Oblate Letter 25 Lent 2015

     “Nothing Dearer than  Christ”
                             Oblate letter of the Pluscarden Benedictines,
                                    Elgin, Moray, Scotland. IV30 8UA.                    
                                   Ph. (01343) 890257 fax 890258

                                   Website www.pluscardenabbey.org
                                    DMB series  No 25
                                 Oblate Letter Lent 2015
Monastic voice:        
“The most important need in the Christian world today is this inner truth nourished by this Spirit of contemplation: the praise and love of God, the longing for the coming of Christ, the thirst for the manifestation of God's glory, his truth, his justice, his Kingdom in the world. These are all characteristically "contemplative" and eschatological aspirations of the Christian heart, and they are the very essence of monastic prayer. Without them our apostolate is more for our own glory than for the glory of God.
Without this contemplative orientation we are building churches not to praise him but to establish more firmly the social structures, values and benefits that we presently enjoy. Without this contemplative basis to our preaching, our apostolate is no apostolate at all, but  mere proselytizing to insure universal conformity with our own national way of life.
Without contemplation and interior prayer the Church cannot fulfil her mission to transform and save mankind. Without contemplation, she will be reduced to being the servant of cynical and worldly powers, no matter how hard her faithful may protest that they are fighting for the Kingdom of God. Without true, deep contemplative aspirations, without a total love for God and an uncompromising thirst for his truth, religion tends in the end to become an opiate.”
“The Climate of Monastic Prayer”—Fr. Louis (Thomas) Merton OCSO

“Out of the false peace that is imposed by means of an arbitrary system comes nothing but further conflict, resentment, hatred, war. We live on the brink of disaster because we do not know how to let life alone. We do not respect the living and fruitful contradictions and paradoxes of which true life is full. We destroy them, or try to destroy them, with our obsessive and absurd systematizations. Whether we do this in the name of matter or in the name of spirit makes little difference in the end. There are atheists who fight God and atheists who claim to believe in Him: what they both have in common is the hatred of life, the fear of the unpredictable, the dread of grace, and the refusal of every spiritual gift.
Nor can I complacently say "they" and blame others as if I were not to blame. The evil is in us all. It is the blindness of a world that wants to end itself. It is the blindness from which we must pray with tears and anguish that we may be delivered. It is the blindness with which we must never cease to struggle as long as we are in the world. Those who give up the struggle are themselves in turmoil, and impose their turmoil on the whole human race. Those who continue to struggle are at peace. If God wills, they can pacify the world. For he who accepts the struggle in the name of Christ is delivered from its power by the victory of Christ.
My first and last words in this book are, then, to summarize whatever "witness" these pages may contain. When a man enters a monastery he has to stand before the community, and formally responds to a ritual question: "Quid petis?" 'What do you ask?" His answer is not that he seeks a happy life, or escape from anxiety, or freedom from sin, or, moral perfection, or the summit of contemplation. The answer is that he seeks mercy, "The mercy of God and of the Order." Whatever else it may do, this book should bear witness to the fact that I have found what I sought and continue to find it. The Order has been patient with me, God has been merciful to me, and more, countless readers have given me a gift of friendship and of love which is to me precious beyond estimation.
These readers sometimes write to me, and generally I am not able to reply. But here at least let me assure them of my gratitude, my love, and my prayers. They are in my silence, in my Mass, and in my solitude. I hope we will be together in Paradise.” “First and Last Thoughts: an author’s preface” from “A Thomas Merton Reader” ed. by McDonnell---Fr. Louis (Thomas) Merton OCSO

