Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Abbot Mark's Christmas Message

We keep you all
in our prayers,
      wish you a
Image result for religious christmas scenes pictures
   very many
in the coming
      New Year.

Fr Mark and Community

Nunraw Abbey Newsletter            Christmas, 2017

One wonders where the year has gone.  Some people write their Newsletters going through the months of the calendar to describe what has happened during each of them.  To avoid the danger of being too tedious, this one will list what comes to mind hoping that the main events of the year won’t be omitted. 

There has been so much happening with the noise and grime of the renovating work beginning in August.  Part of this has been an act of faith on the part of the community of not seeing and yet believing because much of it has been going on behind locked doors. 

As the previous reception/tea room and shop had to be moved to allow the work to begin, we have acquired an extended hut to give one end for Br Philp and Helen Brown and the wares from the shop and the other for Fr Raymond to welcome and give a hot cup of tea to the regular trickle of visitors.

Our saddest news has been the deaths of Fr Donald’s brother, Fr Brendan (Nivard) in February and of Fr Hugh in July.  After a prolonged period of ill health, which had puzzled the doctors and specialists until they discovered after a few months that Brendan was terminally ill.  His beard had disguised how wasted his face had become.  For some reason he then shaved it off!  It was edifying to see how matter of fact and business-like he was in the way he prepared for his going to God.  Fr Hugh himself had been fading away over the past year but he tried to ‘keep going’ as best he could.  He found it difficult not to being present at the early Office of Vigils, when it was recommended that it would be better for him to have the extra time in bed. 

Fr Thomas had been helped and cared for in our new infirmary rooms.  The time came when we could not continue to give him the attention he needed.  About two months ago he was moved to the Sisters of Nazareth Care Home in the Archdiocese where he has received a new lease of life.  With their special care, his general interest in life and his health has improved.  Br Patrick has been unwell for the past few years and has had to be hospitalised for a number of weeks.  He is now in a Care Home.  We pray that will restore his health to a more satisfying level.

Next year we hope to receive a postulant to add to our reduced size.  It may sound strange to be creating new guest facilities in the abbey when numbers have been declining.  The message we have been getting over the past numbers of years our discussions is that everyone is fragile - the large as well are as the small communities.  No one, whether it be our parishes  or families.  The Christian teaching is that we are all in need of God’s help and guidance.  We have perhaps become too sure of ourselves.  We are living in uncertain times but need to make some kind of informed decisions and keep trusting in God now and in the future.  At present at Nunraw we are trying to be optimistic but not careless.  We ask you to pray with us that the new beginning we are looking for next year will produce good fruits.

With fewer rooms in the new guest area and convenient access to the Church, we are hoping to provide a more prayerful and peaceful place for our guests.  We hope that our hospitality will be no less evident than before but less noisy than it had become in more recent times.

We have been trying to get a newer website in operation before now. We  have, however, run into problems with a change of website address and other technical problems.  Once these have been sorted out and the practical details and date for receiving guests again become clearer, this will be posted on the website.

Proposed Reception area, Shop and Tearoom