January 28, 2005


Welcome, Archabbot Justin

On Dec. 31, 2004, the final day of their 150th anniversary year, the monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey elected the ninth abbot (sixth archabbot) in the community’s history. Archabbot Justin DuVall, a 53-year-old native of Toledo, Ohio, succeeds Archabbot Lambert Reilly, 71, who announced last spring that he would resign at the end of the community’s sesquicentennial year after serving nine years as the monks’ spiritual and temporal leader.

On Jan. 21, the solemn liturgy of blessing was celebrated in the Archabbey Church of Our Lady of Einsiedeln by Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, a Benedictine who once served as a teacher, spiritual director and rector for the new abbot. The archbishop welcomed Archabbot Justin in the name of the Church in central and southern Indiana, and he pledged our prayerful support for the new abbot’s ministry as a spiritual father to the monastic community and to the Church throughout the world.

In characteristic Benedictine fashion, the monks of Saint Meinrad have looked to the future by prayerfully reflecting on their past. They have selected from their midst a man who knows how to reconcile differences and bring together apparently opposing factions.

They have elected as abbot a man who served as a custodian of the monastery library at the same time that he practiced the art of strategic planning. They have selected a man of prayer who works hard—a serious man with a wry sense of humor. And they have chosen a quiet, unassuming man who is a brilliant preacher and a proven administrator. Above all, the monks of Saint Meinrad have elected a man who can “take the place of Christ in the monastery” and still maintain his equilibrium (balancing his many accomplishments with the demands of humility and his zeal for the Benedictine way of life with a sense of compassion for the monks’ weakness and ordinary humanity).

As Archabbot Justin describes it, his role is to be a faithful steward of the many blessings (spiritual and material) that have been given to the community at Saint Meinrad.

“Our aim is primarily to continue to become what God has called us to be as monks. The basics of that are our commitment to prayer, to holy reading, to works of charity among ourselves that may model for the world what the life of God is meant to be,” Archabbot Justin said.

“There are so many people in the world today who are hungering for God’s life—perhaps without even knowing it—and if we forget what our basic commitment is as monks then I think we are really in trouble. Saint Meinrad has received so many blessings. We want to continue to foster those. And among the blessings, I believe, are not just material things for us, but spiritual blessings that God has given us and we have a responsibility to develop and share with others.”

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis welcomes Archabbot Justin to his new leadership role in our local Church. Monks of Saint Meinrad serve in our parishes and they provide vitally important ministries for our archdiocesan Church. They educate our priests, deacons and lay leaders, and they offer us the gift of their hospitality and the witness of their monastic life.

Above all, Saint Meinrad Arch-abbey shares with us its regular, disciplined and fervent prayer. During good times and bad times (including fires and floods, economic hardships, disease, foreign wars and internal strife in our nation), the monks have prayed the Liturgy of the Hours without interruption. They have prayerfully reflected on the Scriptures, and they have studied our Catholic tradition and contributed to its development and understanding. For more than 150 years, the monks of Saint Meinrad have celebrated the Eucharist on a daily basis—praying for us and for our Church that we too may be faithful stewards of all the spiritual and materials blessings entrusted to us by God.

For his abbatial coat of arms, Archabbot Justin has chosen the ancient Benedictine motto U.I.O.G.D. (Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus/That in all things God may be glorified).

Let us pray that God may indeed be glorified in the election of this new abbot, and in the prayer and work of his community for many years to come.

— Daniel Conway

(Daniel Conway is a member of the editorial committee of the board of directors of Criterion Press Inc.)


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