Dear Members of the Lay Order,
With the new year of 2023 we mourn the loss of a truly fine Shepherd of the flock, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. He was a great spiritual guide, an inspiring teacher, a very insightful author, and an example of humble service to the Church. He has handed on to us an important legacy. He began his episcopal service as archbishop of Munich and Freising in 1977, but his gifts were needed by the universal church. Pope St. John Paul II called him to head the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1981, a post he held for most of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate. He had to deal with very difficult problems in the Church regarding teaching and discipline. He served with intelligence and fidelity to the Church and her teaching. In spite of criticisms from certain parties, he was sensitive to the needs of those in difficulties, but always sought the greater good of the universal Church in making decisions.
As a teacher, Pope Benedict demonstrated his love for the truth. His episcopal motto “Cooperatores veritatis” (III John 8), was manifested in his speeches, encyclicals, and books. He always sought to proclaim the truth, “in season and out of season”. His audiences on lives of great saints, Fathers, and Doctors of the Church brought to light the shining examples of faith and reason that have graced the Church over the centuries. It is an invitation to us to read the works of these holy men and women who have helped shape the Church’s teaching since the beginning.
In the sacred liturgy, the Holy Father emphasized the “hermeneutic of continuity”. This phrase means that how we interpret the Bible and other Church teachings, including the Documents of Vatican II, must be in “continuity” with past teachings. He opposed this continuity with a “hermeneutic of rupture”, which maintains that the post-Vatican II liturgy and teachings are a break from past rituals and teachings. In order to bring that message home to Catholics, the Holy Father wrote the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum. By this document he permitted and expansion of the use of the 1962 Roman Missal and named it the “extraordinary form”. By this act he hoped that the two forms would influence each other for the enrichment of the sacred liturgy. His motive, again, was for the good of the Church, and many Catholics are grateful to him for this gesture.
Let us pray that the teaching and example of Pope Benedict XVI will continue to guide the Church. Let us pray for the happy repose of his soul and look forward to his eventual beatification.
May the angels lead him to paradise.
A blessed and prosperous New Year to you and your families.
Fr. Hildebrand Garceau, O. Praem.
Monthly Meeting – Sunday, January 15
12:30 p.m. – Potluck lunch
2:00 p.m. – Affiliate 1st Year Formation Meeting – “The Holy Eucharist II”
3:00 p.m. – Novitiate 2nd Year Formation Meeting – “The Devout Life II”
3:00 p.m. – Professed meeting in the conference center
For information or if you have questions, please email LayOrder@StMichaelsAbbey.com