Palm Sunday

Many blessings to all of you on one of the holiest weeks in the Church.
View our Palm Sunday video by clicking on the photo or by visiting us on facebook!

Tower Topics Spring 2011 Now Online!

The Spring 2011 issue of Tower Topics is currently in the final stages of the printing process, but you can get a jump start on reading the new issue by clicking on the photo below!


Rose Cope for Laetare Sunday

‎4th Sunday of Lent - Father of peace, we are joyful in your Word, your Son Jesus Christ, who reconciles us to you. Let us hasten to our Easter with the eagerness of faith and love. We ask this through Christ our Lord. We are now half way through Lent, to see more pictures of the Rose Cope worn for Laetare Sunday click on the photo or click here.

Welcome Bishop John Brungardt!

His Excellency, Bishop John Brungardt of the Diocese of Dodge City, was the presider at Eucharist on Wednesday, March 30. He is the new bishop of Dodge City and came to Conception to visit his seminarians studying in our college. Welcome Bishop John Brungardt!

To see more pictures from Bishop Brungardt's visit click on the picture or click here.


107 Candidates Receive the Sacrament of Confirmation


Conception Abbey welcomed 107 confirmation candidates and their families Sunday, March 27, 2011 to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Bishop Robert W. Finn confirmed the 107 candidates that were from 5 different parishes in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese – St. Gregory Barbarigo in Maryville, St. Columba in Conception Jct., St. Peter’s in Stanberry, St. Joseph’s in Parnell, and St. Patrick’s in Ford City. The position of pastor in each of these parishes if filled by the Benedictine monks of Conception Abbey including: Fr. Martin, Fr. Allan, Fr. Aidan, and Fr. Sebastian. Congratultions to all the candidates!

To veiw more pictures from the Confirmation Ceremony click the photo above or click here.

"Damien" The Play Performed by Mr. Reid Sasser

A special thank you to The American Showcase Theatre Company and Mr. Reid Sasser for his performace as St. Damien in the play "Damien" by Aldyth Morris, Sunday, March 27, 2011. The very engaging one man play was well received by all, Bravo!

To view pictures from Mr. Sasser's performace click on the photo below or click here.


The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord


Friday, March 25 is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. God our Father, your Word became man and was born of the Virgin Mary. May we become more like Jesus Christ, whom we acknowledge as our redeemer, God and man. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
To view photos of the Annunciation Mass click here.

The Solemnity of the Transitus of our Holy Father St. Benedict


Monday, March 21 is the Solemnity of the Transitus of our Holy Father St. Benedict. God our Father, you made Saint Benedict an outstanding guide to teach men how to live in your service. Grant that by preferring your love to everything else. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

To view pictures from the Transitus Mass click here.

Welcome Bishop William Dendinger!

Saturday, March 19 CSC alumnus, His Excellency, Bishop William Dendinger
from the Diocese of Grand Island, was the presider at Eucharist for the Solemnity of St. Joseph. The bishop was here for the seminary's board of regents.

Solemnity of Saint Joseph


Saturday, March 19 was the Solemnity of Saint Joseph - Father, you entrusted our Savior to the care of Saint Joseph. By the help of his prayers may your Church continue to serve its Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Welcome Bishop Richard Pates!

On Friday, March 18 his Excellency, Bishop Richard Pates, of the Diocese of
Des Moines, was the presider at Eucharist. He is the newest member of our seminary board of regents.

Seminary Board of Regents


Friday and Saturday, March 18-19 we welcomed our Board of Regents to Conception. This event is a meeting of the governing board of Conception Seminary College, consisting in the Bishops of the Dioceses that the school represents, priests, religious,and lay members of various disciplines, that discusses current and future development of Seminary business and formation.

To view more pictures from our Spring 2011 Seminary Board of Regents click on the picture above or click here.

