Celebrating 50 Years: Week 29

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Did you know that the priests and seminarians at St. Michael's practice abstinence every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, year round?

Lent is known by the faithful as a time to give up things, do penance and give alms.  Yet the traditional practices of fasting and abstinence from meat carry over into the abbey's practice even during the year.  At the abbey, meat is abstained from every Friday of the year and this is still encouraged for all the faithful, even though it has been ignored much in the last 40 years.  In addition, the community at St. Michael's abstains from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the year. This is an ancient custom in monastic orders and something that has been preserved at the abbey.

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Celebrating 50 Years: Week 27

St._Evermode_halfSt. Evermode - February 17th

St. Evermode was born in the Belgian province of Henegouwen around 1100.  After hearing St. Norbert preach he was so struck by the personality and words of this man that he joined him in 1120, becoming one of his most loyal disciples.  He followed him to Magdeburg and was present when Norbert transformed the collegiate chapel there into a community of the Order.  Evermode was present at the deathbed of St. Norbert and took care to see that he was buried in the church of the Norbertine monastery of Our Lady in Magdeburg.  He is often depicted in paintings weeping, for Norbert's death was very hard on him.  He became a bishop and wisely reigned over the diocese of Ratzeburg from 1153 until his death in 1178.  He was buried in the presbytery of the Romanesque cathedral of Ratzeburg.  Pope Benedict XIII confirmed his cult on January 22, 1728.

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Celebrating 50 Years: Week 28

100217012Q: Where do the ashes of come from?

A: Each year, at the onset of Holy Week, the Church celebrates Palm Sunday - and palm branches are blessed for the faithful to carry in procession before the Mass, commemorating the triumphal entrance of Christ into Jerusalem before His Passion.  These palms are kept, and on Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday) they are burnt down to ashes, which are the ashes used to sign people's foreheads at Mass at the beginning of Lent.  Thus, the very matter that brings one Lenten season to completion one year is used to open Lent the next year.

 

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Celebrating 50 Years: Week 26

Blessed_Hugh_halfBlessed Hugh of Fosses - February 10th

Blessed Hugh was born in Fosses-la-Ville toward the end of the 11th century; he became a cleric of the collegiate  chapter of his hometown and later a court chaplain of Burchard, bishop of Cambrai.  Hugh met St. Norbert in Valenciennes on March 26, 1119 and was so taken with his apostolic way of life that he decided to join him and thus became his first disciple.  He was the first prior of the young community Norbert had founded and was really his "right hand man." After Norbert was appointed archbishop of Magdeburg in 1126, the confreres at Prémontré elected Hugh (at Norbert's suggestion) to be the first abbot of Prémontré.  He built the abbey church and the monastery and was an essential part of unifying the Order in the years after its foundation.  He called the superiors of the various houses to a meeting out of which the General Chapter developed.  He also compiled the first book of ceremonies with the liturgical directives of the Order, and it is likely that he authored the ancient account of St. Norbert known today as "Vita Norberti B."  Thanks to Hugh's vision and prudence, an organizational structure was created that made it possible for the Order to last for centuries.  He is honored as the first Abbot General of the Order.

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