52nd ANNUAL FALL FESTIVAL
Volume 53, Issue 1
A Letter From The Abbot
Abbot Michael Liebl, O.S.B.
Abbey Bits and Pieces
A Letter From The President
Abbot Raphael Walsh O.S.B.
Class of 2011
Fall Sports Schedules
Disney Recording Artists Jump5
The Mount Michael Fall Festival will be held Sunday, September 16 from 11 a.m. page 7
to 7 p.m.. As always, admission, parking and on-stage entertainment are free. This
year our entertainment will kick-off with an 11:30 a.m. performance by local group
Ellis Island. We are also pleased to announce a performance by Disney recording
artist Jump5. Jump5 is currently underway on their Hello/Goodbye tour and will be
performing their full show at Mount Michael’s Fall Festival starting at 3 p.m.. This
performance includes Jump5, Jessie Daniels, Carried Away, PureNRG and Sammy
Ward. Anyone who would like to stay after the concert and get an autograph will have
the opportunity to do so.
The traditional Farmer’s Market, Flea Market, midway games and food booths will
all return with a few new games as well. Carnival Rides will run all day as will the
hayrack and horseback rides. This year’s Kiddie Korral will include Hiccups the
Clown who will share her gift of balloon animal making with all of the kids. The
Guest House will be open for shopping and the Cake Tent promises bountiful baked
Please make plans to attend the 52nd annual Mount Michael Benedictine Fall Festival.
The proceeds from the festival go to the Abbey to support the various missions of the
For further information, contact Vanessa Dobles at 289 - 2541, ext. 1204
A LETTER FROM THE ABBOT
Father Joseph was indefatigably irrepressible. Father Mario was unfailingly
effervescent. Father Joseph braved a rainstorm to take a ride over the festival
grounds in a hot air balloon. Father Mario fretted that a motorcycle daredevil might
not be able to clear a line of 17 buses. For years volunteers and patrons alike came
to the Fall Festival just to enjoy the company of Father Joseph and Father Mario,
not to mention the myriad activities surrounding the festival. More than fifty
years of festivals stand as a living monument to the contributions these two men
made to Mount Michael abbey and school. Their touch extended into the greater
community, to students, to their families, to alumni, and to countless people they
served sacramentally. Though both have passed away, the festival reminds us of the
wonderful spirit of joy that shadowed their every step. On September 16, we will
celebrate our 52nd annual Fall Festival. As usual there will be games, carnival rides,
entertainment, and good food. There will be time to renew old acquaintances, to
visit with classmates, teachers and monks. There will be opportunities to make new
acquaintances. For alumni, it is time to take nostalgic strolls along the paths where once upon a time they had to clean
the grounds after the crowd had left. The new addition to the monastery building is taking shape, and begging for
the informal assessment of amateur architects. The fall festival is a delight for all. Come and spend a wonderful day
relaxing and enjoying yourself. Father Joseph and Father Mario would be delighted.
In Saint Benedict,
“MONK CAMP” BY BROTHER AUGUST SCHAEFER
This past summer I had the opportunity to attend what is known as Juniorate Summer School. The program is intended
to supplement the intellectual formation of junior monks by gathering them all together for two weeks of classes taught by
monastic experts. The participants in the program mostly consider it to be “monk camp,” so this article will now turn into
a “What I did at Summer Camp” article.
I learned a lot at monk camp and some of it actually came from the classes taught by the monastic experts, Fr. Terrance
Kardong of Assumption Abbey in Richardton North Dakota and Fr. Thomas Bailey of Marmion Abbey in Aurora Illinois.
Fr. Terrance focused on Patristics, which is the study of the early fathers of church. We learned all about St. Basil—his
rules and his family. Fr. Thomas focused on New Testament Ecclesiology—how the writers of the New Testament viewed
the church and authority.
Monk Camp taught me and the other participants (there were thirty-one of us from twenty different house throughout
the United States, Canada, and Mexico) many other things about monastic life. We learned that every monastery has
a monk that washes dishes much too meticulously; there are also monks that believe that waving dishes over the water
constitutes a good cleaning. Prayer is different in all our houses, but every choir has monks that sing too loud, fast, slow,
and off key—it won’t change wherever you go. Abbots are wise and caring. Air-conditioning is a modern luxury that
real monks don’t need, but to humor us younger members the rest of the community will suffer the use of it. Most of our
monasteries had a monk that liked to turn off lights—especially in rooms where junior monks were trying to read much
past the appropriate time for them to be in bed.
