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» Impending hiatus

Douai Abbey
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» The website will not be updated for the next three weeks, as the webmaster will be away from the monastery.

» On Tuesday, 24 January, Frs Peter and Benjamin will be joining the nearby parish of St Francis de Sales in Wash Common to celebrate that parish's 50th anniversary. In the past Frs Godric and Austin have both served as parish priests there.

» This coming weekend Fr Finbar will be travelling to Douai in France for the annual general meeting of the Association William Allen, which fosters the heritage of English Catholicism in Douai. When he returns to England on Sunday evening he will head straight to Quarr Abbey, where had been prior administrator for some years, to join them for their reqiuem Mass for their abbot emeritus Cuthbert Johnson, who died last week.

» Also this coming weekend the Jesuit scholastics in England - both of the English province and foreign Jesuits studying in England - will gather for a retreat in the monastery under the guidance of Fr Nick King SJ.

» Abbots' News

Douai Abbey
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» This past weekend we have had the pleasure of a visit home by Abbot Edmund, who is now at Sta Cecilia in Trastevere, in Rome.

» On Monday 16 January Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, the abbot emeritus of Quarr Abbey, passed from this life after battling a brain tumour. He was a well-known liturgist, with especial expertise on the great refounder of monastic liturgy at Solesmes, Prosper Guéranger. Requiescat in pace.

» Yesterday an abbatial election at Buckfast Abbey did not see any candidate elected to the abbacy there. Please pray for the community as they discern their way forward.

» Back in the Swing

Douai Abbey
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» The community is now back on its normal timetable after its Christmas constitutional holiday. Today we welcomed Fr Edmund, who is home from Rome for a few days.

» Last week Fr Gabriel emerged from a low-speed car accident with, happily, only a few bruises and a stark reminder of human mortality. The car was not so lucky and has been written off. There may be some restriction in the community's activities for a time as we adapt to being one car down.

» On Wednesday and Thursday Fr Abbot was at Buckfast Abbey to give the community some talks in preparation for its abbatial election next Friday. Please keep the brethren there in your prayers.

» Last Tuesday the community gave the abbey church a more intense cleaning, as it does twice a year. The late Advent and Christmas period saw a significant burden on the abbey church from both monks and outside groups using it.

» A brochure with the Douai Abbey Pastoral Programme's offerings for 2017 has been added to the Pastoral Programme page on this website.

» Happy New Year

Douai Abbey
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» The monastic community wishes all our friends, associates and visitors a blessed and peaceful new year!

» The community is still in constituional holiday mode so please be patient if you do not get a speedy answer to enquiries or calls. Many of us will be away the coming week: Fr Abbot visiting family and firends in the north-east, and Fr Alban doing the same in the north-west, Fr Bernard is staying with his sister and Fr Hugh will be on supply in Jersey. Other monks will be out on one day or another. Noprmal service will resume after Epiphany.

» Happy Christmas

Douai Abbey
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» As we approach the threshold of the Christmas season, the Abbot and monastic community would like to wish our friends and associates a blessed and safe Christmas, and a grace-filled new year.

» This week we have had the pleasure of the company of Fr Thaddäus Schreiber OSB from Ettal Abbey in Bavaria, who has been teaching for a year in the school at Downside. He returned to Downside today to spend Christmas with the brehtren there.

» Last Saturday Fr Finbar returned from a week at Minster Abbey where he had been giving a retreat. With him he brought a kind gift from the nuns: a box of large rocks of beautiful incense from Somalia. We shall be using these at our Christmas Masses and the Second Vespers of Christmas.

» On Wednesday Frs Alban and Paul celebrated their silver jubilee of priestly ordination. The festal Mass was celebrated by our emeritus Bishop Crispian Hollis who had ordained them in 1991. Also concelebrating were Archbishop George Stack of Cardiff, Bishop Mark O'Toole of Plymouth and Bishop Robert Byrne, auxiliary of Birmingham. Abbots Cuthbert of Farnborough and Paulinus of Chilworth were also present, the former supplying the vestments for bishop and deacon that had been used at the ordination in 1991. Various clergy from the diocese and beyond, as well some brethren from the Birmingham Oratory, numbering well over 40, made for a full sanctuary for a Mass for which the music was provided by our Douai Abbey Singers. Archbishop Stack was the preacher, and he wove the threads of monastic and priestly vocation together very insightfully. With the liturgy of thanksgiving over, there was a fine buffet lunch in both refectories. To Frs Alban and Paul - ad multos annos!

