Over 700 people gathered to support the prayer and work of the Monks of St. Benedict's Abbey at the fourth Annual Abbot's Table at the Sheraton Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo. The monks presented the Lumen Vitae Medal to Past Supreme Knight of Columbus Virgil Dechant and his wife Ann, and Past Benedictine College President Dr. Dan Carey and his wife Terri. The event offered guests a look into the lives of the monks through a series of dramatic and humorous videos, which have become the signature of the Abbot's Table. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas commented that "the videos are more anticipated than any Super Bowl ad!"
Abbot James Albers, OSB, announced that the monks received an anonymous $100,000 challenge gift to sustain their lives of prayer and work. The guests responded with tremendous generosity by meeting this challenge.
Abbot Barnabas Senecal, OSB began the evening with a heart-warming rendition of "O God, You Search Me." Event Emcee Benedictine College Professor Dr. Edward Mulholland offered his gratitude to the monks and remarked that his children, in grade school, high school, and college, attend schools at which monks serve as chaplains and on the faculty and staff. "This has to be rare. In fact, I don’t know anywhere else in the world where this is even possible," said Dr. Mulholland. "It is a unique circumstance that highlights how unique these men of God are."
As Abbot James prepared to present the Lumen Vitae Medal to Virgil & Ann Dechant, he was joined on stage by an honor guard of 30 Knights of Columbus in full regalia. More than 75 knights attended to celebrate the Dechants' lives of service and listen to Virgil's impassioned remarks on religious liberty. "I feel confident that the defense of the natural right to religious liberty is as congenial to the sons and daughters of St. Benedict as it is to the Knights of Columbus. Today it is under attack.--- In thanking you for the honor you have bestowed on Ann and me, I wish you well in your continuing efforts on behalf of evangelization and religious freedom."
A plethora of friends and Benedictine College alumni and supporters praised the work of Dr. Dan & Terri Carey. Dr. Carey offered his gratitude to the monks. "We are here not to be honored but to pay tribute to you and your sponsored educational communities," said Dr. Carey. "Terri and I are here tonight with grateful hearts. In the end, it’s about all of us working together in order to leave a special college, an Abbey, or a Monastery better than we found it."
The event closed with an announcement that the fifth Abbot's Table Banquet will be April 22, 2017, at the Sheraton Crown Center in Kansas City Mo. The Lumen Vitae Medal will be presented to Elmer Fangman, a friend of the monks and past Dean of Benedictine College, and Bishop Robert Barron of the Archdiocese of Los Angles. Bishop Barron is renowned for his work with Word on Fire ministries and a variety of other media.
For more information about the monks of St. Benedict's Abbey, photos and videos from the Abbot's Table see Kansasmonks.org or find the monks on Facebook and Twitter.