Saturday, 28 August 2010

Oblates Weekend - Friday

Oblates arrived throughout the day in time to join with the community at Vespers which commenced at 6 pm.  After Vespers it was time for supper for those residing in the Abbey's guest houses or, for those living outside, either a commute to the nearest chip shop for a decent fish supper (it was Friday after all) or just fast.

Pluscarden Oblate Weekend  Summer 2010
Fr Martin Birrell OSB - Oblate Master

Compline followed at 8 pm. and then the first conference of the weekend at 8.30 pm. This was a general hello, well met and general introduction from our Oblate Master Fr Martin followed by a short DVD outlining the historical background of the English Province of the Subiaco Congregation which may be viewed below.

Pluscarden Abbey is part of the English Province of the Subiaco Congregation; in itself part of the  universal  Order of St Benedict.  Initially the English Province was exactly that, but now with Houses in Scotland, America, Mexico and Ghana it is more linguistically an English Province than geographical.


This subject was then enlarged upon by the Abbot Visitor of the Province, Fr Anselm Atkinson, Superior of St Mary's Monastery, Petersham, USA using two 30 minute DVDs especially commissioned for the occasion. St Mary's Monastery is a daughter house of Pluscarden and Fr Anselm is a monk from this Abbey.

It is my intention to include these two recordings in the media discs I will be producing of the weekend's conferences.  Details in how to obtain a copy will be published at a later date - most probably via Fr Martin's next Oblate newsletter as these posts are mainly for fellow Oblates of Pluscarden Abbey.  However if approval is given, and there is a demand, I may make them available (for a monetary donation to Pluscarden) to all readers.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Oblates Weekend - Format & Communal Prayers

Over 50 Oblates attended the weekend with a number of us commuting daily as both male and female guest houses were naturally full.  Yours truly was able to find a rather nice guest house in the lovely wee city of Eilginn (Elgin in English) approximately 10 miles from the Abbey.  The pleasure of early morning and late evening travel was enhanced by the splendour of mother nature plus avoiding a cow which had escaped from a field, skittish deer on the road whose movements you could not second guess, pheasants, red squirrels, foxes, hare, rabbit and, not for the squeamish reader, crows feasting on road kill.

As one would expect in a monastic setting we too followed the routine of the Pluscarden community.  Our days began with optional Vigils (4.45a.m.), Lauds (6a.m.) and Prime (7.30a.m.) - Mass and all other hours were deemed "expected to attend".  Pluscarden Abbey is one of the few Benedictine communities in the U.K. which continues to use Latin throughout its liturgy.  Booklets were kindly prepared so we could follow the Office of the Hours and Mass in Latin / English.  There were three conferences each day - morning, afternoon and evening with free time available for individual spiritual reflection.  Very wholesome meals of lunch and supper were provided by the Abbey in our marquee which doubled up as our refectory.  Our day ended usually around 9.30p.m.

Pluscarden Grace before Lunch
Superior:  Oculi omnium
All:  in te sperant, Domine, et tu das illis escam in tempore opportuno, aperis tu manum tuam, et imples omne animal in beneplacito.
Superior:  Kyrie eleison
All:  Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison.
Superior:  Pater Noster....(silently until).... et ne nos inducas in tentationem
All:  Sed libera nos a malo.
Superior:  Benedic, Domine, nos et haec tua dona, quae de tua largitate sumus sumpturi. Per Christum Dominum nostram. 
All:  Amen

Pluscarden Grace after Lunch
Superior:  Confiteantur
All:  tibi Domine, omnia opera tua; et sancti tui benedicant tibi.
Superior:  Laudate Dominum omnes gentes, collaudate eum, omnes populi.
All:  Quoniam confirmata est super nos misericordia eius et veritas Domini manet in aeternum.
Superior:  Gloria Patri et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
All:  Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper, et in saeculo saeculorum. Amen.
Superior:  Agimus tibi gratius, omnipotens Deus, pro universis
All:  Amen
Superior:  Tribuat Dominus benefactoribus nostris pro terrenis caelestia, pro temporalibus sempiterna.
All:  Amen