          Fr. Louis (Thomas) Merton OCSO—Cistercian of the Strict Observance ( Trappist monk) must be one of the better known monks of the modern era trying to follow the Rule of our Holy Father St. Benedict like us but according to the constitutions of the “Reformed” Benedictines, Trappist, Cistercians (like Nunraw Abbey). Only he could have answered whether he was first a writer and second a monk. I tend to think he would have asserted that he was first a monk. Be that as it may he was called to the monastic life as a writer just as Peter was called as a fisherman. Peter became a fisher of men, Fr. Louis (his religious name) became a fisher of men for Christ, for the monastic vocation and for contemplation, through his books.
The Monastic Voices above are both Merton’s and both final in different ways. The first piece on the “Climate of Monastic Prayer” is the actual ending of the last book Merton prepared for publication before his untimely, accidental death, probably through touching faulty wiring. It is his providential last words as it were, on the fundamental importance of contemplative prayer to the Church, to humanity, to the individual Christian and monk. In its own way it seems to echo the thought of St Thérèse that contemplation and the life of the monk is the “heart” of the Church and without that contemplation the love that is the Life of God dwindles in the heart of the Church and her apostolate. But the last sentence (above) of Fr. Louis’s published works sounds a strange note: “Without true, deep contemplative aspirations, without a total love for God and an uncompromising thirst for his truth, religion tends in the end to become an opiate” At the time this was written it must have been highly provocative seeming to echo Karl Marx’s “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people” That is not fair to Merton. He is saying that religion essentially MUST be salted with prayer, and that contemplative prayer. It is not a decorative extra. Still the writer in Fr. Louis cannot avoid or eschew the well-turned phrase, the trenchant word, even at the risk of sometimes misleading ambiguities that might hinder his message.
But Fr. Louis Merton filled the monasteries with monks and called oblates to their oblate lives. The tree is known by its fruit our Lord teaches us and so it is with Fr. Louis’s good fruit. This brings us to our second quotation.
The second quotation is from Merton’s deliberate, meditated, planned, intentional last words from the preface of a then comprehensive reader of his works. It is meant as his postscript to his life and in many ways his intended wisdom for any monk, any oblate, any Christian:
 “'What do you ask?" His answer is not that he seeks a happy life, or escape from anxiety, or freedom from sin, or, moral perfection, or the summit of contemplation. The answer is that he seeks mercy, "The mercy of God and of the Order." Whatever else it may do, this book should bear witness to the fact that I have found what I sought and continue to find it. The Order has been patient with me, God has been merciful to me, and more…..”
The delightful peace and joy that is the “pearl of great price” for which we are prepared to sacrifice everything is God’s superabundant loving mercy. As imperfect and sinners we have this daily, pilgrim necessity of seeking God’s mercy. As Our Holy Father, Pope Francis reminds us, God is always ready to show His mercy to us if we seek it--- if we seek it. God our loving Father never tires of showing His mercy to us—but we sometimes tire of seeking God’s mercy.
From the whole of his lifetime’s valuable writings it is the mercy of God that Fr. Louis Merton singled out for us his readers as his bequest, the pearl of great price that he treasured and passed on as the essence of his message as a spiritual guide. Our Holy Father St. Benedict gave us the key to that mercy in his little guide for we beginner’s namely the ever-growing humility to keep seeking the treasure of God’s mercy each and every day. Our Holy Father St Benedict help us! Amen.
Books and Media      Fr. Louis (Thomas) Merton wrote over 60 readable books of all kinds and poetry –some of his better known and more highly valued books are:

·         The Seven Storey Mountain, 1948
  • The Tears of the Blind Lions, 1949
  • Waters of Siloe, 1949
  • Seeds of Contemplation, 1949
  • The Ascent to Truth, 1951
  • Bread in the Wilderness, 1953
  • The Sign of Jonas, 1953
  • The Last of the Fathers, 1954
  • No Man is an Island, 1955
  • The Living Bread, 1956
  • The Silent Life, 1957
  • Thoughts in Solitude, 1958

The above quoted work “A Thomas Merton Reader” edited by McDonnell 1962 No 62-1637 published by Harcourt, Brace &World Inc., New York, gives a good introductory selection approved by the author himself. This should be available second hand. Many would begin with his autobiographical works but biographies might usefully be consulted as well because the Order edited some of his own autobiographies-- worth noting in fairness to Fr. Louis.

