Last weekend I travelled to Prinknash Abbey near Gloucester to attend my first meeting of the UK Oblates Group onto which I was co-opted earlier this Autumn. The Group only formed in recent years and is still finding its way with, regrettably, some of the Benedictine Abbeys in the UK still eyeing this well meaning group with suspicion which, among other desires, wish to assist fellow lay oblates serve their own communities in a spirit of collegiality and companionship.
An example of this is in Thomas Brunnhuber, (back row second right), taking up the unenviable task as the UK national coordinator for the International Oblates Congress being held in Rome during 2013. Please visit the website for further information.
I have always been keen to visit Prinknash Abbey as it was from there that Pluscarden abbey was refounded in 1948 and regret not seeing it in its heyday when it held over forty monks. Now their numbers have reduced somewhat with the age profile such that half the community are 80 or over in years. Having said that the Benedictine ethos remains burning brightly as the go about their Ora et Labora. Father Abbot is the chief incense maker sending the world famous Prinknash incense in various grades around the globe. The community has returned to its original buildings at St Peter's Grange and it was there I stayed in the guest wing during my visit.
Inside the Chapel are some wonderful murals painted around the walls; truly poingnant simplicity at its best. The photograph of the Crucifixion below is startling and is positioned above the main door so as you exit it is another reminder what our Lord did for us.
The Abbey is also fortunate in having two priest monks who regulary offer the Sacrifice of the Mass in the Tridentine Rite, or to be politically correct, the Forma Extraordinaria. Whilst there the redoubtable Dom Damian OSB offered such a wonderful Mass.
As usual more photos from my visit may be seen HERE