogmatic theology and playing the organ. He was novice master from 1993 to 2010, choir master from 1996 to 2013, and prior from 2002 to 2013. He has written books and articles about the history of the Solesmes Congregation, liturgy, and spirituality. He has been involved in the promotion of Gregorian Chant through several week-ends, concerts and CDs. He was appointed Prior Administrator of Quarr Abbey (Isle of Wight) in April 2013.

He said, “I entrust my abbatial ministry to Our Lady of Quarr. I hope and pray that Quarr can continue to give its unique contribution to the Catholic Church in Britain, and be a beacon of light for the many visitors to the Isle of Wight.”

The picture: Abbot Xavier (on the right) standing next to Abbot Philippe Dupont, Abbot President of the Solesmes Congregation.

Praying for the abbot in the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass?


Frequently do I go to places where certain liturgical practices catch my attention because of the novelty of what is said and heard. We always need a deeper understanding, a profound appreciation for the prayer of the Church as expressed in the sacred Liturgy. Some will say that canon law, particularly liturgical law, is the bad side of the Good News. As Catholics we are part of a Church; as Catholics we are not independent of sacred Scripture, sacred Tradition and the sacred Magisterium; as Catholics we follow a guided companionship on a journey to a deeper communio with the Triune God. We are not Marlboro people; we are, in fact, sheep in flock called to the Holy Synaxis, to the holy in-gathering of a people in Christ, or simply, Church. We have a good shepherd in Jesus and in His successors, that is, the bishops, and we follow the teaching authority of the Christ and His vicars.

This is a long introduction to a question as whether or not priests of monastic communities ought to name the abbot in the Eucharistic Prayer. There seems to be some confusion over this seemingly small, trite matter. It is not small, and it is not trite. We have an ecclesiology, and we have a liturgical practice that ought to be followed because we live our Catholic lives in communion with others. Abbots are minor prelates; they exercise their pastoral authority and power in their monastic community and not in a diocese, and by extension to the dependent priories. An abbot ought not employ the attitude of having a mitre and a crosier so that  you can do whatever you’d like, whenever you’d like, etc.

Can a priest commemorate Abbot X (or even the abbess if in the context of a woman’s monastery) along with the pope and the bishop in the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass?


The General Instruction of the Roman Missal gives four titles that may be named in the Eucharistic Prayer: “The Diocesan Bishop, or one who is equivalent to the Diocesan Bishop in law, must be mentioned  by means of this formula: together with your servant N., our Pope, and N., our Bishop (or Vicar, Prelate, Prefect, Abbot)” (no. 149). Each of these offices are  “equivalent to the Diocesan Bishop in law” by virtue of their appointment to act on behalf of the Supreme Pontiff within a particular area.

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St Benedict’s Abbey elects Father James Albers 9th abbot

James R. Albers OSB.jpgThe monastic chapter of Saint Benedict’s Abbey (Atchison, KS) elected Father James Robert Albers, 41 as the 9th abbot earlier today. Until now, he’s served the monastic community as the Prior and vocation director.

Abbot James was born 19 October 1971, entered the abbey in 1996 and ordained in 2000.
The Benedictine community here was founded in 1857; it was given the rank of an abbey on 7 April 1876. Saint Benedict’s Abbey administers Benedictine College (1858), Maur Hill Prep School (1919); in 2003 the Prep merged with Mount Scholastica Academy (1863) to build a more dynamic and stronger school known as Maur Hill-Mount Academy. Saint Benedict’s Abbey is a member of the American Casinesse Congregation.
The monks also have a dependent Mosteiro São José in Goiás, Brazil.
The newly elected Abbot James succeeds Abbot Barnabas Senecal who was elected 8th abbot on 30 May 1994 and re-elected on 27 December 2002.
Forward, always forward.
May Our Lady of Guadalupe, Saint Benedict, Saint Scholastica with all Benedictine saints pray for the abbey and for Abbot James before the Throne of Grace.
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Kansas monks set to elect new abbot

St Benedict Abbey KS.jpgLater today the monks of Saint Benedict’s Abbey
(Atchison, KS) enter into a special chapter (the group of solemnly processed)
to begin the process of electing a new Abbot.

Abbot Barnabas Senecal, 75, is leaving the abbatial office. The Constitutions of the American Casinesse Congregation of monks has the abbot submitting a resignation on his 75th birthday. Abbot Barnabas has served for the last 18 1/2 years.

Please keep the monks in your
thoughts and prayers as they gather to elect a new Father in Christ.

The abbey recently saw two monks profess temporary vows and three men enter the novitiate.

May the
Holy Spirit guide the hands of the monks. Saint Benedict, pray for the monks.

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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