Ash Wednesday

Lord, protect us in our struggle against evil. As we begin the discipline of Lent, make this season holy by our self-denial. May the light of Your truth bestow sight to the darkness of our sinful eyes and our repentance bring us the blessing of Your forgiveness and the gift of new life. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

To view pictures from our 2011 Ash Wednesday services, click on the picture above or click here.

Feast of St. Scholastica

The Benedictine Sisters of Clyde joined us 1st for Vespers of their patron, St. Scholastica and then for a banquet meal in their honor. To see pictures from the Sisters visit in our Picture Gallery click here or to see the pictures and read comments from our friends on facebook click here.

What does the Mass mean to a non-catholic?

One man answered that question after attending noon Mass here at Conception Abbey. Mr. Tim Suttle wrote an article about his visit that has now been picked up by various media outlets. An excerpt of the article and a link to the full story can be found below.


                                               An Evangelical Goes to Mass
                                                                                                        By: Tim Suttle

"Roman Catholic mass can be a stolid exercise, perhaps even more so during Midday Mass at Conception Abbey in rural Nodaway County, Missouri. Walking up the steps of the basilica I'm braced by the cold -- there's a foot of snow on the ground and the wind is whipping. I enter the building through great wooden doors to the sanctuary. Cast in subdued light, I'm hit with the warmth of the room. The smell of incense is immediate; the sacred space a menagerie of images.

Built in 1883, the abbey church is a basilica, a status granted only to churches of major importance in the regional life of Catholicism. There are paintings on every surface, and statues or columns in every sight-line. The Beuronese murals which line the top of each wall tell the story of God. Dipping my fingers in the basin at the back of the church, I cross myself and bow to the altar. There are several dozen people already seated, scattered about. While the organist quietly plays a prelude we kneel and pray, awaiting the procession."

To read the rest of the story click here or visit

A New Year's Tradition

In keeping with tradition Abbot Gregory joined the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, MO on January 1, 2011 for New Year’s Day Eucharist and dinner.

During his visit Abbot Gregory presented the Sisters with copies of the new "Revised Grail Psalms." Having received approval from Vatican officials and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the "Revised Grail Psalms" is now in publication at The Conception Abbey Printery House.

For more information or to order copies click here or call (800) 322-2737.
To read the Clyde Sisters account of their New Year's Day visit with Abbot Gregory click here.











Local Paper Highlights a Piece of Abbey History

The local newspaper, The Maryville Daily Forum, recently featured a story about a piece of Abbey History. On Thanksgiving Day in 1946, Conception Abbey received a visit from the Empress Zita - empress of Austria and queen of Hungary. She presented the Abbey with a gift, a small yet elegant rosary, still on display here at Conception Abbey. To read the complete story click on the picture below.

Jan, 1, 2011: Happy New Year and Feast of Mary, Mother of God

The Monks of Conception Abbey wish you a Happy Feast of Mary, Mother of God and a New Year filled with God's richest blessings

Merry Christmas

Christmas Blessings to you

From the Monks of Conception Abbey

For more Christmas Pictures, please click here

Engelberg Abbey Elects New Abbot

Saturday, November 27, 2010 Engelberg Abbey in Switzerland elected Father Christian Meyer,O.S.B. as their new abbot.  Abbot Christian is the 59th abbot of Engelberg Abbey, which dates back to 1120 and founded Conception Abbey in 1873.  The 43-year-old Abbot Christian was born in Basel, Switzerland, and served as pastor of the parish at Engelberg and professor of theology in the Abbey prep school.  Congratulations and many blessings to Abbot Christian!

Conception Abbey Celebrates Jubilarians

Conception Abbey has six monks celebrating their jubilees this year: Fr. Anthony Shidler - 70 years professed, Br. Blaise Bonderer, Fr. Quentin Kathol, Fr. Allan Stetz, and Fr. Isaac True all 50 years professed and Fr. Timothy Schoen - 25 years professed.  Congratulations!

Click on the pictures below to read individual stories on the monks celebrating their jubilee anniversaries this year.


