Oct 15 – A New Prior

Fr. David Bock was named our prior today. Fr. Mark made the announcement at the conclusion of our Sunday Chapter. Fr. David succeeds Fr. Jonah Wharff who faithfully served us for the past eight years. Fr. Jonah has been the leadership bridge during our transition from Dom Brendan Freeman’s 30-year tenure as abbot through Dom Mark’s election and his first three years as our superior.

It is a fairly common practice for monastic communities to reassign the prior’s office at regular intervals. Shortly after being elected our abbot Fr. Mark declared his intention to name a new prior at the mid-point of his term. This past August marked that point. Fr. Mark consulted the abbot’s council and invited the full community to share our thoughts regarding which member of the community might be the best fit for taking up the responsibilities of the office of prior. After a long period of deliberation Fr. Mark asked Fr. David to take on this service and he accepted the responsibility.

We are grateful for Fr. Jonah’s service. He will continue to serve our community and our guests as Guest Master, Retreat Master, and spiritual director.

In addition to his new responsibilities as prior, Fr. David will continue to serve us as sub-cantor, infirmarian, cook, librarian, and member of the Vocations Team. He will no longer serve as a member of the Formation Council. Another member of the community will be appointed to fill that vacated seat.

from The Rule of St. Benedict
Chapter 65: The Prior of the Monastery

But if local conditions call for it, or the community makes reasonable and humble request, and the abbot judges it best, then let him, with the advice of God-fearing brothers, choose the man he wants and himself make him his prior. The prior for his part is to carry out respectfully what his abbot assigns to him, and do nothing contrary to the abbot’s wishes or arrangements, because the more he is set above the rest, the more he should be concerned to keep what the rule commands. 

from Constitutions and Statutes of the Monks and Nuns of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance:
C.35: Brothers in charge of Offices 

The abbot selects suitable assistants for the various offices of the monastery. With the advice of God-fearing brothers he appoints as prior, master of novices, cellarer and the other officials those with whom he can safely share his burdens.