As the featured post above says Br. Aelred Joseph received the novice habit today in a very moving ceremony in the Chapter Room of the Monastery after Lauds. Br. Aelred, who comes to us from Massachusetts by way of New York City was formerly a Franciscan Friar, then a counselor and now a monk to be!
The ceremony is a simple, yet solemn one, in Trappist fashion. The candidate asks to be admitted, the Abbot accepts for the community and then helps him become a ‘new man’ with new monastic clothes symbolic of a new life dedicated to God.
Some ask why in the Chapter Room and not the church? The receiving of a novice is a community function, more than a public function. And the Chapter Room of a monastery is the center of ‘monastic activity’ along with the church and cloister. It is here that monks are received after vows and it is here the business of the monastery is done, including the weekly chapter talk by the Abbot after Lauds on Sundays. The community councils that help the Abbot transact the communities business, also meet in this room.
Pray for Br. Aelred and the community. He is the first new novice since the ‘re-founding’ of Holy Cross Abbey and we expect he will be the first of many. Brother David, currently in his postulancy, will be next with several more men following him.