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» Holy Week Update

Douai Abbey
Published by in News ·
» The last weekend of March proved a busy one at the monastery. Bishop Philip was staying with some of his staff who were to form a Portsmouth diocesan selection committee interviewing eight prospective candidates for the priesthood who were also staying with us. Also here for several days were the knights and companions of the Order of Malta on their annual retreat. Their retreat master was Fr John Hemer MHM. Their robes added a dash of added lustre to the Sunday Mass. Hard their heels as they deprated came several seminarians from Allen Hall in London, who were making their pre-diaconate retreat under the direction of Fr Alban.

» The latest issue of The Douai Magazine is now available for collection at the back of the abbey church and at the monastery's reception. Those who have subscribed for it to be delivered by mail should be receiving theirs soon. The Magazine is still offered free, but any donations are gratefully accepted!

» On Wednesday last week Fr Abbot made is regular tour of our parishes in the Midlands. The same evening the Body of Sonia, Lady Fairfax was received into the abbey church, prior to her funeral the next day, whch was celebrated by Abbot Geoffrey assisted by a number of monks and a schola from the Douai Abbey Singers. May she rest in peace.

» Last Saturday Fr Abbot went to Wardour Castle to hear a lecture on the silverware belonging to that historic chapel.

» For the commnunity's Palm Sunday pontifical Mass an innovation was introduced: instead of processing from the parish church, always an akward affair, we processed from outside the library, skirting the edge of the library law to the west door of the abbey church. It was a great improvement and will become a regular feature of our Palm Sunday Mass from now on. This year the glorious warm sunshine gave the day a summer feel.

» This morning another stalwart of the abbey church congregation, Mary Bellhouse, died. She had been ill for some time but her death was still something of a surprise. May she rest in peace.

» For those interested in joining the monastic community for its liturgies in the abbey church over the Sacred Triduum, the times are as follows:

Maundy Thursday: Mass of the Lord's Supper 8pm, followed by Adoration
Good Friday: Solemn Liturgy of the Lord's Passion 3pm
Holy Saturday: Great Vigil Mass of Easter 9pm
Easter Sunday: Solemn Mass of the Lord's Resurrection 11am

Please note that on Easter Monday the monks' Mass will be at 9.15am.

The monastic community prays for all our benefactors, friends and associates a most blessed and grace-filled Triduum.

» Back on track

Douai Abbey
Published by in News ·
» After some strange problems on the website we have changed the hosting for both website and email. The process is complicated by our using a filtering security service which adds a layer between us and the internet. It seems now to be complete and the website and email are working properly. This is an improvement for both these services, especially for our email which has now been moved off our ancient onsite server.

» Over the past weekend Douai hosted the national retreat for Benedictine oblates. It proved a busy weekend here as we also hosted the Wokingham Catenians and a confirmation group from Kensal Newtown.

» On Tuesday this week Fr Abbot visited Culham Court near Henley to see the extraordinary private chapel there, and its fine architectural and liturgical features.

» Yesterday Fr Oliver visited his mother to celebrate her 91st birthday. That evening the body of Leopold Antelme was received at the abbey church ready for the funeral Mass today at 11am. Also last night Fr Hugh celebrated a Missa cantata for the Order of Malta at St James', Spanish Place in London. The Knights of the Order will be at Douai this coming weekend on retreat.

» The latest issue of The Douai Magazine is now available from the back of the abbey church or from the monastery's reception area. Copies for subscribers will be posted next week.

» Deaths in the family

Douai Abbey
Published by in News ·
In the last 48 hours the comunity has been saddened by the deaths of three locals who were well-known or of great service to the monastic community. Jenny Smith, the sacristan at the church at Burghfield, which until very recently had been part of the abbey parish, died from cancer. Leopold Antelme also died after illness. He was an Old Dowegian and had been actively involved with the community over many decades. Lady Sonia Fairfax, a stalwart of the abbey church congregation and at one time Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth II, died in her home after several months of rapid decline. Both had received the last rites from Fr Oliver and Fr Benjamin respectively.

May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

» Feasts

Douai Abbey
Published by in News ·
» On Monday 20 March Frs Abbot and Prior were at Quarr Abbey, where Abbot Geoffrey celebrated pontifical Mass for the Solemnity of St Joseph.

» They were back in time to celebrate yesterday the Solemnity of the Passing of St Benedict at Douaui with the customary solemn and pontifical rites. A fine festal lunch was laid on, with two Dominican guests adding an ecumenical flavour!

» Stars and Mitres

Douai Abbey
Published by in News ·
» On 5 March a West Berkshire health inspector arrived without warning to make a snap inspection of our kitchen. Needless to say, such surprise visits leave no time for hasty remedial preparations. No problem was this for our kitchen staff! Happily the inspector was very impressed and awarded 5 out of 5 stars. Our staff can be proud that not only do they feed us well, and on a budget, but they maintain high standards in cleanliness and food preparation.

» Last week Bishop John Wilson, auxiliary of Westminster, spent some days on retreat at Douai, though on month day he socialised at our talking lunch. He was a happy and encouraging presence among us.

» From Wednesday to Friday last week Fr Abbot, accompanied by Fr Peter Philips, a fellow historian, was in Paris examining books from our monastic library lost in our travails in France and now held at the Bibliothèque Nationale. He was able to visit the site of our first monastery on Rue St Jacques, and now the Schola Cantorum.

» Spills and updates

Douai Abbey
Published by in News ·
» The Concerts and Pastoral Programme pages have been updated with the latest information.

» Yesterday Fr Nicholas had a fall when moving between his wheelchair to his walking frame while the brethren were at midday prayer, which meant it was a little while before he was discovered. He has no injuries other than a little soreness and some scrapes, thank God.

» Chapter ends et al

Douai Abbey
Published by in News ·
» On Wednesday were held the final two sessions of the community consultions that flowed from the annual conventual chapter. AFter lunch the non-resident fathers left to return to their various works.

» Also on Wednesday Fr Gabriel had further treament at the Royal Berkshire Hoospital for his ongoing back problems, which will hopefully improve as a result.

» Storm Doris reached the south of England on Thursday, 23 February. However the strong winds of Doris Day did not prevent Fr Abbot travelling to the seminary at Oscott near Birmingham for the investiture of Professor Judith Champ as a Dame of the Order of St Sylvester, a papal honour recognising her work in Catholic hisotircal studies and seminary formation.

» Also on Thursday Fr Hugh left for the University of Exeter in order to give an evening talk at the Catholic Chaplaincy there on martyrdom and holiness.

» Normal Service Resumed

Douai Abbey
Published by in News ·
» With the return of the webmaster from overseas the normal frequency of updates will resume.

» From Monday to Wednesday this week almost the entire community is in residence at Douai for our annual conventual chapter followed by a number of community consultations in preparation for the EBC General Chapter in July. A few days earlier Abbot Edmund arrived from Rome and has spent some extra time with the resident brethren.

» Last Friday the funeral for Fr Paul's father, Clive Gunter, was held in Stratford on Avon. A number of the brethren from both monastery and missions were on hand to support him in the sad duty of celebrating the funeral. It was a silver lining that Fr Paul is now at the nearby parish of Alcester and so was on hand for his father's brief and unexpected last illness. May he rest in peace.

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