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Two Subiaco monks make diaconate vows before bishop

Ordinations to priesthood, scheduled for 2018, are next step for Benedictines

Published: January 12, 2017   
Brothers Reginald Udouj and Cassian Elkins, OSB, were joined at their diaconate ordination by Deacon Tim Costello (left), the diocese’s minister for deacons, Bishop Anthony B. Taylor and Deacon Roy Goetz of Subiaco Abbey (right).

On Dec. 30, Brother Cassian Elkins, OSB, and Brother Reginald Udouj, OSB, made a special New Year’s resolution — a deeper commitment in service to Christ.

The Subiaco Abbey monks were ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Anthony B. Taylor at a Mass in the abbey church. They made their solemn vows together on Aug. 8, 2015.

“It was very exciting. The bishop wanted to make sure Reginald and I weren’t nervous, just to allow the spirit to be present and for us to enjoy and be spiritually fed (during) the ordination,” said Brother Cassian, 35, who worked with the deaf community before entering religious life. “… Overall the experience has been one of great humility.”

The Louisiana native had previously entered the Dominicans of the Western Province but right before his final vows, he transferred to Subiaco Abbey after feeling called there in 2010. In May, he will finish his third year of theology at St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in Indiana.

Growing up, he attended Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School in Church Point, La., and received undergraduate degrees in philosophy and theology at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. 

This summer, Brother Cassian will be studying liturgical Spanish at the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio and serving in a local parish.

While Brother Reginald, 55, said he’s still consumed with completing his third year of theology at St. John Seminary in Collegeville, Minn., the diaconate ordination was a peaceful moment. He said it hit him hardest the night before during practice, placing his hands on the Book of Gospels.

“It hit home, ‘Wow, this is kind of a big deal,’” he said, adding the next day, “It was just kind of a feeling of calmness. It wasn’t really emotional, I got that feeling you get when you just know you’re at the right place at the right time. You just know this is where I’m supposed to be.”

The Fort Smith native graduated from Subiaco Academy in 1979 and earned a bachelor’s degree from High Point College in North Carolina. He worked as a manufacturer representative for several furniture companies before entering Subiaco in 2010. He chose the name “Reginald” after Sister Reginald Mooney, RSM, who died June 1, 2015, who had a big impact on his faith journey to religious life. 

This summer Brother Reginald will spend three weeks in the Holy Land and then in Guatemala for a Spanish immersion course.

They are both scheduled to be ordained priests in spring 2018.

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