In eastern Ohio, the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross and the Sisters of the Holy Cross are building a house of Adoration and prayer for priests. This will serve as home-base for both communities, where they pray and intercede for the Church and direct the Opus Angelorum apostolate. From there they will also go out to serve in missions, retreats and family apostolates. The project includes the National Opus Angelorum Center, a center of spiritual instruction, Adoration and prayer for priests–open for all who wish to come.
The holy angels are powerful spirits present among us, “sent to serve those who are to inherit salvation” (Heb 1:14). “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life” (CCC 336). Most Catholics know little about the holy angels except for the prayer, Angel of God, My Guardian Dear. Yet how much more progress we could make in our spiritual life if we looked more often to him who was given to us specifically as a “shepherd leading [us] to life”!
In an address to American pilgrims on October 3, 1958, Pope Pius XII reminded them that our lives are surrounded by the holy angels: “Each one of us, even the poorest of the poor, has angels watching over him. The angels are glorious, pure and splendid, but they have been given to us as companions along the way of life. They have the task of watching over you all, so that you do not stray away from Christ, your Lord.”
At the end of the audience he admonished the faithful: “Have a familiar relationship with the angels, whose constant care is directed towards your salvation and holiness. God willing, you will spend an eternity of joy with the angels; learn to get to know them now!”
Pope John Paul II gave six Catechesis on the angels at St. Peter’s Square in Rome. In his second talk he stated: “The Church believes that she renders a great service to man when she proposes sincerely the totality of the truth about God, the Creator, and also about the angels” (General Audience, August 6, 1986).
Through retreats and parish missions, the priests of the Opus Angelorum lead the faithful to a more conscious collaboration with the holy angels in daily life for their own personal sanctification, the salvation of souls and the sanctification of priests.
Although the Order and the Sisters of the Holy Cross have had a presence in the United States since 1979 through Opus Angelorum missions and retreats, community life for the Priests was first established at a parish in Detroit in 1995. A group of the Sisters came over to help the Priests with the growing apostolate in 1999. The Order purchased a property in the Diocese of Steubenville and moved to temporary housing in 2015.
Phase 1 (already complete thanks to your generous help!) was the renovation of the future guest house and the addition of a small Chapel. The Priests and Brothers currently live here until their new Monastery can be built.
Phase 2 (complete!) entailed the Sisters’ Convent, with space for 12 Sisters and 2 guests, and all the necessary rooms for community life.
Phase 3 (in progress) consists in a new Monastery complex for the Priests and Brothers. This development offers the possibility to observe their religious life with greater regularity and fidelity to its contemplative spirit while also enabling them to better accommodate guests and provide external ministries.
Phase 4 of the St. Gabriel Building Project is to build a larger Chapel along with the National Opus Angelorum Center: a center of spiritual instruction, Adoration and prayer for priests – open for all who wish to come.
By early June 2020 the construction of St. Gabriel’s Monastery has progressed to the end of Phase One – that is to say, the basic shell of the monastery has been completed. This means that the foundations, the floor slab, the walls, the roof with its shingles and the windows have been completed. We are very happy with this state of affairs – it looks impressive on the outside or from the air! Inside, however, it looks like a forest of two-by-fours, for only the raw framing of the many rooms has taken place. Most of the interior work still lies ahead of us: electricity, plugs and lighting, heating, plumbing, water, fire-security, etc.
It’s too early to predict an occupancy date for us priests and brothers in the new monastery, but the birds are already nesting in the rafters and eves! It’s really quite biblical! “How lovely your dwelling, O LORD of hosts! …. As the sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest to settle her young, My home is by your altars, LORD of hosts, my king and my God! Happy are those who dwell in your house!” (Ps 84:1-5). The reference, of course, is to the birds nesting in the eaves of the temple in Jerusalem; the Jewish pilgrims, arriving at Jerusalem only for a short visit, would see them and ‘envy’ the birds’ permanent dwelling so close to God!
Speaking of the ‘temple’, our main chapel, we are waiting for the first sketches for the interior decoration of the chapel, whose main image, of course will be the Annunciation! What other motif could we have for the chapel at St. Gabriel’s Monastery?! May God also sketch the perfect receptivity Mary to God’s holy and salvific will upon our souls too!
Br. Wolfgang – during his recent home vacation in southern Germany this past July – visited the Grassmayr Bell Foundry near Innsbruck, Austria where we are ordering four bells for the bell tower. The largest will bear the name “TRINITY”, with the legend, “I believe in God the Father, His only-begotten Son and the Holy Spirit”. The second bell will be called, “ANNUNCIATION” with the legend: “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord! … And the Word was made flesh!” The Third bell will be dedicated to ST. GABRIEL pronouncing his magnificent “Ave Maria, gratia plena.” He is also the titular patron of the Monastery. The fourth bell will be dedicated to St. JOSEPH, our great provider, protector and defender.
Church bells are not merely an ornament or a nice-sounding instrument; they are a powerful sacramental. When a new church bell is installed it is traditionally “dedicated” through a blessing from the Roman Ritual. Here a few excerpts from the Church’s prayer which expresses the spiritual power the bells possess after the dedication:
God, who decreed through blessed Moses, your servant and lawgiver, that silver trumpets should be made and be sounded at the time of sacrifice, in order to remind the people by their clear tones to prepare for Your worship and to assemble for its celebration. … Let the people’s faith and piety wax stronger whenever they hear its melodious peals. At its sound let all evil spirits be driven afar; let thunder and lightning, hail and storm be banished; let the power of your hand put down the evil powers of the air, causing them to tremble at the sound of this bell, and to flee at the sight of the holy cross engraved thereon. … when the peal of this bell resounds in the clouds may a legion of angels stand watch over the assembly of your Church, the first-fruits of the faithful, and afford your ever-abiding protection to them in body and spirit. …
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Read the following endorsement from the Most Reverend Jeffrey M. Monforton, Bishop of Steubenville:
Our communities, the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross and the Sisters of the Holy Cross, ask for your prayers and donations for the future home of the Work of the Holy Angels in Carrollton, Ohio.
Click below to donate today! Please consider also monthly donations – a small amount every month adds up to a large, tax-deductible donation at the end of the year!
All donations are tax-deductible: 501(c)(3).