New Abbot for Holy Cross Monastery

BERRYVILLE — Father Robert Barnes, O.C.S.O., became Holy Cross Monastery's fifth abbot during the 900th anniversary year of the founding of the Cistercian Order in France. Elected by his fellow professed monks on Aug. 10, Father Barnes was installed by Abbott Damian Carr of St. Joseph’s Abbey near Spencer, Mass., from which the local abbey was founded in 1950. The community currently has 27 monks, 13 of whom are priests. A member of the order for more than 35 years, Father Barnes received the abatial blessing on Sept. 30 by Bishop Joseph Grossman of Raleigh, N.C. One Holy Cross brother had mentioned earlier that they especially enjoyed Bishop Grossman’s visits because he works with them in the bakery. There they turn out famous fruitcakes, the sales of which provide the monks’ main source of financial sustenance. Since 1989, Father Barnes had been responsible for running the bakery. "The Scripture selected [for today] offers a vantage point," said Bishop Grossman. He also spoke of "passages found in the book of lectionary for special occasions," and the "demand and expectation of sacred text." He asked God’s help for Father Barnes to successfully fulfill the challenge He was bestowing on the new abbot. About 100 men and women religious and lay friends came to the ceremony. Msgr. James McMurtrie, Arlington diocesan administrator, was in attendance, as were several diocesan priests from Arlington and Wheeling, WV, and from the archdiocese of Washington. The first reading, Proverbs 2:1-9, read by Abbess Kathy de Vico of Redwoods Monastery in Whitethorn, Calif., was on acquiring wisdom. "The humble shall hear and be glad," refrained the responsorial psalm, based on Psalm 33. The second reading, from the first letter of Peter, 5:1-4, read by Brother Benedict Simmonds of Holy Cross Abbey, was on advice to presbyters. The Gospel, proclaimed by Abbott Carr, was Luke 22:24-27, spoke of the apostles arguing over which of them was the greatest. Jesus’ answer to them regarding the role of disciples was a reminder that it is really not the question, explained Bishop Grossman. "To fulfill the office with faithfulness, generosity, and especially with constancy," is the purpose of the position, said Bishop Grossman. During the distribution of Holy Communion, "Lord of All Hopefullness" was dually sung by Father James and Madeline MacNeil, a professional musician, friend and neighbor of the Abbey. Born in Baltimore on Jan. 5, 1942, Abbot Barnes entered Holy Cross Abbey in 1961, made his final solemn profession of vows on Aug. 15, 1966, and was ordained to the priesthood in May 19, 1970. Having prepared for the priesthood at St. Charles Seminary in Catonsville, Md., he studied theology at Catholic University in Washington, and subsequently received a Master’s degree in pastoral counseling at Loyola College in Baltimore. Father Barnes had served his community as prior (assistant to the abbot) from 1977-81 and from 1986-89. "I request and lay on you this responsibility; that you continue to hold us in your hearts in prayer, " said Father Barnes to those gathered in the chapel after receiving his abbatial blessing. Copyright ?1998 Arlington Catholic Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.

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