“Take this shepherd’s crozier and show loving care for the brothers whom the Lord has entrusted to you; for he will demand an account of your stewardship.”
With these words, Bishop Joseph will hand a crozier to Abbot Mark at Monday’s Abbatial Blessing. This last of the three insignia that the new abbot will receive during the ceremony is a very ancient symbol of the abbatial office. Only bishops and abbots are granted the right to use a crozier. The crozier, or staff, dates from apostolic times. Over time the custom developed that bishops’ croziers were to be made of precious metal, while those of abbots were to be of wood. (This custom has been relaxed since Vatican II.) Typically, the crozier is 60 to 70 inches high.
We have been fortunate in our house in having a monk adept at fine woodworking, Father Martin, who has made the wooden croziers that were given to both Abbots Joseph and Matthew, as well as the one that will be received by Abbot Mark on Monday.