by Dr. James Campbell, Editor of ‘Catholic People’
In a summer when the weather has not been wonderful for outdoor events, the sun shone kindly on the crowds who attended Belmont Abbey Fete on Saturday 15 June.
The opportunity to buy a bargain, sample afternoon tea, and look round the many attractions meant that parishioners were joined by family, friends and visitors from further afield. Father Alistair Findlay was Master of Ceremonies for the afternoon as the Abbot was away in Peru for the priestly ordination of Fr Juan Edgar and Fr Percy.
Chris Moore, who organised the fete, said: “I am delighted with how things went, and the relaxed atmosphere and sunshine made it a wonderful afternoon. We are really grateful for all the volunteers who have helped with the event, and for the people who came along to enjoy themselves, and help raise money for the Abbey”.
Over £5,500 was raised, with the money going towards the Abbey Church Restoration Fund. As well as being a much loved place of worship, Belmont Abbey is an important historic building which needs constant care and maintenance.
Following the success of the fete the Abbey is to hold a series of Open Days. The first of this year’s open days will take place on Saturday 13 July. Free guided tours are available between 10am and 4.30pm, with an opportunity to learn about the history of the abbey.
Some of the historic vestments and plate will be on display in the sacristy. Visitors can look round on their own if they prefer. The monastery gardens, normally private, are also open for visitors to the abbey church, and there is the opportunity to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee in Hedley Lodge.
Future dates if you are unable to visit on 13 July are Saturday 31 August, Friday 13 and Saturday 14 September as part of the national scheme of Heritage Open Days, and finally Friday 20 and Saturday 21 September.
These final dates coincide with a weekend retreat, The Monastery in the World, St Benedict in his time, and his message for today. The retreat will be led by Dr Richard Newman and Dom Brendan Thomas. Dr Newman is an historian and Benedictine Oblate, who has written on the social and religious context in which St Benedict lived. His book St Benedict in his Time is available from Three Peaks Press. Dom Brendan Thomas is Prior and Novice Master at Belmont.