Maronite Catholic monks raising $3 million for Castle Rock monastery

by Sarah Grothjan  |  published on February 23, 2015

A group of Maronite Catholic monks is bringing a taste of their Eastern religious tradition to Castle Rock.

The group, formally known as the Maronite Monks of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, is raising $3 million to erect the Sacred Heart Monastery on 65 acres of farmland northwest of Castle Rock.

They purchased the acreage in December after a five-year search in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, said Abouna Jonathan Decker, who will be abbot of the monastery.

Decker declined to disclose the exact location.

“We feel like the Holy Spirit was calling us to that place, and we had people praying,” said Decker, who sports a long, wiry beard and traditional black habit.

A native of Pennsylvania, Decker moved West in 1989 and helped establish the Oregon monastery— located in a small house in Beaverton — in 2011.

The Castle Rock-area monastery will provide a place of retreat and prayer, said Brother John Michael Morgan of the monastery. Monks will live a contemplative life.

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