The Re-Dedication of the Pluscarden Abbey Church

5 November 2015 was a day of great blessing for the Pluscarden community and for the many friends who were able to join us, in the Solemn Liturgy of Re-Dedication of our Church. Somebody remarked that everything on this day which could have gone well, did go well!

A beautiful glossy Booklet was produced for the Liturgy, including all its texts and chants, with translations, explanatory notes, and illustrations. Download here (8MB). A printed version will be available once our shop launches, sign up for updates on this. The Booklet also had an Introduction, setting out the meaning, history and structure of the Ceremony, together with its particular relevance within the long history of the Pluscarden Church.

Our former Abbot, now our Bishop, Dom Hugh Gilbert presided at the Mass, which began at 11.00 a.m. and concluded at 1.45 p.m. Read Bishop Hugh's homily. Around three hundred people attended the Mass; they included Bishops Joseph Toal of Motherwell and William Nolan of Galloway; some thirty priests; two deacons; representatives of other monastic communities, male and female; Religious Sisters; the Lord Lieutenant of Moray, and representatives of the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Episcopal Church, including Bishop Mark Strange of Moray, Ross and Caithness. Ten servers, drawn from both the diocese and our own community ensured that the ceremonies flowed with reverence, dignity and good order. 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. 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.

It was friends of the community also who looked after the catering arrangements, with a splendid lunch for all served in a large marquee set up on the front lawn; not without the stirring music of the Pipes.

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.

All photos by Michal Wachucik / Abermedia.