Prayer Intentions  For our new Oblates, Mrs. Lilian ANNE Bailey, James PAUL Lavery, Cyprian FRANCIS Lee, Joseph EDWARD Staton; new novices, Stephen Connolly, William Moir, Kevin Shinkwin, Rev. Angus Macleod; new postulants including, Fr. Andrew Clark, John Gleeson and Albert Paterson ( whose 90 year old mother is in hospital after a fall). For Abbot Anselm's and Bishop Hugh's intentions. For vocations to Pluscarden, St Mary's, Petersham and Kristo Buase. Br. Adrian and Br. Finbar, health.
 The repose of the souls?
Please pray for Br. Gabriel who is in his Silver Jubilee year of Profession and for Br. Martin of KB who has just completed his 2 years preparation for farther vows and returned to his monastery with all our blessings and prayers following him.
For Brothers Joseph and John who have come to us from Tien Phuoc priory in Vietnam for two years for their English and for a broadening  of their monastic experience.
For the repose of the soul of Robert Cantafio’s father and Norbert cairns.

Please pray for our sick Oblates and their relatives & especially , Mgr. Robert after his hip replacement “recovering from his recovery!” and for his older brother Canon Bernard in his 91st year), Eileen Grant's son Robin recovering , Sarah Drever’s husband Leslie, , Mrs. Allie Brien, Brigitte Mackay and Maggie Barrett, Paul Miller, Margaret Rawcliffe( and for the repose of her sister Veronica’s soul) , Mrs. Gertrude Corker’s two daughters, Bob Barr, Brian Milne, Gail Schmitz continued improvement, Martin's wife Mary, Maurice Dufficy, Mary Bradley recovering, Maureen’s sister Dorothy, Leonora, Graham Dunbar, Alison Donald, Beth Fraser and her husband Chris, Bob Clark, Nick MaCrae’s son, Martin MaCrae battling illness, Dr. David Paterson and his wife Angela, Jacqui’s daughter Sally, Hester, Poppy Sinclair, Ian Brodie and his twin brother, for Pat Foster, Johan Baillie, James and Helen Timoney, both very ill, Carolyn Boardman and  especially her son Malcolm, Martin Farrelly and especially for his wife Val making  a good recovery from her recent heart attack , David Braine of Aberdeen,   foremost philosopher in Scotland( read his books if you are up to the challenge!), Susan Stephen, Evelyn, Violet, Sheila and all friends of the Abbey and for all oblates, and all the sick, and those who care for them--and for Josaphat our sponsored seminarian. 

Events----present and past
Oblate Retreat here at Pluscarden first weekend of Lent February 2015 led by Fr. Abbot, our Abbot Anselm, as before.
Friday 20th- Monday 23rd February 2015: book with Fr. Bede (may get a cancellation—no harm in trying!) ----or attend daily. As before—if attending traveling in each day then please bring your own sandwiches and flask—Lent!
Fr. Abbot’s Lenten Retreat Conferences in the Church:
1.  Saturday 21st February 10.30 am
2.  Saturday 21st  February 3.00 pm
3.  Sunday 22nd     February  3.00 pm

1 - 6 APRIL 2015(Please spread the word among your families and friends)
The Abbot and monks of Pluscarden Abbey invite young people (aged 18-30) to celebrate the Liturgy with them from Wednesday 1st April of Holy Week until Easter, 5th March 2015 (6th April Monday)
Our guests will stay in the abbey guest houses. Those taking part will be able to gain deeper insight into the Christian life, monastic life and the Abbey. There is no charge for staying; but if anyone wishes to make a donation, this will be gratefully received. “If you are interested in joining the Pluscarden community in celebrating Easter, contact Fr Bede Kierney OSB by email or at:

Fr. Bede Kierney O.S.B.
Pluscarden Abbey,
IV30 8UA”

