Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Adventures on the Holy Hill: My Summer at Saint Meinrad

Living in a seminary building with nineteen other completely random college students, having a monk as your boss, and gaining the rare skill of sleeping through the 5:30am toll of the Archabbey bells. This is only a little of what I experienced over six weeks as a college intern for Saint Meinrad’s One Bread, One Cup Liturgical Leadership Conferences. I not only worked a lot, but I learned a lot this year as an intern for OBOC—so much so that writing a simple blog post almost seems insufficient. But, here it goes!

Quite a few people have been wondering exactly what I did for six weeks on the Holy Hill. Well, while it’s hard to explain, it is at least worthy of an attempt. Essentially, myself along with nineteen other college students from across the country spent six weeks together running three youth conferences that teach youth to become leaders in the Church and empower them to live out what they learn on the Hill. The conferences are made up of what I see to be three key components: Liturgical Formation, Theological Reflection, and Catechesis. In Liturgical Formation, the youth gain skills necessary to become leaders in several areas, including topics such as Proclamation of the Word, Chant for the Liturgy of the Hours, Liturgical Arts, and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, among several others. These classes are taught by interns, monks, seminarians, or other guest catechists. In Theological Reflection, the youth are led by an intern who helps them reflect on the activities on the day, and discover how God is working in their lives. Finally, there is catechesis. OBOC is based upon the “Word, Sacrament, Mission” model. In other words, the youth are taught how they encounter the Word of God, they discover what a Sacrament is and why we have them, and finally learn the importance of spreading the Gospel. In addition, there are also catechetical sessions on topics such as Lectio Divina.

All of this happens specifically during the conferences. On the “off weeks,” the interns are in the classroom learning about several different topics. The topics I learned about included Benedictine Values, Spirituality, Boundaries, Theological Reflection, Lectio Divina, and Benedictine Integration, among several others. To put it simply, when the interns aren’t working the conferences, they are busy gaining the wisdom and formation that comes with the rich history of the Benedictine tradition.

One valuable lesson that I learned this summer is that we as a Church need to put more trust in our youth. They know more than we think they do! I always hear people saying that the youth are the future of our Church. In my opinion, that is wrong, because the youth ARE the Church. They are an integral part of the Body of Christ, and my experiences at OBOC can do nothing but prove this point.

In all, thanks to Saint Meinrad and OBOC, I’ve had a summer full of fun, memories, prayer, and blessings!

For more information on One Bread, One Cup, visit

(Photo:  Louisville seminarian Tony Cecil is on the far right.  With him are a conference participant, Novice Anushka and Br. John Mark Falkenhain, OSB.  Photo courtesy of St. Meinrad)


Andrea B said...

This is excellent! I was an OBOC intern for three years from 2004-2006, and I'm happy to know that the Spirit is still alive. I miss the Hill often, and as I get older, I realize how much impact it has on my current theology and spirituality. Thanks for sharing!

Steve said...

Thanks for the update, my seminarian brother. It sounds like it was a great experience!

Mary Grace said...

Great post, Tony! Thank you for so eloquently sharing the good work of OBOC and the Internship.

Mary Grace said...
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Mary Grace said...

Here's the website for One Bread, One Cup: