The third annual St. Benedict Festival had record attendance, with a sold-out crowd of more than 900 guests at Mount Angel Abbey on July 8.
The monks welcomed festival attendees with Midday Prayer in the Abbey church. Abbot Jeremy opened the event with a few words about the Benedictine life as it's lived at Mount Angel Abbey. A farm-fresh picnic on the Abbey's lawn followed prayers.
The picnic was prepared by the Abbey's kitchen staff, led by Chef Paul Lieggi of Bon Appetit. In keeping with this year's theme of honoring the Swiss heritage of Mount Angel Abbey, the menu included traditional Swiss fare, such as Zurchergeschnetzeltes, Rotkohl, Rosti, and piles of a crispy Swiss cheese and bacon cracker bread. Dessert included baskets of fresh, local fruit served with a Swiss-style panna cotta.
There were several new activities at the festival this year, including a book signing table with Abbot Jeremy, talks about Benedictine spirituality by Father Martin Grassel, and a couple of new brews from the Benedictine Brewery (Wicked Thoughts proved especially popular). Perhaps the addition of a lawn game version of Jenga, though, drew the largest and most enthusiastic response.
Close to $140,000 was raised to benefit the monastery, library and guesthouse.
The fourth annual St. Benedict Festival will be July 7, 2018.