» Christmas at Douai begins with first vespers and solemn Sung Martyrology at 6pm on Christmas Eve, followed by the first Mass of Christmas at 9pm in the abbey church. On Christmas Day Mass will be at 11am, and the liturgical round will end with Pontifical Second Vespers at 4.30pm, after which the community will collapse into the refectory for our Christmas Dinner. On St Stephen's Day Mass in the abbey church will be at midday.

» The monastic community continues to be blessed with generous gifts at this time of year, including some anonymous gifts of wine.  To these and all our benefactors we offer our sincere thanks.

Happy Christmas!

» Advent news

Douai Abbey
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» Last Wednesday Douai was busy indeed with 29 clergy of the diocese here for an Advent day of recollection led by Fr Peter and Fr Paul Lyons. Also here were six Mill Hill missionaries on their own day of recollection with Fr Alban.

» On Thursday we received a request for emergency help from St Andrew's preparatory school in Pangbourne. They had planned their annual carols' service for the next at Bradfield College. However on Thursday Public Health closed Bradfield College completely due to an influenza epidemic. While we are trying to preserve the abbey church from some of the wear and tear it has suffered over the last 20 years, we do allow some schools to hold their carols here. Since St Andrew's had been left high and dry we agreed for them to hold their service at Douai on Friday. All went well and everyone was happy. In the coming week Downe House and Elstree will be holding carols' services in the abbey church as well; earlier last week various local primary schools combined to hold their own service here too.

» Please note that the abbot and commuity are maintaining their practice of the last few years not to be sending Christmas cards, though some individual monks may well send some cards. This is partly an economy measure, and partly it reflects the changed communications landscape with email more and more supplanting traditional post. Our friends and benefactors are always remembered in our prayers, of course, and especially in the Advent and Christmas seasons.

» Liturgical developments

Douai Abbey
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» Last Saturday we took delivery of a number of new vestments, all of silk and unique, made by Mary Collings in Ipswich and obtained with a generous discount. This purchase was made possible by generous contributions to the vestment fund. A fuller account will be included in the next Magazine, due soon. Below is a photo of the hood of the new green cope, which from next year will enhance our Sunday vespers in Ordinarytide.

» Another enhancement to the abbey church and its liturgical worship is the acquisition of a new portable baptismal font last Thursday. The wooden stand and lid were made by the head of IT at Winchester College, and the bowl of Portland stone by Blackwell and Moody of Winchester. It too has been made possible by donations. The lid features our cenentary logo, and the bowl has engraved on it our old crest.

» This past week we have been singing a revised order of Compline. Being sung to fixed tones, it includes revised texts of the psalms, hymn and Nunc Dimittis. To help us adapt Compline is being accompanied by the organ for a couple of weeks. So far we are picking it up rather well.

» Also in the past week the Abbot has been frequently in London, not least for a meeting of the Regimen of the EBC (the Abbot President's council) and the Patrimony Commission of the Church in England and Wales. Last Thursday Frs Alban and Hugh were at Farleigh prep school to hear confessions.

» Catching up!

Douai Abbey
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» After a busy couple of weeks for some of us it is time to catch up here!

» On the evening of 18 November Fr Abbot and Fr Alban were in Ormskirk to join Frs Godric and Boniface and the parishioners in celebrating the centenary of the consecration of the parish church, St Anne's. Fr Abbot preached while Archbishop McMahon of Liverpool was principal celebrant at the Mass, generously highlighting the rich history of the parish while under the care of the Douai Benedictines.

» On Monday 21 November the community celebrated its patronal feast day, a day late as St Edmund had to yield place to the celebration of Christ the King on 20 November. Frs Godric, Boniface and Alexander joined us for the day, which included not only the traditional pontifical liturgies but also a community meeting as part of our participation in the EBC-wide process of communal consultation seeking renewal in the congregation. The festal lunch was happy if smaller than normal with our only guests being newly-minted confrater Dr John Rowntree and his wife Julia.

» On the following Thursday our spare complete set of Douai Magazines was taken away to be digitized, a project being funded by the Douai Society.

» On Friday 25 November, Fr Benjamin assisted with confessions at St John's school in Andover, while Fr Hugh travelled to Bristol to undergo the viva examination for his MPhil thesis (which he passed).

» The past weekend has been a busy one, with Fr Oliver's Advent retreat being well-attended, as was Sunday's Day of Recollection for the Knights of Malta, led by Fr Abbot.

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