When we in Niederaltaich place the word Ecumenism – in the original sense of the word “at home” – in the center of our vision, we see therein a mission in multiple areas.
Ecumenism, first of all, for us means ecumenical life in community, acceptance of each other in all our diversity, and a shared effort – each in one’s own way – to work for the glory of God in His Creation. Above all our attention to the beauty of the liturgical services should represent a measure of “whether we are truly seeking God and show eagerness for the Work of God,” as St. Benedict instructs us (The Rule of St. Benedict, 58,7).
Ecumenism as a calling is particularly visible in Niederaltaich through our shared participation in two liturgical traditions, the roman and the byzantine rites. This is a visible sign that the mystery of the Church does not belong exclusively to either tradition, but rather that there are paths of spirituality which are distinct and yet often complement, or even enrich one another. A major aspect of the work of our Ecumenical Institute is to instill sensitivity for the many-facetted inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the living traditions of the churches.
Ecumenism as our mission, finally, means opening up the Monastery to give people the opportunity to experience Church as their home: for the many guests who come to us to experience spiritual community for a time away from their daily lives, to pray and meditate with us during the high feasts of the church year, in our seminars, in “Kloster auf Zeit” (monastic stays), in our community of Benedictine Oblates, in retreats or as individual guests.
At the same time we are also focused on our special responsibility towards the students and teachers of our high school, towards our employees in the various work areas of the monastery, as well as towards the parishes that are entrusted to our care.