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» Abbot & Prior, and a Christmas note

Douai Abbey
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» Last Thursday Fr Abbot travelled to Shropshire for the funeral of the mother of Fr Peter Philips, a friend and fellow church historian. On the journey he experienced something of England's recent wintry weather.

» Today Fr Alban goes to Worth Abbey to lead a three-day retreat for the brethren there.

» Next Sunday begins, liturgically, as the Fourth Sunday of Advent but ends as Christmas Eve. This means that there is an obligation to go to Mass both for the Sunday and for Christmas, and this sacred duty cannot be met by just one Mass on Sunday. For those who are fully occupied on Christmas Day itself this means going to two Masses next Sunday: a morning Mass for the 4th Sunday of Advent and the Vigil Mass of Christmas of Eve in the evening. In the abbey church at Douai there will be Mass as normal at 1100 for the 4th Sunday of Advent, and at 9pm the Vigil Mass of Christmas.




» Advent update

Douai Abbey
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» On Friday last week BBC South came to Douai to film a short piece on our archives. It is due for boradcast in January.

» Frs Alban and Gabriel spent a rewarding time at the conference in Rome held in part preparation for the next Synod of Bishops, on vocations. Their return was delayed after Fr Gabriel fell ill on the day they were to fly back. Both are now safely back at Douai.

» Last Wednesaday a group of clergy for the diocese came for a day of recollection.

» Yesterday Fr Abbot travelled to Stonyhurst College in Lancashire for the opening of the Old Chapel Museum. Lord Alton and many other Catholic notables attended. On the same trip Fr Abbot managed a visit to the brethren at Ormskirk.

» Here at Douai there was also a Jesuit theme, as a number of Jesuits from various countries are on retreat here, and this morning at conventual Mass they renewed their vows.




» Vocations et al

Douai Abbey
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» Last week we celebrated a fairly quiet but suitably solemn patronal feast day of St Edmund, for whioch Fr Paul joined us as well as a small number of guests.

» On Tuesday last Fr Abbot celebrated the funeral Mass of Clare Throckmorton of Coughton Court in our parish of Alcester. The Throckmortons are one of the great Catholic rescusant families, and have a long assocoiation with the EBC.

» Today Frs Alban and Gabriel are flying to Rome to attend a conference organised by the congregation for religious on vocational ministry and consecrated life, entitled Horizons and Hopes. Several cardinals will speak at the conference as well Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP. The conference is part of the Vatican's preparations for the Synod of Bishops next year, the topic for which will be “Young people, faith and vocation discernment”.

Also today Fr Abbot is in London for a meeting of the Patrimony Commission of the bishops' conference.

» On Saturday Fr Hugh will be travelling to Colwich Abbey to lead the community in a short retreat.

» Advent starts this Sunday. As has become customary we will hold a service of Advent carols, music and reflections at 1530 on Sunday 17 December. Details can be found on our Concerts page.




» Patrimony & guests

Douai Abbey
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» The last week and a half has been heavy on things patrimonial. On 10 November our Florentine Madonna finally returned after a long period of restoration by eminent conservator Ruth Bubb. The restoration has lightened the painting immensely and revealed details previously unnoticed. It has returned to its home in the long cloister.


» This past week the new Short History and Guide of the Library was received from the printers. Written by Abbot Geoffrey and designed and produced by Fr Hugh, it will meet a growing demand for information about the Library and Archives, and their contents. It will soon be on sale for £5 in the Library.



» This past week 21 Benedictine senior educators stayed at Douai for a brief retreat led by Fr Gabriel of St Benet's, Oxford. The weekend before there was an oblates' retreat here led by Fr Gervase. This weekend we have a number of seminarians from Wonersh on retreat with us. All these activities reflect something of our traditional involvement in the life of the Church.





» Back to normal

Douai Abbey
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» After a week which saw three separate English Benedictine Congregation meetings held in quick succession at Douai, things have settled back to a more normal pitch. We were fortunate to have all the novice masters and mistresses here to celebrate both All Saints and All Souls, the latter with its blessing of the community graves. The Abbot President Christopher Jamison visited for two of the meetings.

» Our recent monastic experience weekend went well, and we are still awaiting a better idea of what fruit it may have borne. We hope next year to run an "alongsider programme" at Douai, and some of the monastic experience weekenders have expressed interest in this. More food for prayer.

» One of our ancillary staff, Graham, turned 50 last Friday, and the community threw a small surprise party for him. He has been with us for 3 decades already, and is trusted as if he were a member of the monastic community. Ad multos annos!

» Yesterday Fr Hugh sang Mass at Wardour Castle, which is an important part of English recusant heritage and its chapel is actively used for Catholic worship to this day.




» Abbey church advisory

Douai Abbey
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For those intending to visit the abbey church in the next day or two, please note that the paving outside the west door of the church is being replaced after the accumulation of damage over the years. Please take care if entering via that door, and be alert to any notices that might advise entry via the north door.






» Monastically busy

Douai Abbey
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» This past weekend six men stayed here on a monastic experience weekend. We pray that from their number we may reap a vocation or two.

» On Saturday a weary but cheery Fr Cuthbert flew in from St Louis, Missouri. He is the advance guard of two meetings being held at Douai this week: of the congregation's novice masters and mistresses, and the congregation's Commission for Continuing Formation, established by General Chapter last July. May their work this week be frutiful.

» Tonight the EBC Continuing Formation Commission met with the resident community to explain something of their brief and to hear any input we had to offer.





» Abbey stones & mobile monks

Douai Abbey
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» On Friday last week Fr Abbot was part of the public meeting St James' church, Reading, of the Hidden Abbey Stones Project. The project seeks to raise awareness of, and recover, the many building stones from the now-ruined Reading Abbey which are believed to have made their way to other parts of the town in the centuries since the monastery was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1538.

» Last weekend, at short notice, Fr Hugh was in Jersey to supply in the parish at St Helier.

» On Tuesday Fr Abbot travelled to see the brethren in Ormskirk. Today he is returning via Stratford for a meeting of the Douai Abbey Parishes' Trust, which Fr Peter and Br Simon are also attending along with other monks from Douai parishes.

» This week Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton and two dozen of his clergy are making their annual retreat at Douai.

» Some brethren have recently returned from beaks away but a nasty cold is still taking a toll on the resident community.




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