We learned that meals are good times to get to know other people. Picnics are especially good. Some people are
genetically more attractive to bugs than others. Different generations have different concepts of what constitutes an
ABBEY Bits & Pieces BY FATHER RICHARD THELL, O.S.B.
Well, the summer months of Mount Michael. When a monk has car trouble it is not
have been busier and noisier as simple as calling AAA. Monks generally do not have
than usual here at the abbey cell phones; we don’t travel with a lot of money; so we
and school. It has sometimes are really at the mercy of strangers. Luckily a Nebraska
been hard to follow Saint State Trooper came to the aid of Brother August and took
Benedict’s dictum that “monks him to Pilger so Brother could call the abbey.
should cultivate silence at all Now getting a hold of a monk at noontime on
times.” The construction of Saturday is next to impossible, but finally word started
the new abbey building, minor spreading (across the dining room at lunch time) that
remodeling in the school and the school window project Brother August was stranded and needed to be picked
has made the whole place a hub of activity. In addition, up. Saturday afternoon is a busy time for many monks
our regular summer activities like Camp St. Francis, usually going on weekend parish assignments; so the
Camp St. John, the Farmers Market and the usual day- only one available to give up several hours of his time
to-day monastic schedule have gone on as scheduled. was our newly elected Abbot Michael. I don’t think that
Fortunately, the building projects and our summer camps picking up stranded monks was something Abbot Michael
were accident-free this summer; we frequently prayed for anticipated when he became abbot. Well, both monks
our workers and the safety of our campers and staff; we were back at the abbey (in fairly good spirits) in time for
are thankful that our prayers were heard. Vespers. No “official” word has been given on why the
++++++ car stopped running…
The construction workers not only have the benefit ++++++
of our prayers, but they also have the added bonus of GOOD NEWS: Brother August will be taking his
produce from Father John’s garden. Father has been solemn (lifetime) vows as a Benedictine monk of Mount
placing buckets of sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, etc. Michael Abbey on Saturday, October 13. Also, Brother
at the entrance to the construction site; needless to Gregory has begun his studies for the priesthood at St.
say, it doesn’t take long for the buckets to empty. The John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota.
abundance of produce also appears on our monastic Years ago these events would not be particularly
dinner table as well as the Farmers Market. newsworthy because we routinely had monks taking
++++++ solemn vows and going off to school. In the early 70’s
One of the first things Abbot Michael did was to for example there would be as many as seven or eight of
appoint a new prior and sub-prior for the abbey. These us going off to various schools for college or theology
two monks help the abbot in the day-to-day running of studies. We wish both Brother August and Brother
the monastery. Saint Benedict has a very specific job Gregory God speed as they begin this new chapter in
description for the prior and sub-prior: They are to carry their monastic lives; and we thank God for their vocations
out respectfully what the abbot assigns, and do nothing to our house!!
contrary to the abbot; Benedict suggests that the more ++++++
these monks are set above the rest, the more they should One of the frequently asked questions these days is
be concerned to keep what the Rule commands. Abbot whether Mount Michael has one abbot or three abbots?
Michael appointed Father Richard as prior and Father Given the fact that three monks, Michael, Raphael, and
Louis as sub-prior. Theodore all share the moniker “abbot,” the question
++++++ is understandable. Here is the answer. Saint Benedict
Monks usually have uneventful vacations; however… simply did not anticipate “retired abbots.” He allows for
Brother August was on his way back to Mount Michael only one abbot in the monastery; one monk, who, as he
after visiting his parents in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. says, “must bear the burden.” Now that burden is Abbot
He likes to travel the countryside as he drives and on Michael’s. Out of respect, Abbot Raphael and Abbot
this particular trip his (our) car broke down near Pilger, Theodore, as former abbots, are allowed to keep their title
Nebraska, that is a small town about 80 miles northwest and be addressed accordingly. This is similar to what
continued from page 3
happens when a man in no longer President of the United States. Jimmy Carter and the first George Bush are properly
referred to as President Carter and President Bush.
