On Friday, March 21, the students and faculty of Saint Benedict Academy traveled to Saint Anselm College to celebrate the Feast of the Passing of Saint Benedict. The students were pleased to be welcomed by Saint Raphael Pastor, Father Jerome Day, O.S.B., and the Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Manchester, Father John Fortin, O.S.B.
The students had special seating close to the choir and watched the beautiful procession of the monastic community entering the sanctuary from the Abbey. Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B. was the principal celebrant and recognized the students from the Academy and congratulated us on the occasion of our 125th Jubilee – a momentous anniversary that coincides with the 125th anniversary of Saint Anselm College.
During the homily, students learned about the life of Saint Benedict – how after studying in Rome he spent years living as a hermit before establishing a monastic community at Monte Cassino. Saint Benedict led this community as their abbot and also wrote the Rule of Saint Benedict – a beautiful text that serves as the guiding principles for monastic life. Indeed, Saint Benedict Academy’s theme for 2013-2014 – “Let all guests who arrive be received as Christ” – is taken from this Rule. Students then heard of the moment of Saint Benedict’s passing and how members of his community saw the road to Heaven – a passage resplendent with glittering light – open up for Saint Benedict to walk upon as he was received into the splendor of eternal life with Christ.
After Communion, the students of Saint Benedict Academy sung “The Servant Song” as a Eucharistic Meditation for the monastic community and the Saint Anselm college administrators, faculty, and students who were in attendance at this afternoon’s Mass.
At the conclusion of the Mass, Mr. McLaughlin made a presentation to Abbot Mark and the monastic community.
In celebration of the 125th Jubilee of Saint Benedict Academy, the school presented an embroidered stole to Saint Anselm Abbey to be placed in the care of the pastor of Saint Raphael Parish. The vestment is green and will be worn during Ordinary Time. The image on the vestment is the medallion of Saint Benedict and is encircled by the Prayer of Saint Benedict.
We pray that when the celebrant of our weekly school Mass wears this vestment, it will remind students and faculty of the contributions of the monastic community throughout the history of our school. We also pray that the students and alumni of Saint Benedict Academy, Westside Regional Catholic, Saint Raphael School, and Saint Anselm College will be remembered during the celebration of the Mass.