An American community of men living according to the monastic Rule of Saint Benedict is moving to Ireland this month to ''return the love'' given by the Irish priests and religious who served the Church in the United States.
The Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle was established by Dom Mark Daniel Kirby four years ago in the Diocese of Tulsa at the invitation of Bishop Edward J. Slattery.
Since then, a number of men have joined the community, and the prior felt a larger house in a rural setting was needed ''both for the accommodation of men trying their vocations and for hospitality to priests in search of silence, rest, and spiritual refreshment''.
Bishop Michael Smith has offered them a five year lease on the empty Visitation Monastery in Stamullen in County Meath, and they are expected to move in at the end of this month.
In a newsletter explaining the move to Ireland, Prior Kirby said it was time for the American Church to give something back to Ireland.
''Given the immense number of priests and religious who left their native Ireland to establish and serve the Church in the United States, it seems to me that the hour has now come for some Americans to return love for love by leaving the United States to serve the Church in Ireland,'' he said.