Buckfast Abbey, in South Devon, has announced that it will be celebrating Holy Week this year with an initiative to host twelve men who may be considering a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. In a first for the Abbey, the 12 men – reflective of the 12 disciples – will be invited to join the Monastic Community to share their journey through the holiest of weeks in the liturgical year.

The free guided retreat will give the twelve the opportunity to live with the Monastic Community, immersing themselves in, and participating in the sacred ritual of Holy Week.

Hosted at Buckfast Abbey from the eve of Palm Sunday (9th April) through to Easter Sunday (17th April), those fortunate to join the retreat for the nine days will hear testimonials from Buckfast’s Benedictine monks and others about their faith journeys. They will also take part in group discussions and receive guided talks from retreat preacher Fr Andrew Robinson Oscott Seminary. 

Whilst staying in the Monastery guest house and eating with the Monastic Community, those on retreat will participate in daily Mass and the Office of Holy Week, and will also have access to Buckfast Abbey’s beautiful grounds and gardens for private walks and reflections.

Abbot David Charlesworth, commenting on the announcement of the Holy Week retreat, said: “As a centre of the Roman Catholic faith, helping those considering their vocation is central to our work. Holy Week is an incredibly special time, it is the greatest and holiest of weeks in the liturgical year, and a fitting time to offer a guided retreat to those discerning their vocation in life. This will allow the chosen twelve to live within our community and gain a better understanding of the Benedictine life alongside others on a similar path, giving them a quiet place to learn, contemplate and hear God speak.

“For those seeking to discern God’s will, I encourage you to move forward on your journey by joining us this Holy Week.’’

Those interested should apply to Buckfast Abbey by contacting: vocationsretreat@buckfast.org.uk, and can find out more information by visiting https://www.buckfast.org.uk/vocationsretreat.

Applications for the retreat will be treated on a first-come first-served basis, and limited to 12 individuals. The Monastery Guest House will be closed to regular retreats during this period.

Abbot David concluded: “We hope that by joining us on this guided retreat, you will be inspired and motivated to take the next step – whatever that might be – taking discernment more seriously, applying for the priesthood or adopting the religious life.”

Buckfast Abbey is conveniently located midway between Exeter and Plymouth, just off the A38. Home to a community of Benedictine monks, the Abbey is a place of peaceful contemplation and is open seven days a week to the public. For more information on Buckfast Abbey visit https://www.buckfast.org.uk