Archbishop Keiran O’Reilly, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, conferred an abbatial blessing on the new Abbot of Glenstal Abbey, Father Brendan Coffey OSB, at a Mass in the abbey church on Saturday last. Abbot Coffey was elected as Abbot of Glenstal twelve weeks ago, though the solemn Rite of Blessing of an Abbot was deferred until renovations on the abbey church were completed.
The Glenstal community was joined on the day by twenty-five abbots, abbesses, monks and nuns from Benedictine, Cistercian and Poor Clare monasteries in Ireland and abroad including the Abbot President of the congregation, Abbot Ansgar Schmidt OSB from Trier, Germany, and the Abbot of the monastery that founded Glenstal, P. Abbé Bernard Lorent OSB from Maredsous, Belgium.
Along with Archbishop O’Reilly and Abbot Coffey, the Mass was concelebrated by retired Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dr Dermot Clifford; and the retired Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Willie Walsh, who ordained Abbot Brendan priest in 1995; as well as Bishop John Fleming of Killala, Bishop Brendan Kelly of Achonry and Bishop Fintan Monahan of Killaloe. The Church of Ireland Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe, Bishop Kenneth Kearon, was also present on the day.
Following the Gospel, Abbot Coffey was escorted to the archbishop for the blessing by his two immediate predecessors as abbots at Glenstal, Fr Christopher Dillon OSB and Fr Mark Patrick Hederman OSB. The Prior of the monastery, Fr Senan Furlong OSB, then formally presented the Abbot to the Archbishop and asked him to confer the blessing.
In his homily, Archbishop O’Reilly said “We are truly blessed in this diocese to have a community devoted to the Office and the Sacred Scriptures. When I came to this archdiocese I stated that I would like to broaden the biblical apostolate here and it is with this in mind that I invite you, Abbot Brendan, and your community, with the priests and people of the archdiocese, to undertake with me a journey of discovery and rediscovery of the Sacred Scriptures.”
Just before the end of Mass, Abbot Brendan addressed the congregation. Asking for their prayers that he might be a good abbot, he cited St Bernard’s advice to new abbots – “Notice everything. Turn a blind eye to some things. Correct a little. Cherish the brethren.”
For more information on Glenstal Abbey visit http://www.glenstal.org/.