I came upon our 86 year old Brother Andrew as he was walking the hallway in the abbey. He was having a hard time
remembering things; he was confused because he seemed to have “lost a whole year.” So I tried to engage him in a
little conversation to jog his memory back to the present. No, he didn’t remember too much about growing up in South
Omaha, he remembered a little about joining the monastery. I asked him if he remembered being a Marine in World War
II. Then he came to life. “Oh yes,” he said, “I’ll never forget being a Marine. What a great bunch of guys!” He was
wearing a Marine cap at the time; he told me he was sure that when he went to the doctor’s office the nurses gave him
special attention because he was a former Marine. Semper Fi!!
continued from page 2
enjoyable outing. Not all monks play volleyball. Daily communal prayer and Eucharist helps—a lot. Every monastery is
concerned about vocations. Junior masters should be listened to. Monks over the age of seventy are the most helpful in
times of stress.
Personally, Monk Camp taught me many things. I learned that St. John’s Abbey really does have some of the smartest
monks on the planet. Milwaukee is a really interesting city. Mount Michael won’t fall apart if I am away for an extended
period of time. Don’t make remarks about not being able to get out of what the Junior Master wants you to do—especially
to people who may encounter said Junior Master while you are away. Obedience is a really good thing even for a thirty-
four-year old who thinks he knows what is best for him.
Most importantly, Monk Camp urged me and the other participants to reflect on our vocations as Benedictine Monks. Sev-
eral of us talked about the lack of vocations and the struggle to reach people. We also reflected on the fact that most of us
were far from an age that would normally be associated with the word “junior.” What was it that made us seek out monas-
ticism at this stage in our lives? Thinking about all this led me to remember the old monastic story in which a young man
asked a monk, “What is it you do at the monastery?” The reply simply was, “We fall down; we get up. We fall down; we
I used to think the meaning in that story was in the action of falling and getting up, now I believe the true meaning for
the monk lies in the pronoun that is used—we. A Benedictine vocation is unique. It is a calling to a particular place with
particular people. Even though we juniors could identify monks with similar characteristics in our individual houses, we
were all called to live with a specific group of men. I was called to Mount Michael. I believe it is because these monks are
made with just the right annoying habits that will make me a better person. I also reckon that these are the only monks that
can tolerate my own unique annoying habits. When I fall I do it in the midst of my brothers who help me get up.
I learned this personally a month after returning from Monk Camp. Returning to the monastery from vacation I experi-
ence car trouble outside of Pilger Nebraska. I had to call back to the monastery and admit that I wasn’t able to start the car
and was stranded. I explained to Abbot Michael exactly where I was and what was wrong, and he said that someone would
be up to get me. After about an hour of touring the town of Pilger, I saw the Abbot’s car driving down Main street toward
me. The Abbot himself had taken time out of his Saturday from preparing a homily and all the other things he would rather
have been doing to drive all the way to Pilger to get his stranded monk. He told me that Br. Mark, our vehicle manager,
would make a separate trip later to recover the car. I was embarrassed and saddened to learn that I was causing both these
busy men to take so much time out of their schedules. Four days after Br. Mark had returned with the car and got it run-
ning again, I worked up the courage to ask him what the problem was? “Operator error.” It wasn’t a judgment or accusa-
tion; it was just what was true. He went on to explain that on the really hot days of August the rear defroster should not be
running at the same time as the air conditioner. Then he went on to talk about other things. I had fallen, they picked me up.
That is what I learned at Monk Camp.
PLEASE REMEMBER IN YOUR
PRAYERS THOSE WHO HAVE DIED WE WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU...
James Tomka, father of Andy Tomka, ‘01 If you have news about Mount Michael Alumni, please
Michael Healey, father of Michael Healey, ’85, and email us at:
Richard Rezac, St. John’s Seminary, ’66
FALL SPORTS SCHEDULES
CROSS COUNTRY FOOTBALL
8/30 Plattsmouth Invite @ 4:30 p.m. Varsity
9/6 Wahoo Invite @ 4:30 p.m. 8/31 at Fairbury @ 7:00 p.m.
9/14 Waverly Invite @ 3:45 p.m. 9/7 vs Wahoo @ 7:00 p.m.
9/20 NE City Invite @ 4:30 p.m. 9/14 at Gretna @ 7:00 p.m.
9/24 Kearney Invite @ TBA 9/21 at Gross Catholic @ 7:00 p.m. at Bryan H.S.
