our funeral rituals at saint
Meinrad remind us, and signal to
the world, that God’s grace abounds.
When a monk dies, time and humanity come along for the ride. The
abbey church bells that order our
lives—announcing each hour and
rousing us from sleep or work to
prayer five times a day—toll once
for each year the deceased was
professed. At the same large wooden
doors of the monastery that open to
receive the novice at the beginning
of his monastic journey, the community gathers to receive his body and
As human beings we
love to judge one
another and ourselves.
We who see dimly forget
that God judges because
he alone sees all.
accompany it into the church.
While the community chants the
office of the Dead and later celebrates the funeral liturgy, the simple
wooden casket rests between the
two sets of choir stalls. it is literally
before our eyes and in the same spot
where our voices blend each day to
become one in glorifying God.
The evening before the funeral,
the body rests in the church near the
relics of the saints for public viewing. Members of the monastic community and relatives and friends of
the monk quietly gather to pray and
offer hospitality to one another.
The remembrances and homi-lies his brothers deliver during the
funeral celebrations are breathtakingly honest, humorous, and heart-warming without being sentimental.
strengths and weaknesses are men-
THE MEMBERS of
St. Meinrad Archabbey file into the
cemetery to bid a
final farewell to one
of their brothers.