Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Retreat and Oblate Weekend at Pluscarden

I had the very great fortune in being able to spend a week on retreat at Pluscarden Abbey last week, returning home last night, during which the oblate master Fr. Martin Birrell OSB had also organised a second "Oblates Weekend".

The first four days were just what I needed - prayer and silent devotions; giving our Lord priority He most assuredly deserves rather than centering my thoughts on my own sinful self.  Kneeling before one of the greatest gifts He gives us, the Blessed Sacrament, is without doubt a grace we should never pass by.

One day whilst wandering around in semi contemplation I made tracks towards one of Fr Benedict the Prior's great loves and knowledge; the apiary.  As you approach the apiary there is a large sign stating BEE-ware ......... but following the adage "a fool rushes in where Angels fear to tread" I ignored the warning.  As I passed each hive, named after towns of Scotland, I became aware of louder droning noises.  Within moments the first attack came and for the first time in many decades, I was roundly stung.  I beat a very hasty retreat and whilst recounting this incident to another oblate over the weekend, himself a very respected apiarist, he smiled knowingly whilst informing me that Pluscarden Abbey bees are well known and greatly feared around the district as the most cantankerous and aggressive bees in the north of Scotland.  I can now attest to the truth of that statement!

During the weekend I was honoured to witness three of our number enter the novitiate of Lay Oblates.  They will now spend a year as novices until, God willing, the make their full Oblation. On Monday morning Fr Martin celebrated Mass and gave a very powerful sermon regarding our lives as lay oblates.  I shall post more fully about the Oblate Weekend once my videos have been edited and other material arrives from Fr Martin.  It is my intention to once again make a DVD of the weekend.  Next year we hope to travel to the Cistercian Abbey on Caldey Island to celebrate 100 years since the Anglican Benedictine monks joined the Catholic Church, and, following directly from this event, Pluscarden was refounded.  Lots of history here but for next year's blog.

Lay Oblates of Pluscarden

Finally, my daughter Fiona is to be married to Stephen on Saturday the 18th of August and I end this post in asking for your prayers for them.  This will be the first marriage in the Forma Extraordinaria in this neck of the woods in many a long year.

Friday, 6 July 2012

New Dawn in Scotland - Rosary Procession

A departure for me really in attending an event organised by a charismatic organisation called New Dawn.  Happy clappy is not my scene but a "call to arms" was received by a fellow Provincial Grand Knight of the K.S.C. so off I went and I am so glad I did!

Yes there was a bit of the raised arms outstretched from the ageing hippies as well as the youth, guitars and swaying bodies, but ignoring that, and as Bishop Toal said in his sermon, "whether we be in the grandest Cathedral, lowliest hovel, outdoors braving the elements or at home, we are all united in  one Faith, one Church".

New Dawn Pilgrimage 2012
Our Lady leads the procession
New Dawn Pilgrimage 2012
Our Lady of Aberdeen

Thursday's main event, in a packed programme of daily proceedings, was a Rosary Pilgrimage walk around St Andrews from the College to the ancient and historic St Andrews Cathedral.  Regretfully the local authorities would not permit the statue of Our Lady of Aberdeen to be carried through the town, nor were we permitted to walk through the main streets, but followed a circuitous path around the outskirts of the town before arriving at the Cathedral ruins.  Perhaps one day when perceived "sensitivities" are no longer a PC [politically correct] requirement, this will be achieved.

I estimate around 5 - 600 people either walked the route or attended Mass which was celebrated by His Excellency Bishop Toal, Bishop of the diocese of Argyll and the Isles.

More photos HERE

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Solemn Pontifical Mass - Edinburgh

Last night I attended what may well be the first Solemn Pontifical High Mass celebrated by a prelate in a very long time in Scotland.  The Mass was of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

His Excellency Bishop Fernando Rifan heads the Apostolic Administration of St John Vianney at Compos, Brazil.  His Eminence Cardinal O'Brien gave permission for Mass to be offered at St Andrew's Church in Ravelston, Edinburgh where Fr. John Emerson FSSP, celebrates Mass each Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation.
Una Voce Scotland - Bishop Rifan Visit 2012
His Excellency delivers a sermon
I recall his previous visit to Scotland a few years ago, at the reception after Mass, he asked us to sing some traditional Scottish melodies.  He sat at the piano and, having listened to a couple of verses of a song, he was able to accompany us almost without fault for the remained of the song.  What a wonderful ear for music.

Una Voce Scotland - Bishop Rifan Visit 2012

Una Voce Scotland - Bishop Rifan Visit 2012

This evening Bishop Rifan is celebrating a Missa Cantata in Glasgow before heading back to England to complete his visit to the U.K.

As usual you may see more photos HERE