Homily for the Mass celebrating the Anniversary of the Dedication of the monastic church of Mount Saint Joseph Abbey – August 9th 2020

There is an architectural saying made popular in the 1950’s, “form follows function.” What we do in a building determines the form or shape of the building. Then the building in turn forms us. When we worship as a community in our monastic church, we are being formed into the body of Christ on earth.

Each building has a purpose related to some aspect of our life Home is where we live and love, schools are where we learn, hospitals are where we are healed.

We have two separate realities here: a church building and a living community of monks. The two are evidently very different yet, St. Paul unites them when he says, “you are God’s building 1 Cor. 3:9. He then extends the metaphor by saying that each of us can build in different materials yet all have the same cornerstone, Jesus Christ.

We’re like a jigsaw puzzle. If there is a missing piece you will notice the piece that is missing. We’re all important…everyone is needed. In the body of Christ everyone matters.

The roots of our worship in this holy place go back to our founders from Mount Melleray, and Melleray in France, to Citeaux and Molesme, to Monte Cassino, to John Cassian to the cenobitic tradition of Pachomius and the eremitical tradition of Anthony the Great in the deserts of Egypt, Back to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, whose worship of the Father by his life, death, resurrection and ascension is the source of our ability to worship in spirit and truth.

We are celebrating two events today. One is the dedication of our Abbey Church in 1884: the other is the founding of our community 142 years ago. Both are about a place-a place to live and a place to worship.

On behalf of our community present here today, I express our gratitude to those founders and successors and ask their intercession that we may also be worshippers in spirit and truth.