9/28 Syracuse Invite @ 3:45 p.m. 9/28 vs Blair @ 7:00 p.m.
10/5 Centennial Conf. TBA (at Columbus Scotus) 10/5 vs South Sioux City @ 7:00 p.m.
10/11 Districts TBA 10/12 at Elkhorn @ 7:00 p.m.
10/12 JV Fremont Invite TBA 10/19 vs Schuyler @ 7:00 p.m.
10/19 State @ Kearney 10/25 at Roncalli Catholic @ 7:00 p.m.
8/30 vs Roncalli @ 4:30 p.m. Reserve JV
9/4 vs Bennington @ 4:30 p.m. JV
9/10 at Wahoo Neumann @ 6:00 p.m. JV
9/20 at Ashland-Greenwood @ 5:30 p.m. eevV
9/24 at Boy’s Town @ 4:30 p.m. JV
10/1 at West Point @ 5:00 p.m. JV
10/4 vs Waverly @ 4:30 p.m. Reserve JV
10/8 vs Fort Calhoun @ 4:30 p.m. Reserve JV
Home Games in Bold
Varsity Junior Varsity and Freshman
8/28 Lincoln Christian @ 4:00 p.m. at Woods Tennis Center 8/23 NE City @ 4:00 p.m. at Mt. Michael
8/30 Waverly @ 4:00 p.m. at Mt. Michael 8/27 Creighton Prep @ 4:00 p.m. at Tranquility
8/29 Bellevue West @ 4:00 p.m. at Bellevue West
9/6 Elkhorn @ 4:00 p.m. at Elkhorn
9/8 Fremont Invite @ 8:30 a.m. at Fremont 9/6 Elkhorn @ 4:00 p.m. at Mt. Michael
9/11 Lincoln Pius X @ 4:00 p.m. at Lincoln 9/13 Skutt @ 4:00 p.m. at Skutt
9/12 Roncalli @ 4:00 p.m. at Mt. Michael 9/20 Fremont @ 4:00 p.m. at Fremont
9/13 Skutt Catholic @ 4:00 p.m. at Mt. Michael 9/21 Elkhorn Invite @ 9:00 a.m. at Elkhorn
9/15 Skutt Invite @ 8:30 a.m. at Skutt 9/22 Papio-LaVista Invite @ 8:00 a.m. at Papillion
9/17 Bellevue West @ 4:00 p.m. at Bellevue West
9/20 Fremont @ 4:00 p.m. at Fremont 10/1 Ralston @ 4:00 p.m. at Ralston
9/22 Lincoln Pius X Invite @ 9:00 a.m. at Pius X 10/6 Fremont Invite @ 8:30 a.m. at Fremont
9/25 South Sioux City @ 4:15 p.m. at South Sioux City
9/28 York Invite @ 11:00 a.m. at York
10/2 Brownell-Talbot @ 4:00 p.m. at Mt. Michael
10/3 Gross Catholic @ 4:00 p.m. at Gross
10/5 Elkhorn Invite @ 9:00 a.m. at Elkhorn
10/11 State Tennis
10/12 State Tennis
MOUNT MICHAEL WISH LIST
Roof for the School Armory/Student Center
New School Van
Furniture for the New Monastic Rooms
Window Treatment for the New Monastic Rooms
Alumni Focus BY FATHER RICHARD THELL, O.S.B.
It is not unusual for our alumni to return to the Mount and say that the decision to come to Mount Michael Benedictine
was one of the best they ever made. Students do not realize, until they are gone and have some perspective on their
Mount Michael education, just how important their time with us was.
One alumnus whom we have heard from recently
and who would agree with the above is Peter “Rocky”
Snawerdt. Rocky, an Omaha native, is one of the newest
members of the Mount Michael Board of Trustees. In
conversations with some of the monks, he says that a
large part of his success is due to his time spent at Mount
After graduating from the Mount in 1982 he went on to
Tulane University where he received his B.S. in Electrical
Engineering; he then earned his M.S. in the same field
from the University of Texas at Arlington. Currently he is
the principal owner and a managing partner of Melbourne
Partners, LLC, an inception stage venture capital firm
located in Melbourne, Florida. As a managing partner
Rocky is principally responsible for business strategy,
technology development, intellectual property, and
marketing and sales. He also oversees engineering and
Over the years Rocky has been responsible for many
new inventions. One of the unique things he has done
is develop his own system of mathematics. He was able Kathy and Rocky Snawerdt and family
to take the strong math background he received at Mount Michael at the hands of Father Benedict and Abbot Michael
and turn it into a new system which suited his inventive skills. This success led ultimately to Rocky’s desire to help new
inventors and their nascent inventions.
