Cling to Jesus – Br. James Koester

Br. James Koester,

Ordination to the Priesthood of Brother Keith Nelson SSJE

John 10:11-18

I don’t know much about sheep, but I do know a thing or two about geese. Some of you will remember that for several years we had a small flock of geese at Emery House. I was the one behind that particular acquisition, and while they gave me enormous amounts of joy, not all the Brothers were equally enraptured with them. More than one guest needed to be rescued from their cars, when the geese, thinking these strangers were interlopers, hissed every time they tried to get out. A few Brothers reported they had literally been goosed when they got too close to them.

But their behaviour was completely different around me. Hatched in Oklahoma, they were immediately boxed up and shipped to West Newbury the same day. Forty-eight hours later a call from the West Newbury post office came announcing their arrival. Within half an hour of the call, I had them in the back of the car. We chatted, or at least I did, on the drive home. Every time I went up to the coop, I talked to them, until the day came when they were large enough to be let out to free range. That’s when the fun really began. It didn’t matter where I was, or what I was doing, if they heard my voice, or if I called to them from another part of the property, they raced to greet me, with great flapping of wings and loud honks. They’d even wander down to the house looking for me, and one day interrupted the Eucharist with their honking, when they recognized my voice through the open window. If I was working in the garden, I’d have to put them in the coop, because they would snuggle up to me, preventing me from doing whatever I was doing. Read More

Progress to God – Br. James Koester

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Ordination of Luke Ditewig SSJE to the priesthood
John 10:11-18

I want first to begin by acknowledging those of you who have joined us today online. We Brothers are delighted to share this important day in the life of our community with you. We are of course, sorry that you cannot be with us here in person. It should go without saying, but I will say it anyway because it is important, we long for the day when it will be possible for you to be here in this chapel with us. Please know that we pray for you often. Your physical absence from our life of worship is a tremendous loss for us. We pray that the day when we can once again open our chapel doors to you, will come soon.

There are two people whom I particularly want to say how sorry we are that you cannot be with us today, and on Tuesday when Luke presides at the Eucharist for the first time, and that’s Luke’s Mum and Dad, Sandy, and Bill. After having watched Luke come to this point in his life, not to be here with him, is I am sure a great sadness. I hope that being here, if only virtually, is some consolation.

I also want to extend our gratitude to you Bishop Alan, for the care you have taken to enable this ordination to take place. Those watching online will note that we are all taking care to keep our distance from one another. That is not an indication of our regard for you. Rather the opposite! Please know how grateful we are, for the steps you have taken this past week to assure our mutual safety. Read More