Three monks celebrate ordination Jubilees

May 27, 2018

Three monks of Mount Angel Abbey celebrated their ordination Jubilees with their monastic community, family and friends on Sunday, May 27, at the Abbey church.

In the photo at left, Fr. Pius X Harding, O.S.B., 25 years, Abbot Peter Eberle, O.S.B., 50 years, and Fr. Aelred Yockey, O.S.B., 25 years, celebrated the anniversary of their ordinations during the Mass of Trinity Sunday, with Abbot Peter as the main celebrant and Fr. Pius as homilist.

During his homily, Fr. Pius (noted the awesome mystery of today’s feast, Trinity Sunday, and its connection with the priestly vocation. In today’s solemnity, “we celebrate the unfolding of the mysterious inner life of God…a boundless love given and received in the intimacy of Father, Son and Holy Spirit…a love given to us in the life of grace.” The priest is the manifestation and expression of this love on earth, “a servant of the unfolding of the Mystery of God’s love.” He becomes the instrument of God’s revelation through blessing, anointing, forgiveness, and total identification with the God revealed through His Son.)

The three Jubilarians have filled various roles in the community. Abbot Peter is currently the Director of Human Formation at Mount Angel Seminary, having previously served the community of Mount Angel as abbot from 1988 to 1997, and then served the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation as Abbot-President from 1999 to 2011. Abbot Peter earned a doctoral degree in Moral Theology in 1979 from the Alphonsian in Rome. He was born and raised in the town of Mt. Angel, just below the Abbey hilltop, and a number of his relatives preceded him in the Benedictine religious community.

Fr. Pius currently serves as the Guest Master of the Saint Benedict Guesthouse and Retreat Center and is the Director of the extensive Oblate program associated with the Abbey. He made his Solemn Profession in the community of Mount Angel in September 1991, while Abbot Peter was abbot of the community. Prior to serving as Guest Master, Fr. Pius was the Manager of the Benedictine Press (now closed). 

Fr. Aelred came to Mount Angel Abbey in the spring of 2002 where he now serves in Mount Angel Seminary as a Spiritual Director and is an Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies. Fr. Aelred is also Chaplain of Providence Benedictine Nursing Center in Mt. Angel. Prior to coming to Mount Angel, he was ordained while a member of the Benedictine community of Corpus Christi Abbey in Corpus Christi, Texas. As that Abbey was closing, Fr. Aelred had the opportunity to visit Mount Angel and found the community a match for his vision of the monastic life and a place where he could make a good contribution.

Following the Mass, (there was a short reception in the dining room of the seminary’s Aquinas Hall where family, friends, and monks gathered to congratulate and celebrate with the three jubilarians. With a total of 100 years of priestly ordination among the three, all who greeted them were gracious and enjoyed the German delicacies and large cakes prepared by the kitchen staff. The monastic community will celebrate later in the evening with a buffet haustus, a typical celebration for the Swiss-American monks.)

Mount Angel Abbey was founded in 1882 by a small group of Benedictine monks from Engelberg, Switzerland. They settled near the town of Mount Angel and opened Mount Angel Seminary in 1889, which is now the oldest and largest Catholic seminary in the western United States. The monks of Mount Angel Abbey follow the Rule of St. Benedict in a life of prayer and work.