Hospitality is one of the paramount injunctions of Saint Benedict in his rule for monks. He says that visitors are never lacking so he supplies us with a well choreographed ritual for the reception guests. This included a formal welcoming both physically and spiritually and even included washing the guests’ feet because of the distances they had to travel on dusty roads. Of course that was also a sign of humility because Our Lord’s act of washing the feet of the apostles which was usually relegated to servants. Jesus came to serve and not to be served.
Another of St. Benedict’s directives concerning the guests is that they eat with the abbot, which would necessitate a special kitchen and dining room.
This would free the rest of the community to eat in their own dining room and follow the very detailed prescriptions for dining while listening to the required readings.
Beside praying with the guests and briefly reading from Sacred Scripture for their instruction, the guests were to eat with the superior or a deputed brother, which afforded an opportunity to further inform them of the divine law.
For over 50 years we monks have been receiving guests. They range from the causal and curious visitors to those which chose to spend an extended time of prayer on a retreat. Although we no longer wash the feet of guests, we still seek to share our knowledge and experience of the divine, while humbly offering all the other services of hospitality.
The electronic age has greatly amplified, if not changed, the whole concept of hospitality. As we learn the drawbacks and dangers of the digital age we also stand on the threshold of a revolution in sharing and exploring an increasing number of fields on every level of human existence. And because the human person is inextricably bound with the divine, we are constantly being invited into a deeper union with, and a more fruitful service to, our brothers and sisters who seek entrance into their inner monastery.
So, by means of this website, we monks hope to hold a perpetual "open house" where the dust of your journey may be humbly, but thoroughly, removed and where you may be refreshed and fortified on your spiritual adventure.
Prince of Peace Abbey has been closely involved with Oceanside since it was founded in 1958. It is a Benedictine monastery of 23 monks who live and work on the site high atop Benet Hill. The religious order to which it belongs can be traced back to its founder, Saint Benedict, who was born in 480 AD. All monasteries in the Roman Catholic Church are founded from other monastic houses. Prince of Peace Abbey was founded from a monastery in Southern Indiana, which in turn was founded from one in Switzerland.
The community of men at Prince of Peace Abbey live a life of work and prayer. One of our ministries is to operate a retreat house, conduct days of recollection, give spiritual direction and provide a place of peace for people to come to pray. Our library and gift shop provide books and other spiritual materials to assist guests in their quest for finding the Lord. The abbey fully supports the Magisterium of the Holy Catholic Church and is a member of the Benedictine Swiss-American Federation. We rely on the generous donations of our visitors and retreatants for financial support, since we do not take up a "Sunday collection" at Mass.
Our monastery is not a parish. Baptisms, Confirmations, Weddings and Funerals are performed at one's parish. The priests of the monastery assist the diocesan parishes by offering Masses, hearing Confessions and giving Missions and Days of Recollection to the parishioners. In addition to the above, we have been actively involved in providing assistance to the poor.
The monks, who take a vow of stability, which means that we will be at our monastery until we die, all have various duties which contribute to the maintenance of the 130 acre facility. However, the main purpose of our lives is to pray.
The monastic day begins with daily 4:45 AM rising and 5:30 morning prayer in the abbey church. That is followed by a sung prayer service at 7:00 AM. Breakfast is eaten in silence while the other two meals are accompanied by reading from Sacred Scripture and other edifying literature. Evening prayer daily at 5:00 PM & 8:00 PM. The high point of the day is the sacred liturgy (Mass) at 11:00 AM. On Sundays the Mass is at 10:30 AM. Mass and all the other prayer services are open to the public.
Ground was broken for the abbey church in 1980. On October 21, 1987 the church was dedicated to Our Lady of Einsiedeln (Our Lady of Hermits) . We were given a statue that is a replica of the statue of the black madonna which is housed in our grandmother house at Our Lady of Einsiedeln Abbey in Switzerland. The monks and our guests come to the church to celebrate Holy Mass and to pray the Divine Office.
Over the granite altar hangs the baldachin which represents the presence of God. For all liturgical functions, the monks take their place in the choir stalls to the side of the altar and the guests take their places in the pews. There are two chairs reserved for the main celebrant. The chair to the left of the altar is reserved for the abbot or the bishop. The main altar piece in our abbey church is the icon of Jesus, Prince of Peace, which can be seen in the center of the home page of this website. It is a master work of art done by Fr. Gabriel Chávez de la Mora, OSB. There are many symbols in this icon that are found in the Bible in the Book of the Apocalypse. The icon was completed on the Solemnity of All Saints in 1985.
The sanctuary light emits a red glow indicating the True Presence of Our Lord in the tabernacle. The tabernacle is designed to match the description of the Arc of the Covenant with two angels atop, 12 precious stones embedded on each side representing the 12 tribes of Israel and wooden poles for transport. The tabernacle is covered in gold leaf and is mounted on a granite pillar with a wooden "waterfall of light" streaming down from heaven. The entrance to the chapel is marked by a depiction of the Last Supper.
The statue of Our Lady is located in a side-chapel within the abbey church. Two special stained glass windows let in beautiful blue rays of light. One window is inscribed: " Mater Jesu Maria Virgo" (Mother of Jesus, Virgin Mary). The other window is dedicated to St. Joseph and is inscribed: "S. Joseph o.p.n." (St. Joseph pray for us where o.p.n. = ora pro nobis).
The fourteen Stations of the Cross are located on the walls and pillars of the church. One can quietly walk from station to station mediating on the sufferings of Jesus and end the journey at the foot of the cross. Along the way there are votive candles, one for each apostle, the light of Christ going out to all the world. These candles are lit on each apostle's feast day.
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