The Abbot’s Reception Day

Posted by on Feb 18, 2009 | No Comments

February 18, 2009 was a pleasant day in the midst of a winter that was exceptionally severe. The public reception of our newly elected Abbot Denis Quinkert was celebrated with priests of the diocese, sisters from the various orders with whom our community has worked, parishioners from the places where Abbot Denis was stationed, and friends and associates of one kind or another.

They were all able to arrive here and leave after lunch without any worry about road conditions or another impending blizzard. The Lord blessed the day. Bishop Paul Swain of Sioux Falls, shown here holding the paten, preached on the occasion. He and Abbot Denis are what were at one time called “delayed vocations to the priesthood.” Bishop Swain had been a lawyer and Abbot Denis a brother for many years. They both attended Pope John XXIII Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts.

We chose to call the event a reception because Abbot Denis had already been the recipient of the blessing for an abbot in 1986 when he became our third abbot. Now he is our fifth abbot. Recently his portrait has been hung alongside those of our previous abbots. His older portrait is still present and it is noticeable that he has aged since then. Abbots will probably agree that the aging process becomes more pronounced after a monk has been elected to that office. St. Benedict had words regarding an abbot’s role in the community. “He must know what a difficult and demanding burden he has undertaken: directing souls and serving a variety of temperaments, coaxing, reproving and encouraging them as appropriate.”

Sister Joann Quinkert, a member of the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, was able to attend her brother’s reception. Ginny Cheek, an oblate of our community from Sioux Falls by way of Honolulu, honored Abbot Denis with a lei made by herself.