Tompkins pastoral associate joins abbey - Catholic Courier

Tompkins pastoral associate joins abbey

Tompkins County’s loss is Abbey of the Genesee’s gain.

Edward Pierson, pastoral associate in the northern Tompkins cluster of All Saints, Lansing/Holy Cross, Dryden/St. Anthony, Groton, left that position at the end of July. He has joined the Abbey of the Genesee in Piffard, Livingston County, as a postulant for the monastic life. A cluster send-off honoring Pierson was Aug. 5, with a brunch at Holy Cross following the 8:30 a.m. Mass.

Pierson had come to Tompkins County in 2011 from Allentown, Pa., following the departure of the cluster’s previous pastoral associate, Sister Doreen Glynn, CSJ. A former seminarian, Pierson noted in his July 29 bulletin column that his new pursuit of religious life as a monk continues an ancient and valuable tradition.

"Monastic life has been with us from the earliest Christian times, as well as in other religions for centuries before Christ walked the earth. Monks and nuns have been part of the human scene from way, way back," Pierson wrote. "It seems that there’s something in the human heart that has always drawn some to this way of life."

At Abbey of the Genesee, he’ll be working alongside Trappist brothers and priests making their famous Monks’ Bread and taking part in daily prayer life. These prayers, known as Divine Office, take place seven times per day beginning at 2:25 a.m. and ending at 7 p.m.

Pierson explained that he feels more called to becoming a monk than a diocesan priest, pointing out in his July 29 column that the two have different vocations "and the church says we need both." He observed that whereas most people are judged on "quantifiable measures of productivity," the long history of cloistered monks and nuns and their devotion to intense daily prayer serve as "a testament to the rest of the world that the whole story goes deeper."

Though they’re better known publicly for their bread-making, the Trappists are a special group based on their devotion to offering intentions for people in need. They also promote a spirit of welcoming as evidenced by Abbey of the Genesee’s tradition of hosting retreats and opening their Masses and prayer services to the public.

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