Br. Denys arrived at Saint John’s Abbey on August 26 to study for the priesthood. It is located in Collegeville, Minnesota. He is taking several classes at Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary, including New Testament, moral theology, and Christian history. He is featured in the photo below with Fr. Michael Patella, the Rector of the Seminary. Br. Denys says “hello” to his confreres and friends back in Saskatchewan, and cannot wait to see them at Christmas.
Fr. Joseph Ackerman, OSB, died in the Humboldt Hospital in the early morning of Sept. 22.
Baptized Peter at his birth in Balgonie on Sept. 20, 1924, Fr. Joseph was one of 15 children in the family of Andrew and Emilia Ackerman. His father was employed by the Canadian Pacific Railroad Co., which necessitated moving to various locations. He received his early education in Wolseley, Estevan and Regina. After a brief period of employment, Fr. Joseph enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force, serving oversees in the Second World War from 1943-45.
A new direction was taken by Fr. Joseph from 1947-51 when he attended St. Peter’s College in Muenster and then entered the Order of St. Benedict where he received his name “Joseph.” He took his seminary studies at St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minn. and was ordained to the priesthood, June 8, 1958 at St. Peter’s Cathedral, Muenster. Following ordination Fr. Joseph taught at St. Peter’s High School, assisted in various parishes, served as assistant business manager at St. Peter’s Abbey and became pastor of the Muenster and St. Gregory parishes.
In 1970, he went on a sabbatical where he studied at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and then at Duke University, Durham, N.C. In 1971 he was appointed pastor of St. Anthony and St. James parishes, Lake Lenore. His next assignment was the Pilger and Middle Lake parishes. He then served the parishes of Bruno and Peterson. He retired as a full-time pastor in 2016 at the age of 91. The next year, Fr. Joseph moved to Prairie View retirement home in Bruno.
Known for his sense of humour and gentle disposition, Fr. Joseph was well well liked by his parishioners. Wherever Fr. Joseph served, he was active in parish and community groups. He joined them at coffee row and at sports events. A local park in Bruno was named in his honour. Fr. Joseph loved reading and sharing his knowledge and wisdom in his homilies. He enjoyed the outdoors having a fondness for hunting, fishing, skating, hockey and golf.
The discovery of over 750 unmarked graves at the former Marieval Indian Residential School at Cowessess First Nations led to the flags at the entrance to the Abbey being lowered to half-mast June 24. This is in solidarity with the Saskatchewan bishops who are committed to walk in solidarity with the residential school survivors and their families and communities.
The monks and oblates of St. Peter’s Abbey extend a warm congratulations to Archbishop Donald Bolen who has won the Higgins Award. Don has been an oblate of our community for many years and we always look forward to his visits.
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Some of you have asked for a copy of Abbot Peter’s homily that he delivered at Fr. Paul’s funeral.
A life in full bloom in our community was struck down suddenly at the age of 57. Without warning, Fr. Paul Paproski was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease Nov. 27, 2019. It cleared up the mystery of why he was limping that summer with his left leg and unable to get up when he fell. After many months of suffering, he died on Jan. 28 in the Humboldt Hospital.
Fr. Paul was pastor of St. Peter’s Parish in Muenster for five years. Ordained on Aug. 12, 2006 at the same Muenster cathedral, Fr. Paul lived at St. Peter’s Abbey and served in a number of surrounding parishes as pastor or assistant. Muenster was his last assignment and during his term the chapel in Muenster was sold and he celebrated daily mass at the Wolverine Heights retirement home.
Born in Lanigan to Ardel and Freda Paproski in 1963, he moved with his family to Hudson Bay, Sask. in 1971. He grew up there with his brother Perry and his sisters Gwen and Glenda. Fr. Paul took a degree in journalism after high school. He then worked as editor of the Hudson Bay Review for seven years before joining St. Peter’s Abbey in 1998.
He was the first St. Peter’s monk to study philosophy and theology at St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, PA. St. Vincent’s is the mother abbey of the St. Peter’s community that was first founded in 1892 near Wetaug, Ill. and transferred to Muenster in 1903. In his studies he specialized in monastic history.
At St. Peter’s Abbey, Fr. Paul put his talents to work in a variety of ways. His artistic photographs adorn many rooms and hallways. He taught in the formation program and served as junior master for many years. He became involved with engaged encounter weekends at the abbey. He got his master’s degree in Canadian history from the University of Saskatchewan. He headed the abbey Oblate program and published a newsletter for them and also edited the abbey newsletter. He worked as campus minister in the Men in Black program for the students at St. Peter’s College.
Fr. Paul had a quiet and shy personality which attracted many people to his ministry.
We are excited to publish our 2020 Newsletter. We hope you enjoy catching up on all the Abbey news.
During the month of November, the Village of Muenster is honouring veterans who served in the war. Among them are three Benedictine monks: Fr. Cosmas Krumplemann, who served in World War I; Fr. Al Herriges, who served as a Chaplain in World War II; and Fr. Joe Ackerman, who also served in World War II. The banners are hanging around the village.
St. Peter’s Abbey held an abbatial election on October 27. It was a first in that Abbot President John Klassen of St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota, presided over the election via Zoom. Archbishop Don Bolan, an oblate of St. Peter’s Abbey, was present to assist in the election, which saw Fr. Peter Novecosky re-elected as abbot. He had resigned upon reaching the age of 75 in April. Also shown is Fr. Daniel Muyres who was secretary of the election process.
Fr. Joe celebrated his 96th birthday at the Abbey on September 20. He is the oldest monk of St. Peter’s Abbey.
The U-pick corn season opened at the Abbey on August 29. Many neighbours look forward to coming and picking their own fresh corn.
On August 12 Fr. Paul was joined by family and friends to celebrate the 14th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Congratulations Fr. Paul!
Br. Basil checks out the solar street light he installed on Saturday, August 1.
Picking this year’s crop of Saskatoon berries begins on July 22. Freda and Ardel Paproski came for the annual event, assisted by residents of St. Peter’s Abbey. Abbey guest Joseph washes the berries before they get packaged and frozen.
Renovations have begun to the foyer of the St. Peter’s College gym and arena. The new roof is being put on the flat roof and is expected to be completed in a month’s time.
The Muenster Parish had a farewell celebration for Fr. Paul on Sunday afternoon July 12 at St. Peter’s Abbey. Fr. Paul has been Pastor at the Muenster Parish for five years and is being replaced by Father Demetrius.
The celebration included a ride to the Parish for morning mass in a special convertible car and a come-and-go tea in the afternoon. The car was manufactured in 1963, the same year Fr. Paul was born.
Br. Luis Cruz, left, Br. Benedict Van Ginkel and Br. Denys Janiga, OSB visited the former train station in Rosthern where the first settlers arrived in 1903 to St. Peter’s Colony.
The first settlers arrived in 1903 by rail to Rosthern and traveled by foot or horse to their new homesteads some 100 kilometres away.
The train station is now an arts centre.
Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB, and Bishop Mark Hagemoen of the Diocese of Saskatoon visit with Fr. Demetrius Wasylyniuk, OSB.
They were among the participants of the annual Knights of Columbus Clergy Sports Day.
Fr. Demetrius, guest master of St. Peter’s Abbey, helped facilitate the event.
Bishop Mark Hagemoen kicks the ball past Br. Denys Janiga, OSB at the Annual Knights of Columbus Clergy Sports Day.
The event was held July 15 and 16 at St. Peter’s Abbey.
Soccer was one of the popular activities.
When Abbot Peter celebrated Sunday mass at Biggar and Landis May 12, he visited the site of the major Prairie grass and bush fire there at the end of April.