September 4, 2015

Saint Meinrad monk begins service as college seminary president-rector

Benedictine Father Brendan Moss, left, Benedictine Abbot Gregory Polan and retired Archbishop Jerome Hanus of Dubuque, Iowa, take part in an Aug. 23 inauguration ceremony at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at Conception Abbey in Conception, Mo. Father Brendan, a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, was formally installed during the ceremony as president-rector of Conception College Seminary, which is operated by Conception Abbey. Abbot Gregory is the current leader of the monastic community, and Archbishop Hanus previously led it. (Submitted photo)

Benedictine Father Brendan Moss, left, Benedictine Abbot Gregory Polan and retired Archbishop Jerome Hanus of Dubuque, Iowa, take part in an Aug. 23 inauguration ceremony at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at Conception Abbey in Conception, Mo. Father Brendan, a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, was formally installed during the ceremony as president-rector of Conception College Seminary, which is operated by Conception Abbey. Abbot Gregory is the current leader of the monastic community, and Archbishop Hanus previously led it. (Submitted photo)

By Sean Gallagher

When Benedictine Father Brendan Moss was named president-rector of Conception College Seminary in Conception, Mo., earlier this year, he become one of a growing list of priests formed at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad to serve in leadership at seminaries across the country.

Father Brendan, a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, began his ministry at the 129-year-old seminary in July. It is operated by Conception Abbey, a Benedictine monastic community in northwestern Missouri. His ministry was formally inaugurated during an Aug. 23 ceremony at the abbey’s Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

“It’s an honor and a privilege that I was not expecting nor looking for,” Father Brendan said. “It was definitely guided by the Holy Spirit. I’m very excited about it.”

He is particularly looking forward to helping college seminarians better understand who they are in God’s eyes, and how they are called to live out this identity.

“I’m going to get to help them with that,” Father Brendan said. “I cannot say how exciting and how humbling—and how terrifying—the thought of that is all at the same time.”

His appointment marks the first time that someone who was not a monk of Conception Abbey has served as president-rector of the seminary, which has an enrollment of about 90 seminarians representing about 15 dioceses. Father Brendan said that during his five-year term as president-rector he hopes to help nurture the leadership of some of the younger monks of Conception Abbey so that they might serve as president-rector in the future.

According to Father Brendan, there are four priests formed at Saint Meinrad who are now serving as seminary rectors across the country, and many more in other seminary leadership positions.

Before serving as president-rector at Conception, Father Brendan had served in two leadership positions at Saint Meinrad—most recently as director of enrollment and director of lay degree programs, and previously as director of pastoral formation.

Benedictine Father Denis Robinson, Saint Meinrad’s president-rector, spoke of how the southern Indiana seminary has not only formed future priests, but also seminary leaders.

“Father Brendan’s appointment is a testament to good priestly formation at Saint Meinrad in that we are preparing all of our staff for positions of leadership,” Father Denis said. “I think one of the benefits of a Benedictine school is that almost all of the monks involved can move in and out of positions fairly readily.”

Father Robert Robeson has served as the rector of Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis since its founding in 2004. He said that the priestly formation he received at Saint Meinrad helped prepare him for seminary leadership.

“It was a great blessing, particularly their emphasis on human formation,” said Father Robeson. “In ‘Pastores Dabo Vobis’ [an apostolic exhortation on priestly formation] St. Pope John Paul II calls human formation ‘the necessary foundation of priestly formation.’ This is especially true at the college level. With their emphasis on community life, Saint Meinrad does a very good job in this area.”

Father Brendan spoke about how the priestly formation he received at Saint Meinrad and later helped pass on to future priests will serve as an important basis of his ministry among college seminarians at Conception.

“In a way, my experience of formation at Saint Meinrad, both in our [former] college seminary and in our theologate, was that there was always room for the individual person to be himself and to give himself wholly to service to God and the Church,” Father Brendan said. “It is my hope that I can continue to honor the good work of character formation that has been going on at Conception Seminary for so very many years.” †

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