New Superior for New Melleray
Ever since the termination of Dom Mark Scott’s term as abbot, the monastery has been operating without a local superior, in what is called sede vacante. The pandemic had prevented the return of Dom Peter McCarthy, our designated Father Immediate, to proceed with the selection of a superior. In the meantime, Fr. Stephen had been delegated by Dom Peter to act locally in his place as superior of the house.
Dom Peter, accompanied by Dom Gerard D’Souza of Genesee Abbey, was able to return for a Pastoral Visit on Monday, October 4th. Since Dom Peter is canonically the local superior, he cannot “visit himself” in the context of a Regular Visitation. Hence, it was a “Pastoral Visit” although it served as a Regular Visitation of the community. For two days, Dom Gerard and Dom Peter met personally with each member of the community, focusing on the question of the suitability of an election at this time and who would be the person most capable of meeting the particular needs of the community at this time as its superior.
There was strong agreement that an election would not be appropriate at this time, and the consultation concerning the person who should be appointed superior led to the selection of Dom Brendan Freeman. He has been appointed superior by Dom Peter after the consultation of all the brothers. He generously consented to assume this responsibility. Since he is still superior of Mellifont Abbey in Ireland, he will have to return there to close that relationship. The appointment will this be effective only on December 1, 2021. As many will remember, Dom Brendan served as our abbot from 1984-2003 when he retired having reached the canonical age limit of 75. We ask prayers for him and for the community as we move into the future God is preparing for us.