A DAY TO REMEMBER that could not have gone better – that was the view from the Prior of Pluscarden Abbey as he reflected on the re-dedication of their church on November 5.
Dom Benedict Hardy OSB provided his personal reflection on what was a historic event for the Moray retreat, welcoming remarks that it was a day when everything that could have gone well, did go well.
The re-dedication was one of the most significant events in the history of the Abbey that dates back to 1230, and saw members of the public join the resident Monks for the service conducted by Bishop Hugh Gilbert, the former Abbot of Pluscarden.
Around three hundred people attended Thursday’s Mass – including Bishops Joseph Toal of Motherwell and William Nolan of Galloway. Benedict Hardy said: “There was also some thirty priests, two deacons and representatives of other monastic communities, male and female.
“Religious Sisters and the Lord Lieutenant of Moray attended as did representatives of the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Episcopal Church, including Bishop Mark Strange of Moray, Ross and Caithness.”
Dom Benedict feared that with many suffering from seasonal colds the singing might not be quite up to standard: “A most unpleasant and very widespread cold bug was attacking many people at the time, especially in their throats – there had been real apprehension that our singers might be prevented from uttering a sound, but in the event the music of the Mass never faltered.
“In preparation for the Day, the central doorway between Transepts and Chancel was re-structured, with the setting up of a strikingly fine new Tabernacle in the centre of the Sanctuary.
“Many friends of the community contributed notably and selflessly to the preparations. The entire Church was cleaned, all the way up to the roofs – including the removal of ancient cobwebs at ceiling height.
“Existing Church furniture was cleaned and polished, or upgraded, or removed, and fresh Altar linen was made. Lavish floral displays adorned both Transepts and Chancel. Those seated in the Transepts were able to follow the ceremonies around the Altar and in Choir via a video camera link, and a sound system that functioned almost, if not quite, 100% of the time.”
Friends of the Pluscarden community took care of the catering arrangements for the big day helping to provide a “splendid” lunch served up on a marquee on the front lawn of the Abbey against a backdrop of pipe music.
Dom Benedict said: “Surely the Liturgy of this day was among the greatest in Pluscarden’s history, comparing in importance with the formal opening on 8 September 1948.
“All present commented on the great happiness and beauty of the occasion. Praise then and thanksgiving are due to God, source of all blessings, in whose honour, and for the upbuilding of whose Church, all this was done.”