Pluscarden: Return "Intermonasterial" exchange this time of Prinknash to Pluscarden. Fr. Martin McLaughlin and 14 of their Prinknash Oblates will be here on retreat 1st -5th May 2015 (arriving and departing) During that time you are invited to:
1.  Saturday Retreat talk from Fr. Martin Birrell in the Church, Saturday, 2nd May at 11.15 am
2.  Sunday Sit-down lunch, their Oblates and our Oblates in the Pluscarden Village Hall (green wooden building with parking, past the Kirk turn-off on the Pluscarden Elgin side)12.55 for 1.00 pm approx., Sunday 3rd May 2015. You are invited. Please let me know as soon as possible by post or my email oblatemaster@pluscardenabbey.org     if you think you are coming and your spouse etc for the numbers (essential) (They fed us very well at Prinknash—we’ve promised not to be outdone so your cash donations made out to “Pluscarden Abbey” are cordially requested—envelope: “Fr. Martin, Oblate Meal” and address as at head of the Oblate Letter, please.) You can come even if you can’t donate and you can donate even if you can’t come! I don’t want to be left with “egg on my face!”----The Prinknash Oblates are having an outing too!
3.  Monday Final Retreat talk from Fr. Martin B., Monday 4th May at 11.15 am in the Church

•Pentecost Lectures Fr. Erik Varden 26th -28th May 2015—St Scholastica’s as before pm Tues, am & pm Wed, am Thurs.
•National Pilgrimage in honour of St John Ogilvie being held in Keith.
WEB turveyabbey.org.uk
5th National Inter-Abbey Retreat ( arranged by the UK Oblate Team) for Benedictine Oblates being held at Douai Abbey 4-6th September— Fr.Gervase Holdaway, OSB Oblatemaster of Douai on “ What does it mean to be an Oblate in 2015?” To book email Stephen Day on day.sj@virgin.net or tel. 01453 860367

From the INTERMONASTERIAL EXCHANGE( AT PRINKNASH) PRINKNASH/PLUSCARDEN 12-14 JULY 2014 LAST YEAR—Our Oblate John Mackinnon’s presentation at it to his fellow-Oblatesfollows:-
To begin my presentation I would like to just say a little about myself, who I am and my experience as an oblate of Pluscarden Abbey near Elgin, Morayshire, Scotland. 
I have been married for 39 years and have three grown up children. Catriona, the eldest, is 31, happily married and a primary schoolteacher; David, second in line, 30 years of age in August this year, works for the Royal College of Surgeons, and is getting married next May. Katherine, the youngest at 29, works as a policy officer for the GLA, and is also getting married next year, in the autumn.
 Initially trained as a primary schoolteacher, I have been involved in education for over 40 years. I gained an MA in Education from London University, and an MBA from Lincoln, and went on to lead 5 primary schools in London, and later worked as an educational consultant in the Middle East before retiring from full time education, allowing me to spend time doing voluntary work travelling, visiting my spiritual home Pluscarden Abbey, and enjoying watching and participating in sport. I’ve been involved in supporting development projects in the Philippines, Bangladesh and Sierra Leone, and more recently an educational project in Cambodia, where I’ve worked as a teacher of English, on a voluntary basis, an donated funds to support the building of additional classrooms.

My own personal mission statement is as follows:
“To strive to show God’s love to those whom I meet in my daily walk through life, without seeking reward or favour;  to be guided by my principles which are based on Gospel values, respect for oneself and one’s neighbour, and a desire to communicate God’s Love to others.”

