Ciferni


Global Seminar Program Examines Norbertine Roots

March 8, 2018

The group is pictured in front of the ruins of Prémontré.

The group is pictured in front of the ruins of Prémontré.

Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem. (left), joined Fr. Andrew Ciferni, O. Praem. (right), and eight St. Norbert College students in France as part of the college’s Global Seminar Program offered during the 2018 J[anuary]-term.

In Laon, the group visited the cathedral church and the ancient abbey of St. Martin—both places that influenced and later were influenced by the life and teaching of St. Norbert. It was Bishop Bartholomew of Laon that helped St. Norbert establish the original Norbertine community in Prémontré.

After visiting Prémontré, the group spent a week at Mondaye Abbey (founded in 1202)—living, eating, and praying with French Norbertine confreres. The students also studied the vita aposolica (Acts of the Apostles), The Rule of St. Augustine, the Life of St. Norbert, and the Constitutions of the Order.

The group also had the opportunity to visit the D-Day Beaches, Mont St. Michel, and historic and beautiful sites of Paris.

Heart & Soul: College of Chaplains Returns to Campus, St. Norbert College Parish

As seen in the Fall/Winter 2017 issue of Abbey Magazine (page 6)

By Gina Sanders Larsen and Judy Turba

(L-R) Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem., Fr. Andrew Ciferni, O. Praem., and Fr. Jay Fostner, O. Praem., are part of the College of Chaplains at St. Norbert College.

(L-R) Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem., Fr. Andrew Ciferni, O. Praem., and Fr. Jay Fostner, O. Praem., are part of the College of Chaplains at St. Norbert College.

The College of Chaplains at St. Norbert College (SNC) was reestablished in late 2016 after several years of relying on one or two ordained Norbertines to lead the campus parish, St. Norbert College Parish. According to Fr. Jay Fostner, O. Praem., Ph.D., vice president for mission and student affairs at SNC, the College of Chaplains affords many more ordained Norbertines the opportunity to participate in the liturgical life of campus while they simultaneously fulfill their regular full-time duties as teachers, students, professors, priest celebrants, administrators, chaplains, and parish priests. “Years ago, students saw a lot more white robes on campus than in recent times. In a sense, the reintroduction of the College of Chaplains is a revival of that tradition.”

To reinstitute the College of Chaplains, permanent Deacon Kevin DeCleene was named full-time pastoral leader of St. Norbert College Parish last fall. He reports to Fr. Fostner, priest moderator. The two men coordinate the participation of several ordained Norbertines in the lives of yearround and student parish members. Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem., and Fr. Andrew Ciferni, O. Praem., will be most active in the College of Chaplains, and are assisted by other Norbertine priests. Together with the five-member staff of the SNC Emmaus Center for Spiritual Life and Vocation, “we’ve already begun to experience renewed energy from Kevin’s enthusiastic leadership. Between the many Norbertines on campus and our talented 70-member staff in the entire division of mission and student affairs, there is such diversity of voices and personalities,” Fr. Fostner said.

St. Norbert College Parish exists to serve the spiritual and liturgical needs of the college’s 2700 students, faculty, and staff, the majority of whom are Catholic. In addition, the parish boasts approximately 415 households in year-round membership. “Our goal is to ensure the college feeds the parish and the parish feeds the college,” Fr. Fostner said. “The plan is working.”

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International Meeting Fosters Associate Ties

Numerous statues line the world-famous Charles Bridge in Prague, including St. Norbert (center), St. Wenceslas (“Good King Wenceslas”), and St. Sigismund (Martyr and Duke of Burgundy). Standing below are St. Norbert Abbey’s Norbertine Associate representatives (left to right): Mike Hermans, Marlene Mapes, Sue Pankratz, and Mike Pankratz.

Numerous statues line the world-famous Charles Bridge in Prague, including St. Norbert (center), St. Wenceslas (“Good King Wenceslas”), and St. Sigismund (Martyr and Duke of Burgundy). Standing below are St. Norbert Abbey’s Norbertine Associate representatives (left to right): Mike Hermans, Marlene Mapes, Sue Pankratz, and Mike Pankratz.

In July 2015, four Norbertine Associates from St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere, Wisconsin, joined nearly 50 other Norbertine Associates at the third Norbertine Associate international meeting held at Teplá Abbey in the Czech Republic. The focus of the conference was to learn about Norbertine history and present-day efforts to follow St. Norbert’s work to share Christ’s message with the world.

In a setting filled with rich Norbertine history, they covered topics that included Conversion (Fr. Ambrose Samal, O. Praem., Strahov Abbey, Prague), the Year of Consecrated Life (Abbot General Thomas Handgrätinger, O. Praem.), and Evangelization – Pope Francis’ letter, “The Joy of the Gospel” (Fr. Joseph Serano, O. Praem., Daylesford Abbey, Pennsylvania).

There was plenty of time to contemplate the messages of these presentations. Many insights were gained, as well as the opportunity to pray with and learn from fellow associates from across North America and Europe. While their goals may be the same, the needs of different areas of the world demand different approaches. St. Norbert Abbey’s Norbertine Associates returned home with new ideas and new enthusiasm for assisting their own Norbertine community.

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