From September 2004 we have been running Abbotswick, the Diocesan House of Prayer for Brentwood Diocese. It was a providential gift when Bishop Thomas McMahon asked us to accept this apostolate, as it provided us with the balance needed between prayer and mission to live according to our charism.

This can be seen in our weekday timetable:

Before Prayers we have a self-service breakfast at whatever time we wish – there is no wake-up call. Silence is kept until after morning prayers.

06:30 Office of Readings
06:50 An hour’s Eucharistic Adoration (Not on Thursday’s when we take turns to cover adoration
from 11am-5pm) followed by breakfast
08:20 Morning Prayer
09:00 Mass in nearby church
10:15 Work
13:00 Lunch (Guests have lunch at 12.30hrs) On Friday’s we have a self-service lunch as it is a day
of more silence and fasting
14:30 Personal time for Rest and Study
16:00 An hour’s silent prayer (in a place of one’s choice eg prayer room, chapel, garden…)
17:00 Fiat Rosary and Evening Prayer
17:30 Work
18:45 Supper (Guests have supper at 18.30 hrs)
20:00 ‘Chill out’ time
21:15 Night Prayer followed by silence

We usually attend daily Mass in a nearby church but visiting priests will often say Mass for us. This and various apostolic activities eg youth meetings, missions, needs of guests etc mean that the timetable is flexible according to the needs of the community. We have a community meeting with life-sharing once a week and on Sundays we have faith sharing.

The House of Prayer is closed on Mondays and throughout the month of August. We use the time to rest, welcome/visit family and friends, have a community outing or do our monthly desert day. On Mondays we will then meet at 20.30hrs for adoration and night prayer. Members living further afield arrange home visits that allow for the distance and travel time needed. Apart from an annual 7 day retreat and a 10 day holiday with families, we also have a extended hermit experiences during the year.

On Sundays the schedule is as follows:

09:15 Morning Prayer followed by an hour’s Eucharistic Adoration
07:45 Mass at the Cathedral if we have residential guests
11:00 Mass at the Cathedral when we have no residential guests
13:30 (or as soon as ready) Lunch followed by Faith sharing

Evenings are free – occasionally we decide to say the Fiat Rosary and Evening Prayer together.

At Walsingham the schedule is built around our work at the shrine: opening and closing the chapels, welcoming pilgrims, leading retreats, offering spiritual accompaniment etc.

07.45 Open Shrine
08:00 Office of Readings and Morning prayer in the Chapel of Reconciliation
08:40 Breakfast
09:10 An hour’s silent prayer in a place of one’s choice
10:15 Open Welcome Hut and work with pilgrims
12:00 Mass followed by a light self-service lunch to enable someone to be always available to pilgrims in the grounds
15:00 An hour’s Eucharistic Adoration followed by work/study
18:00 Fiat Rosary and Vespers
18:45 Close Shrine
19:30 Supper followed by ‘chill out’ time and Compline
23:00 Grand Silence begins

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