Saturday, 19 March 2011

Douai Abbey Welcomes A&B Deacons and Wives on Retreat

A&B Deacons and Wives with Br Christopher in the Abbey Church
Last weekend 20 or so Arundel and Brighton Deacons and Wives travelled to Douai Abbey near Reading for a retreat. We were warmly welcomed by the Guestmaster, Br Christopher who is a deacon himself. The Abbey now has wonderfully new guest facilities which provided a pleasant and comfortable environment for the retreat.

On the Friday evening we were led in our initial reflection by Bridie Stringer who had recently completed a thesis on the work and role of deacons. It was an interesting and stimulating reflection that gave rise to much discussion. She reminded us that the diaconate is not about 'table service' but a much wide ministry on behalf of the Church which involves liturgy, word and charity.

On the Saturday and the Sunday we were led by Br Christopher and Vincent Malone to reflect on our ministry and to deepen our understanding of it spiritually and personally. Part of the afternoon involved a silent walk in sunshine in the beautiful woods surronding the Abbey. We were also encouraged in the homily at Saturday morning Mass to make Christ the centre of all they did.

Being a Catholic do many of the deacons and their wives met at the end of the day to socialise with a glass of wine or beer and share conversations and reflections on the diaconate and their roles in the Church.

The final act of the retreat was to share in the Sunday liturgy of the Abbey celebrated with prayerfulness and joy, encouraged to see Deacon Br Christopher participating fully in the monastic liturgy. We all went away from the weekend inspired and uplifted ready for the rest of Lent and the joys of Easter.

Deacon Mark Woods

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