On the Solemnity of the Annunciation, our friend Brother Oliver of the Oxford Oratory was ordained to the diaconate. the Abbot attended with Dom Michael, and our Dom Stanislaus joined Br Benedict of the Oratory in chanting the Litany of Saints.
Fr Abbot was in Texas in March to conduct the Canonical Visitation of the Monastery of Thien Tam, near Dallas. The brothers of this community are mostly Vietnamese. They are a daughter house of the Abbey of Christ in the Desert, NM. They are a fine strong young community and should soon, please God, become an autonomous monastery. The brothers treated the visiting abbots to a trip to Houston to see the NASA centre.
Fr Abbot gave a talk as part of the Oxford Oratory Lenten Series on Benedictine Life and Spirituality. The questions ‘from the floor’ were many and lively.
The monks at Farnborough have welcomed various Knights of Malta in recent years, both for their individual retreats and for days of recollection. In January, Fr Abbot, accompanied by Brother Stanislaus, blessed Epiphany Water and presided at Vespers for the Knights at St James, Spanish Place in London.
In December Fr Abbot was in the USA at Mount Savior Monastery in upstate New York, along with Farnborough’s Dom Michael. For the last years he has been the appointed canonical superior of the monastery, and so has responsibility for the community there with the very capable help of the Prior, Br John. Mount Savior is a classic Benedictine community dedicated to prayer and work and the simplicity and beauty of the liturgy. The December visit was to receive the Solemn Vows of Brother Luke, the second solemn profession of 2016.
The monks of St Michael’s Abbey are delighted to learn that the Catholic National Library now has a permanent home. We are pleased to have played our part in securing the future of the collection by giving the library shelter for these last ten years. Bravo to the Trustees, especially Mr Antony Tyler, of the CNL for finding such a happy solution to the question of the library’s future!
We are pleased to announce the dates of our traditional summer organ recital series. The Cavaillé-Coll at Farnborough is a magnificent instrument, and there are some fine musicians coming this summer to help you appreciate the fact! Recitals start at 3pm, and are on the first Sunday of the month. There is no charge, simply a retiring collection.
Christmas was celebrated with the usual splendour at the Abbey this year. The ceremonies went very well and the music was lovely. We were pleased to have a truly large attendance at the Midnight Mass.
On the 1st of January, Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and Octave Day of Christmas we enjoyed a company of monks form Chilworth Abbey, which belongs to our Congregation and Province. We had a great day together and enjoyed a lovely luncheon cooked by our Brother Michael.
The Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary are a community of sisters living under the Rule of St Benedict. They settled in Birmingham after their reception into Full Communion with the Catholic Church last year. Fr Abbot recently celebrated Mass for the nuns and gave them a little talk about the Benedictine Confederation, its origins and structure as well as explaining to them the history and current state of our own Congregation. The Sisters are within the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.