Fr. Anthony Shidler

 Br. Blaise Bonderer Fr. Quentin Kathol

Fr. Allan Stetz Fr. Isaac True Fr. Timothy Schoen

New Campus Signs Installed

Campus Signs Give Guests New Direction

Earlier this week signs were placed at various location all over campus to clearly mark the buildings and help guests and seminarians alike get where they need to go.  The timing was rather fortuitous since new seminarians arrived on Wednesday.  Even though returning seminarians give them 'the grand tour,' it will be an easier adjustment for them to arrive to their destination on time.  Punctuality is a treasured monastic virtue.

Recognitio Received From Rome, Revised Grail Psalter Approved

King DavidBy Jarrod Thome, Director of Communications
Edited by Br. Jude Person, O.S.B.

On Friday, 9 April 2010, the Most Rev. Arthur J. Serratelli, Bishop of Paterson, NJ, and Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, informed the bishops of the United States that The Revised Grail Psalms had received an official recognitio from the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. This final approval, dated 19 March 2010, makes The Revised Grail Psalms the official English-language liturgical Psalter for the United States. These Psalm texts will thus be the ones used in all future editions of liturgical books published for the United States, and, as it happens, for most other English-language countries as well. In his letter Bishop Serratelli expressed his gratitude for this work undertaken by the monks of Conception Abbey under the direction of Abbot Gregory J. Polan, O.S.B., producing this translation which is to play such an important part in the liturgy in years to come.

This revision of the 1963 Grail Psalms was undertaken by the monks of Conception at the request of the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy (now the Committee on Divine Worship). In a process taking over ten years to complete, the Grail Psalms were revised (and re-translated where necessary), bringing them in line with up-to-date principles of Scripture scholarship, matters of authentic translation and requirements for appropriate rendering for liturgical use. Of particular concern was that this new version of the Psalms meet the requirements established in Liturgiam Authenticam, the 2001 Instruction issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments enunciating principles for preparing translations of liturgical texts.


Without question, the Psalms are one of the most treasured components of Sacred Scripture. They voice our longing for the Infinite and resonate with the broad range of emotions that flow through our lives. As such, they have for ages been at the heart of Judeo-Christian worship—including the liturgical prayer that has been engaged by the Order of Saint Benedict for over fifteen centuries. Widely recognized as the father of western monasticism, Saint Benedict exhorted his followers to live by the motto ora et labora (“prayer and work”). In his Rule for Monks, he makes clear that the Psalms are an essential element of the ora of monastic life. To this day, Benedictines carry on the tradition of their founder, and the Order is well known for its dedication to the liturgy. It should be no surprise, then, that when the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship wanted a new translation of the Psalms, they approached a Benedictine monk to undertake this most important work. This monk was Abbot Gregory Polan of Conception Abbey, and his task was to revise the 1963 Grail Psalter.

What are the Grail Psalms?

In the years leading up to Vatican II, when the liturgy was still in Latin, moves were being made to foster greater participation on the part of the laity. Permission was granted to sing the Psalm responses of the Mass in the vernacular. Jesuit Father Joseph Gelineau prepared a French translation of the Psalms with a rhythm well suited to oral recitation and chant. In response to his work, a community of lay women in England formed a secular institute called The Grail which undertook an English translation of Fr. Gelineau’s work. Scholars and musicians worked on the project, and through the 1950s their work was released in a series of books, each containing the translations of a few Psalms. The full version of all 150 Psalms was finally released in 1963.

Just like their French predecessors, the 1963 Grail Psalms in English proved to be very well suited to choral recitation, singing and chanting. The Grail translation was soon incorporated into the English edition of the Liturgy of the Hours. Eventually, three other English versions of the Psalter were approved for use in the lectionary: those of the New American Bible, the Revised Standard Version, and the Jerusalem Bible.

Why was a new translation needed?

