Triduum Retreat at Ampleforth Abbey
'The Lord has risen from the dead, as he said; let us all exult and rejoice, for he reigns for all eternity, alleluia' (Introit for Easter Monday)
On Easter Monday morning, after mass, the monastic Community waved goodbye to the last of our Triduum guests. Almost 500 visitors stayed with us for the annual Triduum retreat, in addition to the local people who also joined us for the great liturgies of the Sacred Triduum.
This year the retreat conferences were given by Fr Gabriel. His talks focussed on 'Prayer in the Rule of St Benedict', while weaving in the great themes of Holy Week and Easter. The texts of his conferences can be found by clicking HERE. Supplementary talks were also given by several other monks: Fr Henry (on Paul's Letter to the Romans), Fr Dominic (Gerard Manley Hopkins), Fr Oswald ('long-haul discipleship'), Fr Andrew (Martin Luther and Christian unity) and Br Ambrose (the Mystery of Suffering).
Meanwhile, the lay Benedictine Community of St Aelred ran a varied programme of activities for children, plus two others for older and younger teenagers. As a considerable number of university students always join us for the Triduum, an extra programme of sessions was laid on for them this year. Fr Kevin, Fr Chad and the Community of St Columba (members of the Manquehue Apostolic Movement) ran guided lectio divina sessions for students and offered brief guidance on making the most out of the rich liturgies of the Triduum.
These liturgies were, of course, at the centre of the Triduum retreat. The monastic community was privileged to share these great moments of the Church's year with so many guests, many of whom even attended the early morning Office of Tenebrae on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. At the other liturgies, the music was greatly enhanced by the presence of the Arcadian Singers, as well as the enthusiastic singing of our visitors (well rehearsed in Fr Alexander's singing practices).
With opportunities as well for confession and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Triduum was certainly a time of spiritual intensity. But it was also an occasion for friendship, celebration and mutual encouragement. We are grateful to God for all that we have received in these days and, as Fr Gabriel said at the Easter Monday mass, our guests can be assured of our prayers and gratitude for helping to make our celebration of these days so special. We are particularly grateful to all those who contributed to the liturgy and the retreat programmes, to the Hospitality team, the caterers, Housekeeping, Estates, IT and everyone else who made the 2017 Triduum Retreat possible.
And now, to quote Fr Gabriel's Easter Monday homily, 'From the experience of Easter we go home. In many ways it is good to go home, but I know you face difficulties and challenges there too, that will not necessarily have gone away... But remember Jesus says: go, leave for Galilee, you will see me there. ... This is the promise of Jesus to his disciples and it is also his promise to us, always a little bit in front of us, ‘You will see me’. It is a strong word, this future and assured ‘will’... So let us not be afraid, but rather go forward in faith and trust...'