Tag Archives: Notker Wolf

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.


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.

As an aside, the Prince of Jordan was with the monks for lunch on the 20th.

May God grant him the graces needed to fulfill his person and work.

Abbot Notker is a very generous monk with great humanity. He’s travelled the world seeking to build and encourage the communion among the Benedictines, the local churches and society. I have nothing but praise for what Abbot Notker has done for the Confederation as the Chancellor of Pontifical Athenaem of Sant’Anselmo. Under his leadership very much needed repairs of the Sant’Anselmo building have been done as well as other needed bricks and mortar repairs and upgrades and are being made, the expansion of women religious receiving an education there, building of development offices in Europe and the USA to raise funds to endow the various schools of philosophy and theology at Sant’Anselmo and asking the monks who live and work at Sant’Anselmo to have a great fidelity to the life of the project. He’s been instrumental in the founding of a Benedictine priory in Cuba and has worked with the Chinese in securing the various freedoms needed for the Church.

Abbot Notker arms.jpg

But with all this very good work done by the Primate and his staff, there’s much work to do. Not all is complete and Abbot Notker can’t rest on his laurels. Several things, in my considered opinion need attention: getting name recognition of Sant’Anselmo better known, especially in the USA, the greater cultivation of benefactors, the attraction of new monks, nuns and laity to teach at the Anselmo, to develop more dynamic programing in the constituent academic areas, to attract talented people –not necessarily monks, perhaps the utilization of the Oblates– to work there. Plus, it is reasonable to say that he and his staff ought to use technology much better to communicate with the world’s monks and nuns but also with the laity. There are a great amount of Oblates who love the love the Benedictine way of life and would appreciate being included more for the effective advancement of what is proposed by the Rule and the Church. It is disappointing that the Confederation doesn’t use technology viz. the Primate’s office and the school. The Curial offices on the Aventine Hill don’t need to feed the media monster but they do need to communicate more effectively using the internet, especially in the renewed emphasis the Church has placed on the proclamation of the Word of God. For example, the OSB website, Wikipedia and Confederation websites need a serious overhaul. Perhaps doing more work with the interface of monasticism and evangelization would be good as well as forming an international group of Oblates to live, work and pray as a community for the good of the Confederation.

Abbot Wolf can’t do this work all alone and in a short amount of time. He is 72 with realistically a term to work as Primate (4 years is not a long time). Abbot Notker needs our sincere prayer, fraternal and financial support.

On the Confederation, etc.

“The Benedictine Confederation was formed those monastic Congregations which, while preserving their autonomy, entered the union sanctioned by Pope Leo XIII in a the Papal Brief “Summum semper” and regularly approved by all of his successors. By order of Pope Pius XII precise legal prescision was made for this union in a Lex propria which was reviewed after the Second Vatican Council (1),”

The Benedictine Confederation was constituted and continues to exist in order that led by the Gospels, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and directed by the Church, monastic life according to the Rule of Saint Benedict and the wise traditions of each Congregation and monastery adapted to the conditions of time and place may be fostered and fraternal assistance between Congregations in the areas of personnel, goods and works be encouraged in every way” (16).

“The Congress is not intended to be a Chapter General nor does it possess any power at variance with the autonomy of the Congregations or of monasteries; rather it serves the good of the Confederation with the limits described above (nos. 16-17)” (20).

All Benedictine saints and blesseds, pray for Abbot Notker, the Benedictine curia, and for us.

Benedictine abbots to meet in Rome

Badia Primaziale arms.jpgThe Office of the Abbot Primate announces…

Almost 300 monastics will gather in Rome, 17-25 September 2012, for the international Congress of Benedictine Abbots and Conventual Priors at the Primatial Abbey of St. Anselm on the Aventine Hill. Preceding the Congress, new monastic superiors will participate, 15-16 September 2012, in an orientation program. 25 representatives from Communio Internationalis Benedictinarum (CIB), an association of Benedictine sisters and nuns, will also attend the Congress. The Abbot Primate has invited ecumenical guests from the Orthodox and Reformed traditions.

The two keynote speakers are Prof. Michael Hochschild presenting his research on the viability of
Benedictine monasteries, and Fr. Michael Casey OCSO offering a paper on autonomy in Benedictine life. In addition, a wide range of workshops will address current topics in monastic life; such as, Benedictine identity, stress and burnout, associate membership programs, management of monasteries, individualism in the monastery, relationship with Benedictine women, new forms of Benedictine presence in society, ecumenism, the paschal mystery in the sacred liturgy, new directions for inter-monastic dialogue, new structures for AIM, the changing role of the Athenæum S. Anselmo,the sexual abuse crisis, the role of the abbot, communio in the confederation,and the formation of “traditionalist” candidates.

The assembled abbots and conventual priors will have the opportunity to visit in pilgrimage the monasteries of SubiacoMontecassino, Norcia, and Camaldoli, which is celebrating its 1000th anniversary this year. Nearly half of the 250 abbots and conventual priors will reside in the Collegio S. Anselmo, with the others, including CIB representatives and ecumenical guests, housed in area religious houses and hotels.

An important item on the agenda is the election of the abbot primate of the Benedictine Confederation. According to the Lex Propria of the BenedictineConfederation, the abbot primate is elected for an eight-year term, and renewable thereafter every four years. There is no term limit to the office of abbot primate. The current abbot primate, Dr. Notker Wolf OSB, a monk of St. Ottilien Archabbey in Bavaria, is completing 12 years of service, having beenre-elected in 2008.
Your prayers for the success of the Congress are greatly appreciated.

Rome’s Pontifical Liturgical Institute celebrates 50 years, Pope marks event

PIL cinquanta logo.jpgThis week the Pontifical Liturgical Institute centered
at the Pontifical Athenaeum of Saint Anselm (AKA Sant’Anselmo) held the
Ninth International
Congress on the Liturgy
in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Institute’s
foundation. The theme of the congress was “The Pontifical Liturgical Institute:
Between Memory and Prophecy.” In the Clementine Hall, the Pope met with Abbot Notker Wolf, Abbot Primate and Chancellor of the Pontifical Athenaeum, Dom Juan Javier Flores, professors and participants in the Congress. The Italian version of the Pope’s talk is here; he English translation: Benedict XVI to Pontifical Liturgical Institute May 6 2011.pdf  
The Pope said several noteworthy things, among them:

“Blessed John XXIII, recognizing the requests of
the liturgical movement that sought to give new impetus and a new spirit to the
Church’s prayer, shortly before Vatican Council II and during its celebration,
asked the faculty of Benedictines on the Aventine Hill to establish a center
for study and research to ensure a solid basis for conciliar liturgical
reform,” said Pope Benedict XVI.

Read more ...

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

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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