November 30, 2023

Father Gregory Boquet, O.S.B., elected abbot of St. Joseph Abbey

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ST. BENEDICT, LA — In a rare community election marked by the pealing of six bells inside St. Joseph Abbey Church, Benedictine Father Gregory Boquet was elected Friday morning by 23 solemnly professed monks as the sixth abbot of Saint Joseph Abbey and Seminary Collegein St. Benedict.
Abbot Gregory, who has served for the last 25 years as the rector of St. Joseph Seminary College, succeeds Abbot Justin Brown as head of the monastic community. St. Joseph Seminary College is a pre-theologate within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans for men contemplating the priesthood.
Abbot Gregory, 65, will now consult with Archbishop Gregory Aymond about selecting his successor as rector of the seminary college.
“It’s taken me away from a job that I’ve done for 25½ years, but it’s refocused me back in the monastery, and I see this as a blessing,” Abbot Gregory said after his community election. “There’s a certain element of surprise, too, because it’s something that the community discerns. You don’t go and put your name in the hat. The community decides who’s going to be the abbot, and it’s very humbling.”
Abbot Justin, 65, had served as abbot for the last 22 years — he was elected on Nov. 23, 2001 — and announced in June that he was stepping down to allow for the election of a new abbot. “I’ve known Father Gregory since we came together to the seminary in 1976,” Abbot Justin said. “His heart and soul are here at the abbey and seminary college — and have been — and he’ll give all his heart and soul, as he always has, to this new ministry.”
Abbot Justin has been elected Abbot President of the international Swiss American Congregation of the Benedictines, the branch of the Order of St. Benedict to which St. Joseph Abbey belongs. The congregation has member abbeys in the U.S., British Columbia and Mexico.
Abbot Gregory will be formally installed at St. Joseph’s Abbey with a blessing at the abbey church on Sept. 17.
Abbot Justin’s two immediate predecessors also served lengthy terms. Abbot David Melancon led the community from 1957-1982, and Abbot Patrick Regan served from 1982-2001.

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