AbbotBenedictFather Benedict Neenan, OSB, was elected as the new abbot of the Benedictine monks of Conception Abbey, Conception, on November 22.

He becomes the 10th abbot in Conception Abbey’s 143-year history, succeeding Abbot Gregory Polan, OSB, who was elected Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation in early September. Polan had served as abbot since November 6, 1996.

The election of Abbot Benedict took place within a private meeting of the monks of Conception Abbey. Before the election, the monks gathered in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception to celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit, invoking the Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance in the election process. The Right Rev. Vincent Bataille, president of the Swiss-American Congregation of the Benedictine Confederation, was the principal celebrant for the mass and oversaw the election.

The new abbot assumes his responsibilities as the spiritual and temporal leader of the community immediately; as is custom, a formal blessing will take place at a later date.

Abbot Benedict, 67, has been business manager of Conception Abbey since 2008 and development director since 2014. In these roles, Benedict oversaw the management of Conception Abbey’s apostolates and development.

Born in Kansas City on January 3, 1949, Benedict professed vows as a Benedictine monk on October 18, 1980, and was ordained a priest on August 20, 1988. He received a bachelor of science in philosophy from Conception Seminary College in 1968, a bachelor of arts in history from Colorado State University in 1971 and a journeyman’s degree from the Bavarian State School of Wood Carving and Sculpture in Germany in 1976.

He then earned a bachelor in sacred theology from the Catholic University of America in 1988 and a PhD in church history from the Catholic University of America in 1996.

Benedict is the author of “Thomas Verner Moore: Psychiatrist, Educator and Monk,” a publication concerning Moore’s work in psychology in relationship to the Roman Catholic Church.