Two Benedictines to continue on the track to priesthood

Categories: Around the Diocese

Dec. 6, 2013, edition
By Sue Schulzetenberg-Gully

St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville will soon be home to two more deacons.

Benedictine Brothers Michael Leonard Hahn, who grew up in Robbinsdale, Minn., and Bradley Jenniges, a native of St. Paul, plan to be ordained deacons 10:30 a.m. Dec. 7 at the Abbey Church.

Bishop Donald Kettler will be the celebrant.

The brothers will be transitional deacons, meaning they are on the track to priesthood.

As Benedictines, they will continue to live by their vows of obedience, stability and conversion to the monastic way of life after their ordinations to the diaconate and priesthood. Benedictine priests serve in a variety of ways. Some are pastors in parishes. Others work in education as professors, administrators or staff or in various ministries at the abbey and beyond.

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Brother Bradley Jenniges

Brother Bradley, 51, is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in mathematics. He provided care for developmentally disabled people before entering St. John’s Abbey in 1991. He was especially drawn to the abbey because of the diversity of work of the monks. He professed solemn vows in 1996.

At St. John’s, Brother Bradley has worked as plant and utilities cataloger for the physical plant department, geometry instructor at St. John’s Preparatory School, client support specialist for information technology services and assistant treasurer for the abbey. He served on the St. John’s fire department for numerous years, including 15 years as assistant chief.

Brother Michael, 30, graduated from St. John’s University in 2005 with a degree in political science. He served for one year with the St. John’s Abbey Benedictine Volunteer Corps at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, N.J., and continued teaching there for two more years while earning a master’s degree in systematic theology from Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J. He taught for one year at Cathedral School in St. Cloud.

As a student at St. John’s, he was inspired by the lives of the Benedictines. He entered the abbey in 2009, began teaching theology for the College of St. Benedict and SJU in 2010 and completed a master of theology at St. John’s School of Theology and Seminary in May 2013. He professed solemn vows at St. John’s Abbey last July.

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Brother Michael Hahn

Deacons, both transitional and permanent, may teach and preach the Gospel and preside at celebrations of baptism, marriages, funerals and other forms of prayer. They also share the outreach of priests in visiting the sick, imprisoned and those in need.

As transitional deacons, Brother Bradley and Brother Michael plan to help at Masses and in ministries.

Brother Bradley also plans to continue his field education at Seven Dolors Parish in Albany for his master of divinity degree at St. John’s School of Theology and Seminary. He teaches faith formation to fourth and 10th graders and helps with pastoral work. He plans to complete his degree this spring.

Meanwhile, Brother Michael will continue to teach undergraduates and serve as a faculty resident in student housing.

As they look forward to the priesthood, both men see time crunches and balancing responsibilities as challenges in their future roles. They also recognize the great need for priestly ministry and note that they will need to set aside time for prayer and reflection.

They anticipate finding joy in celebrating sacraments and doing meaningful work.

“I’m looking forward to celebrating the Eucharist, preaching, making the gift of God’s mercy available through reconciliation and encouraging people to use their gifts and talents,” Brother Bradley said.

Brother Michael said, “Being a monk priest is another way to serve the community.”