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Junior Monks Visit The Vatican

July 26, 2017

Chip Underhill
Communications and Marketing
(603) 641-7326 (Desk)

Novice Brothers Ignatius and FrancisTwo new members of Saint Anselm Abbey traveled to the Vatican, as an important step in their monastic formation. 

Brothers Francis McCarty and Ignatius Membrino recently visited Rome, Italy to attend the International Benedictine Juniorate Congress. Both men have professed temporary vows as monks of Saint Anselm Abbey, and are beginning the Juniorate phase of their monastic life, in which they embrace the Benedictine vows: obedience, stability, and fidelity to monastic life.

They were among 30 monks in temporary vows at the International Benedictine Juniorate Congress. Brother Francis describes the event as an opportunity to build fraternal experiences with colleagues from Brazil, South Korea, France, Austria, Hungary and Israel amongst others.

"Just being there was wonderful; however, it was particularly special to pray the rosary before Mass in Saint Peter's Square with 3,000 people, and then have Mass celebrated by Pope Francis for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul," he said. " That was very moving and a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

He also describes another significant aspect of the Mass, in which Archbishops received the pallium, a woolen vestment placed over their shoulders symbolizing their unity with Pope Francis, the successor of Saint Peter.

Time was saved for travel in and around Rome, including a stop at Saint Peter's Basilica (Pictured: Brother Ignatius, left, and Brother Francis, right). Conference attendees also visited the Benedictine Holy sites of Montecassino and Subiaco.

Brother Ignatius says, "Every Benedictine monastery, including Saint Anselm Abbey, originates from Montecassino, the mother house of the whole Order; it was a privilege to visit such an important place." He adds, "Visiting Saint Peter's Basilica was a highlight of the trip. We also visited the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome, a church which has significance for me because it contains relics of my patron saint, Saint Ignatius of Antioch."

The trip to the Juniorate Congress (which is conducted every four years) is part of monastic formation and customary for new monks on their journey with Saint Anselm Abbey.

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