I was born in 1948 the year Pluscarden Abbey was refounded. I came to know of the Abbey through a friend of mine whose parents were both oblates. Michael invited me to join him on retreat at the Abbey the summer following my graduation as a primary schoolteacher, and having booked a week’s retreat with Fr Camillus, the then guestmaster, I duly set off on my motorbike from Glasgow, where I was living at the time to begin my retreat.
If only life was so simple! Half way to the Abbey my bike broke down, it was late evening, I was in a small village in the middle of nowhere and the local garage was closed for the night.  Luckily I met a neighbour who tried to fix my bike, then offered to provide accommodation for me until the following day.  After supper and breakfast he took me down to the garage and facilitated repairs to the bike.  On leaving his home, his wife offered me a packed lunch to take with me on my journey.  This family’s kindness, complete strangers as they were, has stayed with me throughout my life. They enabled me to reach my destination safely.  I still feel the hand of the Holy Spirit at work in ensuring I arrived at Pluscarden Abbey.
Pluscarden Abbey I now regard as my spiritual home.  I remember, in 1970, the Abbot, Dom Alfred, Father Giles, Prior, Father Camillus, Guestmaster, Father Maurus, Oblatemaster, and numerous other monks who I encountered from time to time, as if it were yesterday. There is a certain spirituality about the Abbey, which inspired me then and continues to inspire me today.  Every time I visit Pluscarden I feel a connection with the Holy Spirit and there is always some problem/issue which needed to be resolved and I am always guided to make the right decisions following my retreat there.  I would arrive at the Abbey at the beginning of the week with a burning issue concerning a member of my family, my work, a health problem etc. and by the end of the week I would know with certainty how I was going to deal with it.  The Holy Spirit has never let me down, and I always leave a better person than when I arrived.
I have learn to “Listen” – to shut out the clutter, and cacophony of daily life – and find the space (and TIME) to hear God’s voice in the silence of my heart. I believe that God, through the Holy Spirit, calls out to all of us, but sometimes we don’t HEAR HIM, because we are too preoccupied with our own thoughts! Like Samuel, I repeat constantly:-
“Speak Lord, your servant is listening!”
Sometimes I feel inspiration flowing out from the words of the particular day’s Gospel reading, as if they were meant for me alone! It’s message resonating with some pressing issue in my life. I remember visiting Des Moines, Iowa, USA, on a Fullbright exchange and going to Chicago for the weekend with a friend. It was a Sunday, and we wanted to attend Mass. My friend said that unfortunately we had missed the service. I believed in that instant that we could still go to Mass; that there was a service on. We parked near St Patrick’s cathedral, and on entering, found Mass just about to start. My friend, astonished, said, “How did you know?”
I replied, “The Holy Spirit told me!”

