The monks of St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman recently welcomed hundreds of friends to campus to celebrate Benefactors Day. Benefactors Day, which is celebrated each year on the fourth Monday in September, honors the many benefactors and supporters of St. Bernard.
Joining the guests for the festivities were the students, parents and faculty of St. Bernard Preparatory School. The homilist for the celebratory Mass was the Most Rev. David R. Choby, DD., JCL, Bishop of Nashville, who spoke before a capacity crowd.
Bishop Choby said, “The historical connection between St. Bernard Abbey and the Diocese of Nashville runs long and deep. Like the monks who founded St. Bernard, so other monks from St. Vincent Archabbey of Latrobe, PA, established parishes thirty years prior in the Nashville Diocese to minister to German immigrants.”
“St. Bernard is a favorite place of our Nashville Seminarians…perhaps too much,” joked Bishop Choby as he thanked Abbot Cletus and the monks for their hospitality each August when the seminarians from the Diocese of Nashville make their annual retreat at the Abbey.
Quoting from Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Choby reminded the congregation that “the Church is forever young…. This place of St. Bernard is a living testimony to the church. Those who have gone before us left a legacy which so many have benefitted from in its missions and in its spirit. And so it continues today.”
At the end of the service, Abbot Cletus thanked everyone for being a part of the life of St. Bernard. He reminded them that “without your support and participation, there would be no St. Bernard. Each day we prayerfully remember you and all our benefactors who make it possible for us to continue the many ministries of this Abbey.”
Concelebrating with Bishop Choby, who was the main celebrant for the Mass, were: Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, Bishop David Foley – Bishop Emeritus of Birmingham, Abbot Cletus E. Meagher, O.S.B., Abbot (ret) Victor Clark, O.S.B., priests from the Birmingham and Nashville dioceses and priests of St. Bernard Abbey.
Rebecca Whited was the organist for the Mass. The monastic schola was directed by Fr. Joel Martin, O.S.B. Additional music was provided by the St. Bernard Choral Music Department under the direction of Mr. Rodney Fike.
After the ceremonies, everyone enjoyed the social festivities held on the lawn outside the Church while the St. Bernard Jazz Ensemble provided entertainment. The day concluded with lunch, prepared by the Flik Independent Dining Service and served in the St. Bernard Dining Hall.