Inspiring Norbertines

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St. Michael's completes its second week of its very successful summer camp program.  What is the reason for its popularity?  Boys find the non-stop sports, substantial meals, and inspiring counselor-seminarians to be the best possible way to spend a day.  And to spend an entire week at camp makes it seven times better!
Often parents notice the positive change in their sons when they return from camp. Sometimes the change lasts a week or two and sometimes the change is permanent.  Today we highlight fr. Christopher Landhoff, Fr. Patrick Foutts, and fr. Linus Callon [as seen in the photo L to R].  All three of these Norbertines first heard God inviting them to a closer relationship with Him as summer campers.  As a seven-year old fr. Christopher thought that the seminarians he had as counselors were real-life super-heroes.  Frater Linus shared the same experience and made the same conclusion. Fr. Patrick was one of the counselors at that time and now he is the summer camp director for week two.  Please join us in prayer that all our boys will have a fun camping experience and that God will continue to call generous-hearted youth to the priesthood and religious life.
Spring 2014 Newsletter


Dear Friends,
Back beginning in 1977 after Fr. James' and my ordination, I was periodically sent to the Holtz ranch, which served as a mission station, to say Mass. Abbot Parker filled this assignment as well - it was part of our work for St. Cecilia's parish in Tustin, where our community had provided Sunday help for Masses for years. Reading through Fr. Norbert's article on the history of the Holtz ranch, I am moved at the Providential connection between our community and the Holtz family and their land, come which I knew and some that was a revelation to me.
Latest Events

Blessing of the Bikes

botb03Each spring at the abbey, with Holy Week, Easter and then the end of the school year, the community finds itself prayerful, yet very busy.  This season has been especially busy and also the types of activities have been diverse.  Sunday May 4, Fr. James Smith returned to the famous bikers' bar, Cook's Corner (located at the bottom of our driveway) for his 14th year of "Blessing the Bikes." Father started his blessings a little after 7 o'clock in the morning and continued until after 2 in the afternoon.  By spending hours in the sun and blessing hundreds of bikes, Cook's and Fr. James raised needed money for Second Harvest Foodbank of the St.Vincent de Paul Society of Orange County.

Organ Recital with Paul Jacobs

009Later that afternoon, a group of 14 of our confreres went up to the Disney Hall, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, in order to assist organist Paul Jacobs in presenting Bach's monumental Clavier-Übung III.  Mr. Jacobs had asked the abbey choir to sing the chorale melodies of the German Missa Brevis, which Bach used as source material for most of the pieces of this work.  He was particularly interested that music written originally for religious purposes should be sung by a schola that of religious.  Playing the two hour long work without intermission and entirely from memory, Jacobs and the Norbertines received an instant standing ovation from the packed house afterward.  The community is preparing to sing chants from the Missa Requiem before Jacobs, Carl St. Clair and the Pacific Symphony and John Alexander and the Pacific Chorale perform Duruflé's Requiem.
Land Updates


What's happening at our new Abbey site in Silverado Canyon these days?

Following the completion of the staking of the project boundary by our civil engineer we trimmed coastal sage scrub and southern cactus scrub vegetation under the oversight of a professional biological monitor. Our goal was to complete this work prior to the March 15 nesting season. The trimming was completed by February 14, and no California gnatcatchers were observed during this work. In addition, the salvaged cactus pads are now being stored for on-site restoration.

We also recently completed some "stumping" of trees (which takes the tree down to the stump without disturbing the root/soil). Through this process we learned sadly that many of the trees on-site were diseased.

While our approved land use plan called for the entire "orchard" area to be graded, we did modify our plans so that we were able to keep about half (or the central part) of the orchard area.  In addition, we are working hard to nurse back to health several additional avocado trees. We have also been able to retain the jujube and persimmon trees as well as the large sapote tree and the larger walnut and avocado trees near the existing barn. To help ensure the visual barrier to the road, we also are trying to keep all the trees along Silverado Canyon Road.

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