Father Joseph A. Tedesco
Father Joseph A. Tedesco

From staff reports

Father Joseph A. Tedesco, who formerly served as a priest for the Diocese of Trenton for 28 years, has been named superior of Mepkin Abbey, a Trappist monastery located on the Cooper River outside of Moncks Corner, S.C., effective Nov. 3.

Father Tedesco entered Mepkin in March 2008. He made his solemn profession as a monk June 28, 2014, and has served his community by working the farm, cooking and supervising the kitchen, managing the Abbey store and reception center, and as director of monks in temporary vows. In 2015, he published “Food for Thought: Mepkin Abbey Fare,” which contains the mostly vegetarian recipes he cooks for the monks and visitors.

“The Holy Spirit was truly with us as we journeyed together as a community to come to know what God was asking of us,” Father Tedesco said. “This helped us to clarify how to go forward. I feel blessed to know as I begin the spiritual leadership of Mepkin, that we are open to the Spirit, supportive of one another and energized as a community. So, I can say that we are full of gratitude for the past, hopeful for our future, and approaching our present with passion.  This is the gift we have given to each other.”

The son of Anthony and Anna Tedesco, Father Tedesco was ordained a priest by Bishop George W. Ahr Dec. 1, 1979, in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton. During his years of priesthood in the Trenton Diocese, Father Tedesco served in various parishes and diocesan positions including as diocesan liaison of the Charismatic Renewal; director of the Upper Room Spiritual Center, Neptune; pastor of St. Mary of the Lakes Parish, Medford, and Our Lady of Sorrows Parish (now part of Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish), Hamilton, and as director of the diocesan Office of Research and Planning.

Established in 1949, Mepkin Abbey is part of the Roman Catholic Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, commonly known as Trappists.