Rocky started to renew his Mount Michael friendships several years ago. He makes his home in Florida with his wife,
Kathy, and three teenage children Patricia, John, and Jessica. Business and extended family give him a reason to return
to the Omaha area several times a year. On one of his visits he came out to Mount Michael and decided it was time to
get involved again, not as a student but as an alumnus proud to promote the good things he saw continuing here. Like so
many of our alums his “homecoming” has been a good thing, and he strongly recommends other alumni to get involved
in some aspect of supporting Mount Michael Benedictine.
Over the years Rocky and his family have been very supportive of Mount Michael; we thank them for that, and we
welcome Rocky to our Board of Trustees.
If you find that your pastor is unable to conveniently take care of the Masses you wish to have celebrated for your particular
intentions, Mount Michael Abbey will welcome the requests for such intentions. We will see to it that the Masses are celebrated as
promptly as possible.
The offering you make should correspond with that suggested by the diocese in which you reside. Your pastor will be able to inform
you what the stipend of a particular diocese may be. Please address such requests to:
Mount Michael Benedictine Abbey
22520 Mount Michael Road
Elkhorn, NE 68022
Mount Michael Directory
Mount Michael Chapel - Visitors are always welcome. Alumni Association
Daily Mass 7:15 a.m. For information about meetings/events or to report news:
Sunday Mass 9:30 a.m. Fr. John Hagemann, O.S.B. 402-289-2541, ext. 1111
Saturday 8:15 a.m. email@example.com
Liturgy of the Hours (M-F) World Wide Web
6:30 a.m. Morning Prayer 11:45 a.m. Noon Day Prayer www.mountmichael.org (Abbey)
5:15 p.m. Evening Prayer 7:00 p.m. Night Prayer (In the Abbey) www.mountmichael.com (School)
St. Benedict Guest House
Gift Shop l Lunches l Teas l Dessert Days l Retreats Prayer Needs and Spiritual Direction
Br. Jerome Kmiecik, O.S.B. 402-289-2541 ext. 1206 Fr. Abbot Theodore, O.S.B. 402-289-2541, ext. 1130
For information about monastic life: School Admissions
Fr. John Hagemann, O.S.B., Vocation Director Eric Crawford 402-289-2511, ext. 1003
402-289-2541, ext. 1111 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Oblates of St. Benedict Development Office
Br. Jerome Kmiecik, O.S.B. 402-289-2541, ext. 1206 Vanessa Dobles 402-289-2541, ext. 1204 firstname.lastname@example.org
email@example.com Kim Volpone 402-289-2541, ext. 1202 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mount Michael Benedictine School Board of Directors
Rob Copenhaver ‘77 Michelle Morrison Eric Crawford ‘00 Brian Morrissey ‘84
L. John Drahota ‘82 Dr. Ravi Nath Tom Ridder Mary Kay Miller
Scott Gass ‘77 Scott Robertson Rev. John Hagemann, O.S.B. ‘67
Rev. Louis Sojka, O.S.B. ‘81 David Hohman, Esq. ‘83 Rt. Rev. Michael Liebl, O.S.B. ‘68
Rt. Rev. Richard Thell, O.S.B. Rt. Rev. Theodore Wolff, O.S.B. Rt. Rev. Raphael Walsh, O.S.B. Emeritus: Peggy Sokol
A quarterly publication of
Mount Michael Benedictine Abbey
22520 Mount Michael Road
Elkhorn, NE 68022-3400
Abbot: Rt. Rev. Michael Liebl, O.S.B.
School President: Abbot Raphael Walsh, O.S.B.
School Principal: Tom Ridder
Director of Admissions: Eric Crawford
Father Richard Thell, O.S.B., Executive Editor
Father John Hagemann, O.S.B., Associate Editor
Brother Luke Clinton, O.S.B., Associate Editor
Brother August Schaefer, O.S.B., Associate Editor
Vanessa Dobles, Layout Editor