Bishop Gracida as a Monk: “That life was a balance of private prayer, contemplation, reading… a monastic brewery… chanting of the Divine Office was the highlight of every day”

Bishop Rene Henry Gracida’s 100th birthday is coming up on June 9 so I started reading his autobiography in preparation for the great day. Here’s a glimpse of his life as a monk:

For the monks living at the monastery life was pretty much the same as life in European monasteries.  Even though drawn to duties in the College or Seminary every day, most monks were able to live a typical monastic life in the monastery.  That life was a balance of private prayer, contemplation, reading, study and participation in the daily ordo or schedule of the monastery.

That schedule began with the tolling of the great bell in the bell tower in the center of the monastic complex.  It would ring out every morning at 4:40 AM.  After hearing that bell for ten years it became part of my very being and to this day I wake up every morning at 4:40 AM even though I am over a thousand miles away from that bell tower and cannot hear the bell.  The monks then had twenty minutes to wash, get dressed in their habits, the simple habit on ordinary days or additionally the cuculla on feast days, and hasten to the monastic choir.

On reaching the choir each monk would go to his assigned choir-stall and spend some time in silent private prayer.  When the whole community has assembled, the Archabbot would rap on his choir-stall, rise and begin the recitation or chanting of the Divine Office.  On ordinary days the monks would recite the Office, on feasts and solemnities the monks would chant the office.  With the help of a monk (a different monk was designated  hebdomodarius for a week) and he would lead the choir in the recitation or chanting of the Office with the help of the Chant Master, who would keep the chant on tone, and cantors who would chant various parts of the Office.

After praying Matins, Prime and Lauds the monks would participate in the daily Conventual Mass and then go to breakfast.  After breakfast each monk would go about performing their proper personal duties of private prayer or work.  At noon the monks would reassemble in choir and pray Terce, Sext and Nones and then go to the refectory for lunch.

After lunch again the monks would scatter and go about their daily duties.  At 4:00 PM the monks would assemble in the recreation room of the Abbey and participate in a German custom of haustis.  Haustis was an hour of relaxation, conversation, socializing over a mug of beer and a sandwich.  From the beginning Boniface Wimmer had extablished a monastic brewery and continued the Bavarian custom of brewing and consuming one mug of beer at haustis.  In addition, the monks sold beer by the barrel to many of the German immigrant communities in Western Pennsylvania.  Bishop O’Connor, Bishop of Pittsburgh, tried to stop Saint Vincent from selling its brewing and selling its beer, but the Archabbey appealed to the Holy See and won the right to continue such a long-standing German tradition.

At 5:00 PM the great bell would summon the monks back to choir where they would recite or chant vespers.  Vespers was followed by dinner and dinner was followed by recreation, usually out doors if the weather allowed.  At 8:00 PM the great bell would summon the monks back to choir where they would recite Compline (night prayer) receive the Archabbots blessing and retire for the night in silence.  The great silence of the monastery was not as strick as in Cistercian and other monasteries, but it was observed.

For me the praying of the Divine Office in choir was the heart of monastic life.  I had fallen in love with Gregorian Chant at an early age  and to participate in the recitation or chanting of the Divine Office was the highlight of every day for me. (An Ordinary’s Not So Ordinary Life, Page 41-43) 

Pray an Our Father now for reparation for the sins committed because of Francis’s Amoris Laetitia.

Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Church as well as the Triumph of the Kingdom of the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Stop for a moment of silence, ask Jesus Christ what He wants you to do now and next. In this silence remember God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost – Three Divine Persons yet One God, has an ordered universe where you can know truth and falsehood as well as never forget that He wants you to have eternal happiness with Him as his son or daughter by grace. Make this a practice. By doing this you are doing more good than reading anything here or anywhere else on the Internet.

Francis Notes:

– Doctor of the Church St. Francis de Sales totally confirmed beyond any doubt the possibility of a heretical pope and what must be done by the Church in such a situation:

“[T]he Pope… WHEN he is EXPLICITLY a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church MUST either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See.”
(The Catholic Controversy, by St. Francis de Sales, Pages 305-306)

Saint Robert Bellarmine, also, said “the Pope heretic is not deposed ipso facto, but must be declared deposed by the Church.”

– “If Francis is a Heretic, What should Canonically happen to him?”:

– “Could Francis be a Antipope even though the Majority of Cardinals claim he is Pope?”:

– If Francis betrays Benedict XVI & the”Roman Rite Communities” like he betrayed the Chinese Catholics we must respond like St. Athanasius, the Saintly English Bishop Robert Grosseteste & “Eminent Canonists and Theologians” by “Resist[ing]” him: 

 –  LifeSiteNews, “Confusion explodes as Pope Francis throws magisterial weight behind communion for adulterers,” December 4, 2017:

The AAS guidelines explicitly allows “sexually active adulterous couples facing ‘complex circumstances’ to ‘access the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.'”

–  On February 2018, in Rorate Caeli, Catholic theologian Dr. John Lamont:

“The AAS statement… establishes that Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia has affirmed propositions that are heretical in the strict sense.”

– On December 2, 2017, Bishop Rene Gracida:

“Francis’ heterodoxy is now official. He has published his letter to the Argentina bishops in Acta Apostlica Series making those letters magisterial documents.”

Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Church by the bishops by the grace of God.

Election Notes: 

– Intel Cryptanalyst-Mathematician on Biden Steal: “212Million Registered Voters & 66.2% Voting,140.344 M Voted…Trump got 74 M, that leaves only 66.344 M for Biden” []

– Will US be Venezuela?: Ex-CIA Official told Epoch Times “Chávez started to Focus on [Smartmatic] Voting Machines to Ensure Victory as early as 2003”:

– Tucker Carlson’s Conservatism Inc. Biden Steal Betrayal is explained by “One of the Greatest Columns ever Written” according to Rush:

– A Hour which will Live in Infamy: 10:01pm November 3, 2020:

What is needed right now to save America from those who would destroy our God given rights is to pray at home or in church and if called to even go to outdoor prayer rallies in every town and city across the United States for God to pour out His grace on our country to save us from those who would use a Reichstag Fire-like incident to destroy our civil liberties. [Is the DC Capitol Incident Comparable to the Nazi Reichstag Fire Incident where the German People Lost their Civil 

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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