Click here for homily given by Fr. Stan.
Each year we celebrate the anniversary of the founding of Mepkin in 1949 and the Dedication of the House for the Church of Mepkin in 1993 on the Sunday closest to November 14.
We begin by donning our cowls and cloaks and processing into church as a community – from the youngest to the oldest by seniority in the community. We bow before the altar, go up and kiss the altar and then proceed to our places to begin First Vespers of the Feast on Saturday evening.
After Vespers we, and our retreatants, proceed to the Clare Boothe Luce Library and are the first people to officially go through the Crèche Exhibit. What a joy this always is!
We begin Sunday Eucharist out in our cemetery — so as to include all of the Brothers who have lived and died here as members of the Mepkin ecclesiola, or Little Church. Each grave is sprinkled with holy water and then incensed by the abbot, wearing the golden chasuble made especially for our original Dedication in 1993. At each grave the abbot says the name of the Brother, bringing his memory and presence before all gathered to celebrate. This liturgy never ceases to move each of us and bonds us more deeply to this sacred place called Mepkin.
Opening Remarks at the Cemetery
My brothers and sisters, I wish you JOY NEVER ENDING as we enjoy this beautiful sunny morning in the place we call home. 68 years ago 29 monks left Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky to found this monastery of Our Lady of Mepkin. They discovered in this place a true paradise on earth – but one that needed hard tending in order for it to survive and flourish. Indeed, there were three waves of founders, 1949, 1952 and 1955, and without each one Mepkin would not be what it is today. We still have among us one of these founders: Brother Joseph. Speak to him today. Listen to his stories. For they are OUR stories.
But these graves also have their stories – and to honor them is to come into communion with them and to hear again in our hearts why we ourselves are here. So I urge you today to spend some time in this cemetery as well. Talk to these brothers, hear again the stories they have to share with us – and if you did not know them, ask someone who has. Each one of them is a vital part of Mepkin. All together, they and us — we form the monastic church of Mepkin. Each one of us is a precious stone in this building that is God’s house of prayer. Let us honor them and honor ourselves as well. By doing so we honor the God who has chosen us and called us and continues to guide and sustain us on our journey to life, to love and to peace and reconciliation.