I understand that oblates of St Benedict are Christian individuals who have associated themselves with the Benedictine community in order to enrich their Christian way of life.  Oblates shape their lives by living the wisdom of Christ as interpreted by St Benedict.  They seek God by striving to become holy in their chosen way of life.  By integrating their prayer and work they manifest Christ’s presence in society.  The role of the oblate is to live in the world, to become holy in the world, to do what they can to bring the world to God by being witnesses of Christ, by word and example to those around them.  Oblates concern themselves with striving to be what they are, people of God and temples of the Holy Spirit.  Their prayer life flows from this awareness as is their willingness to offer themselves for the service of God and neighbour to the best of their ability.
For me, becoming an oblate at Pluscarden Abbey was an opportunity to share in a great Benedictine tradition with the only medieval monastery in Britain, still inhabited by monks and being used for its original purpose.  The atmosphere of quiet reflection and of work dedicated to the glory of God is the same now as it was in the 13th century, when a community of monks first came to this part of Morayshire.  Oblates are able to share with the monastic community the sacrifice of the Mass and full Divine Office, sung in the Abbey church in Gregorian chant.  Its position, situated 6 miles SW of Elgin in a secluded glen, surrounded by forest and close to the sea engenders a special atmosphere of peace and tranquillity. I have very fond memories of my time spent at Pluscarden over the years, and the inspiration I have felt from being on retreat there!
I know that Oblation is made with the intention that it should be for life.  As oblates we “preserve in stability” by frequently renewing our commitment in our hearts.  The 21st November is the principal oblate feast and I try to visit Pluscarden Abbey at least once a year to renew my oblation.
The oblate’s promise of “conversion of life” is a ratification of baptismal consecration. It is also a statement that I wish by entering St Benedict’s “school of the Lord’s services’ to make progress In the Christian life, especially through prayer, lectio divina, work and the practice of the virtues, guided by the Holy Spirit.
I remember on one of my first retreats in the early 1970s, I was accommodated in one of the old Nissen huts and was doing some gardening when I noticed a fellow retreatant working nearby.  We started talking and I learnt that he was also a teacher, as it happened. He was Dr Rae the Head Master of Westminster Public school.  He told me that his wife and children were also staying at the monastery and his wife was shortly leaving for Calcutta to work with Mother Theresa. On another occasion I met Graham Dunbar, a local artist, who painted a picture of the Abbey for me to hang on my wall. I have met numerous interesting, and some famous personalities staying at the Abbey over the years, and learnt a great deal from them as a result!  I enjoyed attending the services which are in Latin and the rich singing of the monks in their Gregorian chant.  I used to look forward to coffee after lunch in the Refectory hosted by Fr Camillus, the Guestmaster, where we as a group of retreatants would discuss current affairs and shared many a joke with fellow retreatants and members of the community. 
One of my favourites is the following:
There was a terrible flood and the preacher was trapped on the roof of his house as the waters rose higher.  The preacher was a man of indomitable faith and when two men in a rowing boat came by and offered to rescue him he replied, “No need to bother, I have faith that the Lord will save me.”  Hours passed and the waters rose to the preacher’s waist.  Another rowing boat passed and again rescuers offered, but the preacher simply said, “I do not need rescue, the Lord my God will save me.”  Even more time passed by and the water continued to rise until it was up to the preacher’s neck.  A rescue helicopter swooped down and threw him a line but still the preacher was unswerving in his faith.  “I thank you my sons but my Father in heaven will deliver me from this flood.”  After  a short while the water rose above the preacher’s head and he drowned.  When he arrived in heaven, the preacher was furious. “ Lord” he said “ I was sure you would save me!  Why did you let me drown?”  “I can’t understand it,”  replied God.  “I sent two boats and a helicopter, didn’t you see them?”
I’ve seen enormous changes in Pluscarden Abbey over the years! When I first arrived it was a Priory, with much of the former Abbey still in ruin. Accommodation was quite spartan. There were no modern guesthouses as there are now. Many years later the Abbey looks much like it would have in the 13th century, although not completely restored! It is a magnificent building, with a thriving community, led by the current Abbot, Fr Anselm.
Mealtimes were always very interesting especially if I was staying in the monastery itself and eating in the Refectory with the monks.  The readings are varied incorporating Holy Scripture, the lives of the saints as well as excerpts from Catholic journals.  The meals too were very interesting, depending on who was working in the kitchen that week.  I remember biting into some fruit crumble and feeling something crunch between my teeth.  To my surprise I pulled out half a black beetle.  I am not sure what happened to the other half!

In conclusion I believe that as oblates we have a duty to preserve, live and develop the monastic tradition in our various cultural and individual circumstances; truly the task of a lifetime for us as oblates.  When we visit our monasteries we listen to the word of God and we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us, incorporating the monastic tradition, into our daily lives, so we can leave refreshed and better able to cope with life’s slings and arrows, as we  journey through life. 
As Cardinal Hume used to say to the children in my school, in his homily, following his visits to my school:-
“Remember above all that Jesus LOVES YOU very much! In His eyes you are precious, and very special. Hold firm to His love, and your step will be firm, and will not falter.”
In times of my great need, it was Jesus’ love for me that carried me forward, and enabled me to endure!
I would like to close my presentation with a quotation from Lucius Annaeus Seneca, a famous Roman philosopher:-“Virtue closes the door to no-one. It is open to all, admits all, invites all: freeborn and freedman, slave and king.”
Note from Fr. Martin: I think we will all see John’s infectious enthusiasm and one of his inspirations is the following invitation from him that I pass on to you:-
>>Benedictine Shared Prayer Circle<<
There has been a need  felt by some for a shared prayer circle, for a  time to allow oblates to come together using modern communications even though in many different locations, and with varying degrees of health and fitness, perhaps unable to attend meetings, to be able to join in prayer together, to Our Blessed Lord, Our Blessed Lady, and St Benedict, our patron, and to ask for their assistance and blessing in our lives! This notion has been discussed and shared and has also been warmly welcomed.
The idea is to help oblates who might feel lonely or isolated to connect, through prayer, with their brother and sister oblates, and so be part of the Oblate brotherhood of prayer. The prayer schedule is taken from the “Benedictine Prayer Book” (John will let you know which one!) - a breviary, based of course, on the rule of St Benedict, and will be made available to all oblates who wish to sign up, and make a commitment to this form of shared prayer.
There is opportunity for personal intentions, within the schedule, and in this way we are praying together for our own as well as the intentions of our fellow oblates.
It is hoped that we those who wish may be able to join in prayer with other Oblates at midday on Friday each week. Those who wish may pray together on a daily basis if they so wish. The prayers will only take 5 minutes of our time, so it is not arduous!
If interested please contact me for further details, and/or a copy of the prayer schedule.
Best wishes,
John G McKinlay      jmgm07@yahoo.co.uk        --You can see John is very enthusiastic and you might have suggestions how he can take this farther and might want to share with him by email in the first instance and receive  the material he has garnered so far. Fr. Martin

St  Mungo’s Chapter Glasgow. As announced. Peter Aitken 11, Maxwell Grove, Glasgow. G41 5JP.  Phone: 0141 4272084. Numbers have been steadily increasing.
St Margaret’s Chapter, Dunfermline.
Contact Pat Carrigan         smcb_oblates@live.co.uk
St. Monica’s Chapter, Thurso. Contact Jane Coll. "Scaraben”, Westside, Dunnet, Thurso, Caithness, KY14 8YD. Phone 01847 851467 
ST.PETER'S CHAPTER OF OBLATES Aberdeen NEXT MEETING  February -2015-- Mr Brian Milne Tel 01224 485781 stpetersbulletin1803@talktalk.net     (Brian’s  HEALTH IS POORLY SO PLEASE CHECK)
New Chapter—St.Mirin’s Chapter. Date: 1st Saturday each month. Time 2-4 pm. Venue: Hall 2, St Mirin’s Cathedral, Cathedral Precincts, Incle Stret Paisley, PA1 1HR—secure parking there within Cathedral enclosure. Farther information: St Mirin Chapter, Benedictine Oblate Group, c/o Campbell Murdoch, Fircroft, Knockbuckle Road, Kilmacolm, PA13 4JT m: 07810 350006 ejcmurdoch@yahoo.co.uk

The Pluscarden Oblates continue to support Josaphat Christian our 22 year old Seminarian. He is currently involved in Pastoral work as part of his formation for the Archdiocese or Tororo in Eastern Uganda about 130 miles northeast of Kampala. His present parish is in the village of Magale were he had to learn the local tribal language for the Bagisu tribe. He appears to be very popular with the Parish Priest who seems to enjoy Josaphat’s culinary skills together with his ability in the music ministry.
He has recently spent a few days in Convocation for Seminarians allowing him to receive teachings and to meet other Seminarians.
Josaphat will remain in the Parish till August and with good reports, he will enter the Major Seminary in September this year.
We continue to receive communication from Josaphat and also from Sr. Catherine at the Benedictine Priory in Tororo who keeps us  fully informed.
Please keep him in your prayers.
If you are called to sponsor Josaphat in any way please contact me, Paul Costello at 4, Commercial Road, Ellon, Aberdeenshire AB41 9BD Tel:- 01358-721512 or e-mail:- paulandjocostello@btinternet.com

From Fr. Ambrose-- former Oblatemaster, now superior of KB--Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, Greetings from Kristo Buase! We have just launched a new website: www.kristobuasemonastery.org       Prayers please for the repose of the soul of our dear Father Bartholomew Banzie OSB  and for Br Anthony who is now studying for the monastic priesthood.

Reminder: the “UK Oblates Team”  who comprise oblates of different monasteries including our own(Jane Coll, lead writer for website, and John MacKinlay are members) plan biennial, inter-oblate conferences in Rome and also plan other events in the U.K (as above) and have a website www.benedictine-oblates.net that often has very useful information and articles and advertises events.
“For He says: At the favourable time, I have listened to you; on the day of salvation I came to your help. Well, now is the favourable time; this is the day of salvation” 
          Lenten Blessings!             
   Yours in Christ and SPNB                                
                        Fr. Martin      

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