Benedictine Abbot Douglas Mullin was blessed as the 11th abbot of Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville by Bishop Patrick Neary, C.S.C., during a special Mass in the Abbey Church Jan. 28. Bishop Neary conferred the blessing, recognizing the relationship between the monastery and the Diocese of St. Cloud.
After saying a prayer over Abbot Douglas, Bishop Neary presented him with the Rule of Benedict, a ring, miter and pastoral staff — symbols of fidelity to Benedictine tradition and pastoral care of the community.
Abbot Douglas succeeds Abbot John Klassen, who served the community in that capacity for more than 23 years.
After months of discernment, the members of the monastic community gathered Jan. 8 to begin the process of electing a successor for Abbot John. Abbot Douglas was elected on the first vote Jan. 9.
“I believe that the election and the calling forth was truly the voice of God speaking through the community, asking if I would accept God’s will by taking up this new cross to follow Christ in the way which God was now calling me,” Abbot Douglas said. “I accepted that call, was confirmed and became abbot that very moment.”
According to the abbey website, it is the abbot’s responsibility to preside at all formal functions and liturgies of the monastery, take counsel from his senior monks when making major decisions, preside at all meetings when the monastic community assembles and serve as the spiritual father of the community.
Abbot Douglas, who made his solemn profession as a monk of Saint John’s Abbey in 1992 and was ordained a priest in 2007, most recently served as a chaplain at the St. Cloud VA Medical Center.
He has a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education, master of arts in religious education and school administration, master of divinity and doctorate in educational leadership.
Abbot Douglas has taught and served as a principal at the elementary and high school levels. He also served as chair of the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University education department and served as the SJU vice president of student development.
“Today Bishop Neary along with everyone else here and all those present in spirit watching the livestream of this celebration have blessed me in the name of Christ and his Church,” Abbot Douglas said. “I’m deeply grateful and touched by your kindness, generosity and trust in my ability to follow and lead in the way of Christ.”