By Kaelanne Jordan, firstname.lastname@example.org
This Christmas will be the first Abbot John Pereira OSB will celebrate without his Brothers at Mount St Benedict. He told Catholic News though he is “saddened” by this, he believes “God knows best”. “I suppose they’re pulling their weight,” he said in lighthearted tone of his Brothers at the Mount.
Abbot Pereira has remained in touch with his fellow monks since his hospitalisation last September at the Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Rome for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) of the left leg. In his absence Br Paschal Jordan OSB, the Prior assumed leadership.
He shared that last Tuesday was a day of “recollection” at the Mount when the monks were “shut-off” from their normal day-to-day activities. Abbot Pereira explained, “every Advent, we put aside a few days before Christmas…a day for prayer and reflection to focus on the upcoming celebration of Christmas”.
Commenting on his health, Abbot Pereira, who is due for surgery in January assured that he is feeling “quite well”. He mentioned that a doctor’s appointment was scheduled for last Tuesday.
“I’m more feeling at home here in the monastery, celebrating Mass with my brothers….[But] I look forward to being back,” he said.
Abbot Pereira concelebrated Mass with Pope Francis on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12. He described it as a “beautiful and uplifting” experience as it was also the thirty-first anniversary of his monastic profession. “Our Lady of Guadalupe has accompanied me quietly along my journey as a monk,” he said.
He shared that the crux of the Pope’s message invited faithful to walk closely with God’s people and in song in one’s hearts and lips as Mary did. “Walk and sing was his message,” Abbot Pereira added.
Abbot Pereira noted that there were many concelebrating priests, several from Latin America. There was also a group of 100 pilgrims from Mexico to celebrate their patronal Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe with the Pope.
“The focus on the manger is a major aspect of Christmas here in Rome. There is even in the Vatican an exhibition of mangers from many parts of the world. The emphasis here is on the universal nature of the Church,” he said.