Video about St. Michael’s Abbey, Norbertines in California

I really admire the way some traditional groups are using new technology to get the word out about their communities, their apostolates and their products by which they make a living.

The Norbertines at St. Michael’s Abbey in Silverado, CA alerted me to this.

Fr. Ambrose, who sent the note, added this:

For the music buffs who frequent your blog, you might set the new video in the context of our upcoming concert with the Pacific Symphony wherein we provide the Gregorian chant background that was the remote seedbed for Bruckner.  Here’s the link about that.

We’re still trying hard to raise general public interest and sufficient funds for our expansion project and new monastery.  God continues to bless us with many worthy vocations, so we are confident that He’ll provide the buildings we need to house them.

In Christ and Our Lady,
Fr. Ambrose

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. michelelyl says:

    I have purchased their CDs and they are FANTASTIC! My favorite is the Exeultet chant! Of course, it probably is partly due to the fact that this particular order of Norbertines were my teachers at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana CA in the 1970’s…and Abbott Hayes is a dear friend of my mother (and chaplain to the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Orange County, CA) . I also keep in touch with Fr. Leo Celano, who taught Apologetics to seniors at Mater Dei and is responsible for much of my devotion to my Catholic Faith- and Fr. James Smith was the ‘visiting priest’ at my previous parish before I moved here to Oregon.

  2. acroat says:

    We love the Norbertines! They assist at our parish on Sundays. Fr Charbel was baptized at the same parish as I was but a few decades later than me!

  3. Tradcarlos says:


  4. Mike says:

    This is what made Europe into Christendom, and can restore the crushed vineyards today.

  5. Unfinished says:

    That video was intense. Every diocese and religious order in America needs a publicity guy/team like the one they have.

  6. We are very pleased here in Toronto to have a number of Norbertines from St. Michael’s Abbey studying here at St. Philips Seminary at the Toronto Oratory.

  7. Fr_Sotelo says:

    It is a beautiful video, but sowing and planting in the field, or crushing grapes with your bare feet, seems a bit of a dramatic flair, maybe even a little corny, something I might have expected from the Christian Brothers back in the day when they operated the winery. I enjoyed more the scenes of the Norbertines praying at the liturgy, and exercising the care of souls. Their chant is very beautiful.

  8. spesalvi23 says:

    I’m in tears… this is really wonderful!

  9. Mike Morrow says:

    It is a stunningly well done work, though I agree completely with Fr. Sotelo’s observations, and would add my own about the “harvesting” of wine in the bottle direct from the vineyard.

    I also have mixed opinion on the abbey’s web site technical prowess. I’ve tried several times in the past year to access their web store to purchase their chant CDs and other items. I always get a page telling me I must configure my browser for cookies, and telling how to do it. Even though I verify that either my IE8 or Safari browser is configured exactly as the web site suggests, I still am unable to access their store without getting the same request again. The site won’t even allow one to look at store contents. I do a lot of web purchasing on various other sites, and I have never come across a site that so completely and needlessly discourages a customer. There’s obviously an important technical problem there whose solution is being processed on a “timeless” schedule.

  10. Trad Tom says:

    Beautiful, beautiful video, and I do not agree with some of the nit-pickiness of others. The images, the pictorial relationships to the copy of the voice-over, and the overall effect are amazing.

  11. Randii says:

    Regardless of whether one feels the video is corny or not, the reality is that traditional/Tridentine groups must “reform” themselves to use new means and approaches to evangelize and be pastoral.

    The world today is nothing like the Pre-Vatican 2 world.

    A “reform of the reform” can take many forms. One is to return to certain elements of the Pre-V2 church. But one can’t try to reconstruct an exact replica of what was before V2. The Tridentine reform of centuries ago addressed a particular culture and time. One that is long gone.

    A new culture has arisen in the last 50 years and Tridentine/traditional Catholics need to take what was good in the Tridentine reform but move beyond it and inculcate new ways of being pastoral an evangelizing.

