St. Gabriel Update and News from the Monastery
By early June 2020 the construction of St. Gabriel's Monastery has progressed to the end of Phase One – that is to say, the basic shell of the monastery has been completed. This means that the foundations, the floor slab, the walls, the roof with its shingles and the windows have been completed. We are very happy with this state of affairs – it looks impressive on the outside or from the air! Inside, however, it looks like a forest of two-by-fours, for only the raw framing of the many rooms has taken place. Most of the interior work still lies ahead of us: electricity, plugs and lighting, heating, plumbing, water, fire-security, etc.
It's too early to predict an occupancy date for us priests and brothers in the new monastery, but the birds are already nesting in the rafters and eves! It's really quite biblical! "How lovely your dwelling, O LORD of hosts! …. As the sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest to settle her young, My home is by your altars, LORD of hosts, my king and my God! Happy are those who dwell in your house!" (Ps 84:1-5). The reference, of course, is to the birds nesting in the eaves of the temple in Jerusalem; the Jewish pilgrims, arriving at Jerusalem only for a short visit, would see them and 'envy' the birds' permanent dwelling so close to God!
Speaking of the 'temple', our main chapel, we are waiting for the first sketches for the interior decoration of the chapel, whose main image, of course will be the Annunciation! What other motif could we have for the chapel at St. Gabriel's Monastery?! May God also sketch the perfect receptivity Mary to God's holy and salvific will upon our souls too!
Br. Wolfgang – during his recent home vacation in southern Germany this past July – visited the Grassmayr Bell Foundry near Innsbruck, Austria where we are ordering four bells for the bell tower. The largest will bear the name "TRINITY", with the legend, "I believe in God the Father, His only-begotten Son and the Holy Spirit". The second bell will be called, "ANNUNCIATION" with the legend: "Behold the Handmaid of the Lord! … And the Word was made flesh!" The Third bell will be dedicated to ST. GABRIEL pronouncing his magnificent "Ave Maria, gratia plena." He is also the titular patron of the Monastery. The fourth bell will be dedicated to St. JOSEPH, our great provider, protector and defender.
Church bells are not merely an ornament or a nice-sounding instrument; they are a powerful sacramental. When a new church bell is installed it is traditionally "dedicated" through a blessing from the Roman Ritual. Here a few excerpts from the Church's prayer which expresses the spiritual power the bells possess after the dedication:
God, who decreed through blessed Moses, your servant and lawgiver, that silver trumpets should be made and be sounded at the time of sacrifice, in order to remind the people by their clear tones to prepare for Your worship and to assemble for its celebration. … Let the people's faith and piety wax stronger whenever they hear its melodious peals. At its sound let all evil spirits be driven afar; let thunder and lightning, hail and storm be banished; let the power of your hand put down the evil powers of the air, causing them to tremble at the sound of this bell, and to flee at the sight of the holy cross engraved thereon. … when the peal of this bell resounds in the clouds may a legion of angels stand watch over the assembly of your Church, the first-fruits of the faithful, and afford your ever-abiding protection to them in body and spirit. …
The bell tower is half built, but cannot be completed without the bells! If you are interested to sponsor a bell, please contact Fr. Wolfgang.