Sent to Serve
Pastoral ministry flows naturally out of a monastic life dedicated to worship and work because it is grounded in living and proclaiming the Gospel. One of the motivations for founding a Benedictine monastery in central Minnesota in 1856 was to attend to the spiritual and educational needs of the many German immigrants who were arriving here with their own American Dream. From the first days and weeks of the arrival of a founding group of monks from Saint Vincent's Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, monks visited these developing communities to receive support and offer sacramental ministry. In time, Benedictine monks would be instrumental in founding dozens of parishes throughout the State of Minnesota and beyond state boundaries. That involvement would extend into parochial schools, missions to Native Americans, and to medical and social agencies.
Saint John's continues that tradition of pastoral ministry with the same spirit of dedication today. The Benedictine monks of Saint John's currently are responsible for 12 parishes in communities surrounding the monastery. Monks also serve as chaplains in hospitals and retirement centers in the area, as well as Minneapolis and San Bernardino, California. Additionally, monks offer ministry of word and sacrament as requested to women's religious communities, a local prison, the county jail, to other parishes in need of Sunday celebrants, and to a Hispanic community in North Minneapolis.
This ministry has proven mutually beneficial for Saint John's and the communities served by Benedictine monks. It was the seedbed of many vocations to the monastery, and for students to Saint John's Preparatory School and Saint John's University. It has enriched the community with a depth of human experience, ministerial care, and religious devotion of lay Catholics, relayed back by the monastery's pastors and chaplains. It is both grounding within the local Church and an opportunity to serve others in proclaiming the gospel.