    Most assuredly that means moving out into the secular world and not retreating to the confines of a traditional parish and walling oneself off from the surrounding real world.

    In this sense thing like this video are good. But just a first step.

  12. Fr. A.M. says:

    Wonderful video. May God continue to bless St. Michael’s Abbey and send more good, Catholic vocations to the Norbertines, especially in Europe.

  13. A very dear friend of mine just entered the Norbertines at St Michael’s Abbey :) Please continue to pray for vocations, and for my friend and his brothers who will receive their habits and religious names on Christmas Eve!

  14. “To give the world more priests!” That statement goes right to the depth of my soul!

    Our Lady, Mother of the Church and Mother of Priests, intercede with Jesus, your Son, to give the world more priests! And fill us with appreciation and love for each and every one of them!

  15. LaudemGloriae says:

    OUTSTANDING! and Amen.

    I had been having some spiritual issues of late, creeping doubts and cynicism … but after watching the video I am inspired to go to confession and make a fresh start. I remember why I am Catholic.

  16. Dave N. says:

    St. Michael’s Abbey is located on seismically unstable soil. So even though Fr. Ambrose refers only obliquely and humbly to the Norbertines’ “expansion project,” the financial need is very great. To move to another property and build a larger chapel—sorely needed as it is one of the very few locations for TLM in Orange County—is all extremely expensive. The collapse of most of the present structures is a matter of “when” and not “if”.

    The bottom line is that if you feel so inclined, buy a CD. Or just send a donation. Or some encouragement. This is literally a “brick by brick” need.


  17. Awesome video. Very well produced. Spiritually deep. I’ll do a post in the coming days on this video.

    I just blogged on a vocations video put out by the FSSP. It’s much longer and is more of a “program” than a “commercial”, if you will, at 28 minutes long. Loved the interviews in it.

  18. Radagast the Brown says:

    The Norbertines have contributed greatly to my spiritual development over the years. When I was younger I attended their summer camp for boys and had a very fun and spiritual experience. They were there for me in when I was having doubts about the faith. I have also stayed at their abbey in the novitiate house to see how they live their lives and it is absolutely beautiful. I hope that they never leave us, they are an enormous blessing to the faithful Catholics of Orange County.

    I totally agree with Randii’s comments. His comments can best be summarized in the motto of St. Michael’s Abbey: Looking ahead from the Vantage Point of Tradition.

    May God continue to richly bless the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey.

  19. AnAmericanMother says:

    Ix-nay on the nitpicking . . . my family has made wine for 50 years or so. If they showed the way wine is actually made nowadays, it would create two problems that distract from the video: (1) they would lose the impact of the cuts back and forth between the beginning and the product (esp carrying the wine back up the same hill they walked down), not to mention the scriptural references. (2) winemaking has become very clinical, technical, and frankly a bit boring, what with the motorized crushers, plastic garbage cans instead of photogenic barrels, sodium bisulphate etc. It wouldn’t film well, and the average viewer would have no idea what was going on.

  20. AnAmericanMother says:

    P.S. – beautifully filmed, paced, lit, scored, and peopled. First class work.

  21. kgurries says:

    I attended high school there and remember the day when the community was elevated to the status of Abbey. I thought the video was well done….my nephew is one of the boys in the classroom shot.

  22. Tony Layne says:

    I have to agree with Trad Tom and AmericanMother: the nitpicking is point-missing. It’s an awesome video; a couple of shorter versions should be edited from it to serve as commercial spots.

    Speaking of videos: Fr. Barron over at is working on a 10-part video series about Catholicism. You can watch the trailer here. The production values promise to be excellent, with cinematography on a par with National Geographic. Fr. Barron is a very engaging speaker, and has a deep love and appreciation for our cultural and spiritual heritage; I’m interested to see if those qualities can transfer onto a larger canvas.

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