Pluscarden Grace before Supper
Superior:  Edent pauperes
All:  et saturabuntur, et laudabunt Dominum, qui requirunt eum: Vivant corda eorum in saeculum.
Superior:  Kyrie eleison
All:  Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison.
Superior:  Pater Noster....(silently until).... et ne nos inducas in tentationem
All:  Sed libera nos a malo.
Superior:  Ad coenam vitae aeternae perducat nos rex aeternae gloriae.
All:  Amen

Pluscarden Grace after Supper
Superior:  Deus, veniae largitor et humanae salutis amator, quaesumus clementiam tuam, ut nostrae Congregationis fratres, sarores, propinquos et benefactores qui ex hoc saeculo transierunt, beata Maria semper Virgine intercedente eum omnibus Sanctis tuis, ad perpetuae beatitudinis consortium pervenire concedas.  Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
All:  Amen.
Superior:  Memoriam
All:  fecit mirabilium suorum misericors et miserator Dominus.  Escam dedit timentibus se.  Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper, et in saeculo saeculorum. Amen.
Superior:  Benedictus Deus in donis suis, et sanctus in omnibus operibus suis, qui vivit et regnat in saecula saeculorum
All:  Amen.
Superior:  Tribuat Dominus benefactoribus nostris pro terrenis caelestia, pro temporalibus sempiterma.
All:  Amen

Prayer in Memory of St Benedict
Standing in the oratory,
Benedict, whom God so loved
strengthened with holy communion,
and supporting his failing limbs
in the arms of his disciples,
died praying with his hands raised to heaven,
and his soul was seen to ascend heavenwards
on a path strewn with rich coverings
and shining with innumerable lights.

V  In the sight of God you appeared most worthy,
R  Therefore he clothed you with beauty.

Let us pray.
O God, who adorned the precious death of our Holy Father Saint Benedict with so many and such great privileges; grant, then, that when we come to die, we may be defended from the snares of the enemy, by the blessed presence of him whose memory we recall.  Though Christ our Lord.
R  Amen
May the sweet name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that of His most holy Mother, be praised for ever.
R  Amen.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Pluscarden Oblates Weekend


Readers know that I am a bit of a wanderer and have blogged about places far and wide but nevertheless I have not lost sight of the fact I am an Lay Oblate of Pluscarden Abbey.  It was therefore with great joy and deep gratitude to Father Abbot, the Community at Pluscarden and our venerable oblate master Dom Martin that an Oblates Weekend was arranged for the weekend 31st July until 2nd August.

The meeting came about as a consequence of the Oblates World Congress in Rome in 2009.   Our Abbey was represented by the indomitable Margaret Coll whose report on the Congress was included in a previous edition of the Oblate Newsletter.  Also in attendance over the weekend was a committee member of Benedictine Oblates (UK), Jane Coll (and NO for the hundredth time, I'm not Margaret Coll's sister).  Look at this photo and then you can make up your own mind.

I shall try to précis most of the talks given over the weekend although this will most certainly require at least two further entries to do this most memorable experience some degree of justice.  At the behest of Fr Martin I took up both my camera and camcorder to "record" the highlights (and there were many).   Some of the photographs may be accessed HERE but I regret that due to the very restrictive nature of YouTube (maximum of 10 minute clips) I cannot post the videos as most talks were in the region of 45 minutes to 1 hour plus a Q & A session.

All is not lost however as it is my intention to produce a DVD containing the 4 main talks and make these available to Oblates on request; subject of course to Fr. Abbot's approval.  Let me say Fr. Abbot's talk on Prophecy, Priesthood and Kingship is a definite must hear! And no, I did not write that just to ensure a positive response from Fr. Abbot - honestly.

Owning to a very full diary over the next couple of weeks I shall have to leave you all on tenterhooks as my ability to blog will be non existent (I shall be bobbing about on the high seas).