Saint Anselm Abbey Hosts its Annual Holy Week Retreat

By Brother Francis R. McCarty, O.S.B. | March 31, 2018

2018 Retreatant Photo
2018 Holy Week Retreatants pictured with Bishop Joseph and Father Cecil

Twenty-five Saint Anselm College students and alumni have joined the monastic community during Holy Week for the annual Saint Anselm Abbey Triduum Retreat. Beginning on Wednesday afternoon of Holy Week until Easter Sunday, March 28 through April 1, these men are joining the monks for prayer, meals in the monastic refectory, work, and recreation.

The retreatants are following the daily monastic schedule which includes praying the Liturgy of the Hours, attending the Eucharist, participating in manual labor, and spending some time of relaxation with the monastic community. In addition, several monks are offering conferences focused on the history, significance, and liturgical meaning of the sacred days of Holy Week to help the retreatants gain a deeper appreciation for the great feast of Easter, as well as for the observance of monastic life at Saint Anselm Abbey. During the liturgies, the retreatants are assisting the monks as altar servers, singers, lectors, and ushers.

“Holy week at Saint Anselm Abbey is the greatest blessing during the final days of Lent,” reflected Andrew Cilento ’18 “It is about a more perfect union with Christ, and sharing the joy of the Eucharist, the sorrow of His Passion and the glory of His resurrection. Being able to live with the monks and live as the monks do adds even more beauty to this week. In the silence of the abbey, Christ makes Himself known to us in an intimate way.”

“Going on retreat during Holy Week in the monastery gave me the opportunity to enter deeper into the Paschal Mystery,” says Brother Titus Phelan, n.O.S.B.’12 “I was able to understand and appreciate more fully the meaning of the liturgies. These brief weekends throughout my time as a student and as an alumnus of the College gave me a chance to see if the monastic life was something I wanted to pursue further.”

"We are always very pleased to welcome guests during this most sacred time of the Church year," stated Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B.’71 "In past years, our guests have been most enthusiastic in response to their experience here, and it has always been a special time of the year for the monks as well, as we welcome to the monastery and our celebrations, so many individuals who are most serious about their commitment to the faith."

All members of the public are welcome to join the monastic community in celebrating Holy Week and Easter:


Holy Thursday: Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper - 4:30 p.m.

Good Friday: Commemoration of the Lord's Passion - 3 p.m.

Holy Saturday: Easter Vigil - 10 p.m.

Easter Sunday: Mass of Easter Day - 11 a.m.