The 1963 Grail Psalms provided a comfortable transition from Latin to English; the translation was clear and easily understood, the text had a straightforward poetic rhythm and the Psalms could be recited and sung with ease. These qualities had been important objectives for the Ladies of the Grail when they had set about their work. While the 1963 Grail Psalter was highly suc­cess­ful in this regard, however, the decision to adhere to a specific rhythmic pattern had led them in places to paraphrase the original Hebrew rather than render a precise translation of the source texts. Since Vatican II, the Church has insisted that authenticity in translation requires accuracy.

Secondly, since the 1950s, when most of these Psalms were composed, much has happened in the area of biblical scholarship to enable us to understand better both the structure of Hebrew poetry and some of the more problematic texts. This scholarship makes a more accurate translation possible.

Additionally, and perhaps most significant for the Catholic in the pews, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in the instruction Liturgiam Authenticam (2001), mandates that a single consistent translation be used in all forms of the liturgy, which is currently not the case. Catholics will now hear the same version of the Psalms at Mass, in the Liturgy of the Hours, and in the texts for all books of the sacraments. Anywhere a Psalm is found in the liturgy here in the U.S. (and in most other English-speaking countries as well), it will be from the Grail Psalter as revised by the Benedictine monks of Conception Abbey.

Some History of the Project

Why were the monks of Conception chosen to bring this work to fruition? The mere fact that Conception Abbey is a Benedictine monastery is a primary reason. But it was the particular combination of scholarly pursuits engaged by Abbot Gregory Polan that had prompted the initial request in June of 1998 from the U.S. Bishops Committee on the Liturgy (now the Committee on Divine Worship), and for the same reason he remained the obvious choice.

Abbot Gregory is first and foremost monk and abbot of Conception Abbey, and thus responsible for the spiritual and temporal welfare of his community. But he also has formal training as both a Scripture scholar and musician. He had translated a section of the Book of Isaiah for the Revised New American Bible, so the staff at the Bishops’ Conference, having been apprised of his musical background, recognized that his particular combination of talents suited him well to undertake the revision, such that the resulting text would retain those qualities that had made it so suitable for choral recitation, singing and chanting.

Abbot Gregory enlisted the help of other monks of Conception Abbey. After four years an initial draft was completed and brought before the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship in November 2002. It was there approved to undergo the rigorous process that would deem it an acceptable translation. The full assembly of the USCCB approved the use of The Revised Grail Psalms on 11 November 2008, in a vote of 203-5. The text was then sent off to the Vatican for final approval.

Until now, much of this has been old news as the Church has anxiously awaited the recognitio from Rome approving The Revised Grail Psalms. On Easter Monday, Msgr. Anthony Sherman, Executive Director of the Secretariat of Divine Worship, informed Abbot Gregory of the good news that the recognitio had been granted. Basking in the joyous light of Easter, the Church has yet another reason to let ‘Alleluia!’ resound.

What does this mean for the Church?

For Conception Abbey, the production of The Revised Grail Psalms is another response to the needs of the Church, in a manner that resonates directly with St. Benedict’s words “Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus” – “That in all things God may be glorified.” For the Faithful who attend any liturgy in English, The Revised Grail Psalms means consistency in what they’ll hear. For musicians and those who use the Psalms for choral recitation or chanting, it means a translation well suited to these uses while retaining integrity of translation. All in all, the consistency and fidelity to the ancient texts of the Psalms means that the Revised Grail Psalter will help promote a more effective, unified liturgy and catechesis.

As faithful souls glorify God with every utterance of these sacred verses, may the merits of this work reciprocate abundant blessings upon them and upon the Church.

To learn more about Conception Abbey, visit
To pre-order a copy of the Revised Grail Psalter when it becomes available, go to Conception Abbey’s Printery House website:

The copyright for The Revised Grail Psalms is held jointly by Conception Abbey and The Grail (England). GIA Publications serves as the international literary agent for this new version of The Grail Psalms.

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