Signs of Life (SOL) held their fifth networking lunch on Monday at the Cardinal View in the St Vincent's Centre, Victoria, with an exclusive screening of the HBO documentary Top Ten Monks, introduced by Fr Karl Wallner OCist.
Few monasteries these days have more than a hundred monks, with vocations booming. Fewer still ordain more priests than most dioceses. And hardly any can boast of having released a million-selling record. Top Ten Monks, made by HBO (the American television network famous for Game of Thrones), tells the story of the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz whose Gregorian chant album Chant became an international chart sensation.
Fr Karl Wallner OCist, a monk of Heiligenkreuz who was integral to the release of Chant and is now his country's Missio National Director. He shared how he had always wanted to be a missionary but had felt called to the monastery. And now he has both! He said he feels the CD is a miracle. In 2008 their CD outsold Madonna by millions.
With the money made from the CD, the monks now pay to educate priests, support youth programmes, help to build churches and support many community programmes. Fr Karl said that God showed him quite clearly that we need to continue to help make priests by utilising the internet, Facebook, Twitter etc.
Fr Karl spoke candidly about a number of issues. He said he feels quite strongly that we should be working in collaboration with each other. His dream is a theology of togetherness, a church in unity.
According to Fr Karl "our ambitions should be for the Kingdom, promotions made by God". He quoted Pope Francis who advised people to be original and 'think outside the box', 'cooperating with miracles.'
Fr Karl mentioned that the monks also make delicious chocolate. He reassured the audience that in Austria the use of palm oil is "no go!"
Signs of Life Catholic Networking Lunches started in March 2018. These networking lunches are a place for influential Catholics who are serious about evangelisation to connect and network.
Heiligenkreuc Abbey - www.stift-heiligenkreuz.org/besichtigung-fuehrungen/english/
See a trailer about the film www.youtube.com/watch?v=FS5J-0uBHTA
Signs of Life - www.signsoflife.org.uk/
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