Thursday, 27 October 2011


Thursday the 20th of October saw me flying off to Germany to witness the tonsuring of seminarians attending the FSSP Seminary in Witgrazbad.  The ceremony was scheduled for Saturday morning but earlier that week each of the chosen seminarians was incorporated into the Society.  The incorporation involved, among other things, completing a submission as to why they should be accepted into the Fraternity.  This exercise, I am led to believe, requires to be completed on an annual basis until they reach the diaconate.

Saturday dawned with blue skies and a temperature of minus 3C as we set off for Das Munster Unserer Lieben Frau (The Minster of Our Lady) in Lindau on the Bodensee. 

 His Excellency Vitus Huonder, Bishop of Chur
awaits entrance of the aspirants

In the Fraternal Society of Saint Peter tonsuring is given to seminarians during the early part of their second year, the first being more of a discernment year, and includes clothing the seminarian in a soutanne, cincture and wearing the roman collar.

Those to be tonsured process into church

 Sprinkled with holy water

Tonsurants process into the church again,
this time clothed in their soutannes

The soutanne denotes the modern day cloth of a cleric, the cincture symbolically recalls the "girding of the loins" whilst the roman collar that of the "yoke" around the neck - all reminding the wearer of his giving himself completely to God and accepting the weight of responsibility this brings.

The moment of Tonsure

Locks of hair are cut from the front, back and sides of the head taking on the shape of a cross to remind the seminarian of the Christ Crucified.

The clothing in the surplice

A Bishop's Blessing
A happy Group Photograph

As usual I have uploaded additional photogaphs which may be accessed HERE

Please pray for all those tonsured -
Laurent Dejean
Manu Ihou
Edouard Laurant
Henri Lefer
Mark Miles
Alois Nespor
Jaromir Palka
Vasily Prusakov
Gregoire Remusat
Mateusz Rutkowski
Stepan Srubar
Nicolas Telisson
Hilaire Vernier
Roland Weiss

Friday, 7 October 2011

Abbatial Blessing

Monday the 3rd of October was a very auspicious day for Abbot Anselm and the community of Pluscarden Abbey.  Father Abbot was to receive his Solemn Abbatial Blessing from the Bishop of the diocese.  Not just any Bishop but Father Abbot's predecessor; His Excellency Bishop Hugh Gilbert O.S.B.  A very rare occurrence indeed.

Abbot Anselm Atkinson O.S.B.
I was very fortunate to receive an invitation to attend and so, after picking up a fellow oblate enroute, had a very pleasant early morning drive to the Abbey.   Things looked very hectic but under the direction of the new prior Fr Benedict (ex army officer and gentleman), the organisation and last minute rehearsals were soon dealt with.

Mass was without doubt the highlight of the day; a very solemn and devout liturgy with something I do not often experience at Novus Ordo Masses - contemplative prayerful silence.  Bishop Hugh's Homily, a eulogy from His Eminence Cardinal O'Brien plus a response from Abbot Anselm were a joy to listen to; Br Michael was in excellent voice as cantor with Abbots, Abbesses, monks, nuns, religious and diocesan priests plus interdenominational guests also joining the procession into the Abbey Church.

Fr Abbot says a few wise words to the Bishop's amusement whilst the Cardinal looks on.

After Mass there was, in best Benedictine tradition, a bun fest where everyone ate, drank and chatted meeting old friends and new.

As usual I took some photos but as I was restricted in where I was permitted to go I was unable to capture the actual blessing - not that this detracted in any way from the day I hasten to add.  Being there was more than enough for me.