Known for their white habits, penchant for service, and intellectual rigor, the Norbertines have decided to go beyond the abbey walls and enter cyberspace. The Norbertines have launched a digital platform aimed at renewing the Catholic clergy and faithful. Belonging to an order founded by St. Norbert in 1121 to combat corruption in the Church and bring about renewal through teaching and sacramental ministry, the Norbertine priests of St. Michael’s Abbey feel called to utilize new methods to accomplish the mission for which they were founded, especially in the current climate of the Catholic Church.
The Abbot’s Circle is a subscription platform for donors to the abbey that will feature video, audio, and written content from the Norbertine confreres in order to engage lay Catholics, priests, and religious; offer support and resources during these difficult times in the Church; and help them better live out the faith in their lives. Abbot’s Circle members will have access to the Norbertine priests for spiritual guidance and support, and to respond
to their direct questions and needs delivered via the Abbot’s Circle communications portal.
“St. Norbert, a Catholic reformer, founded the Norbertines to lift up a demoralized clergy, preach to the lay faithful, and so renew the Church in difficult times,” said Very Rev. Chrysostom Baer, prior of St. Michael’s Abbey. “We are fulfilling this very same mission today, in a time when both laity and clergy are demoralized by scandal, by using new media to connect with the faithful and offer support and guidance. While atypical for religious priests to use digital media in this way, we believe in the power of new media to reach out to the faithful and support them in their faith lives.”
“The Abbot’s Circle offers a unique opportunity for Catholics like me to connect with a community of priests, to ask questions, send in prayer intentions, and get guidance – all through my phone or laptop,” said Sherry Van Meter, a lifelong Catholic and parishioner at St. Edward the Confessor in Dana Point. “It is a true blessing to be able to supplement the great support we receive in the parish with the spiritual treasures provided by an abbey, in the comfort of our homes!”
Access to the Abbot’s Circle digital library is given as a “thank you” to the monthly benefactors who support the ministries of St. Michael’s and the formation of future priests and seminarians. 100% of donations are tax deductible. St. Michael’s Abbey currently supports 38 seminarians, with 2 others on a waiting list. To join the Abbot’s Circle, visit theabbotscircle.com.
The Abbot’s Circle follows the successful launch of the City of Saints web television series in the spring of 2017, detailing the work of the Norbertine priests among the people of Southern California, reaching over a million viewers worldwide, and helping to support future projects to spread the faith. In March of 2018, the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey completed one of the largest capital campaigns in the history of the Catholic Church in America, securing $120 million for a new abbey to handle the influx of vocations to the abbey.