Fr. Aquinas professes solemn vows as a monk of Conception Abbey

Fr. Aquinas Keusenkothen, OSB, (center) stands with Abbot Benedict Neenan, OSB, and his father. (photo courtesy of Conception Abbey)

CONCEPTION, Mo. – On the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Saturday, February 2, Fr. Aquinas Keusenkothen, OSB, professed solemn vows as a monk of Conception Abbey in the presence of his family, friends, seminarians, and his monastic confreres.

In the ceremony, Fr. Aquinas made a perpetual commitment to live as a monk of Conception’s monastery, vowing obedience, stability, and conversion of life.

After the proclamation of the Gospel, Prior Br. Anselm Broom, OSB, brought Fr. Aquinas to the altar with hands joined. Abbot Benedict Neenan, OSB, began the rite by calling forth Fr. Aquinas in the name of the whole community. The abbot sang, “Come, my son, hear me. I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” Fr. Aquinas began his intention to profess vows before the Abbot, the community, and before Almighty God.

After the Abbot’s admonition, Fr. Aquinas came forward to profess vows, by reading aloud his profession document and signing it on the Book of the Gospels on the altar.

Fr. Aquinas then signed his profession document. He stood before the altar and prayed, “Suscipe me, Domine, secundum eloquium tuum et vivam, et non confundas me ab expectatione mea” (Psalm 119:116- Receive me, Lord, as you have promised, and I shall live; do not disappoint me in my hope). He sang this prayer three times, each time he was repeated by the solemnly professed members of the monastic community, who then add the doxology. It is a prayer of total surrender and trust in the Lord.

Then, the newly professed lay prostrate on the floor as he was covered with the black funeral pall and the funeral bell tolls, which is symbolic of his death to self and of his former way of life. The entire assembly then prayed together for Fr. Aquinas.

Following the Litany of Saints and Prayer of Consecration, the funeral pall was removed, and Fr. Aquinas stood, receiving new life in Christ. He stood before the Abbot to receive the cuculla, the pleated robe worn by the solemnly professed members. The Abbot and the solemnly professed monks congratulated him with the Kiss of Peace, which seals his permanent fraternity in the community of Conception Abbey.

Fr. Aquinas professed simple vows as a Benedictine monk of Conception Abbey in 2017. He also spent time at the monastery in the 1990s. After leaving in the mid-1990s, he joined the Claretian Missionaries in Chicago, Illinois, where he was ordained a priest in 2003 and served parishes in Jamaica. After his work in Jamaica, he chose to once again discern a monastic vocation, leading him back to Conception.

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July 16, 2019
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph