Our Family Retreat 2010 took place in a new
venue: the Oratory School
, between Reading and Oxford. This is a well established Catholic school with two chapels and all the facilities one would expect, set in beautiful countryside. We were delighted to be using a Catholic venue, and, as we had anticipated, it proved to be excellent. The Bursar and staff been very friendly and we look forward to a long association with them.
|Mass in the New Chapel|
The Retreat was the only event taking place there, so we had the dining room and other facilities to ourselves. We had not one but two Catholic chapels which we could use, and plenty of other spaces to use for different groups.
|The Marian procession on the Saturday afternoon|
|The Easter Egg Hunt|
Fr Andrew Southwell was joined for most of the Retreat by Fr Thomas Crean OP, who said Low Mass in the Dominican Rite on the Saturday morning and heard a great many confessions, while Fr Southwell gave his spiritual conferences. A good number of volunteers were able to supervise children's activities, for both older and younger groups of children, which included making banners for the Marian procession which we had through the school grounds, from one chapel to the other, and an Easter Egg hunt.
|In the Old Chapel at the end of the Marian procession|
Mass and Compline on the opening day were accompanied by a group of professional singers, who sang a Palestrina Mass and, at Compline, a polyphonic Regina Caeli
. For the rest of the Retreat the singers on the chant course sang the Mass propers and joined in the Common and with Vespers and Compline, and the Marian hymns and the Litany of Loreto we sang during the procession.
Including the singers, a total of 150 people attended the Retreat. It is by far the biggest residential event in the Traditional Catholic calendar in the UK, and an unique opportunity for families to meet each other and give each other mutual support . Please note the date for next year: 8-10th April 2011, which is the weekend of Passion Sunday (the Sunday before Palm Sunday).
|Mass in the New Chapel: Ecce Agnus Dei|
Gregorian Chant Course
|The 2010 Chant Course in progress|
The experimental chant course taken last year
by Nick Gale was such a success that it has
been adopted by the newly-formed Gregorian
Chant Network as its flagship training event.
The GCN was founded
with the support of the
Latin Mass Society, the St
Catherine's Trust and a
number of other groups to
promote Gregorian Chant.
While most training events
are one-day events, the
Family Retreat is an ideal
opportunity to have a three-day
event with Mass, Vespers,
Compline, Benediction and, this year, a procession,
laid on. While minimising
administration costs it
benefits both the singers and
those attending the Retreat,
since the singers are able to
accompany the liturgy.
The course was more than
twice the size of last year's, with 30 singers. Nick Gale
the Director of Music at Southwark Cathedral, was
again the course director, but this year he was joined by
his colleague Mark Johnson. This enabled them to divide
the singers into the more and less experienced for
The Gregorian Chant Network includes more than
twenty scholas from all over the UK; their next event
will be a one-day workshop at Portsmouth Cathedral on
12th June, to be led by Abbot Cuthbert Brogan, assisted
by Christopher Hodkinson of the Schola Gregoriana of
Cambridge. E-mail: chantnetwork at gmail.com.