The Abbey Fest has been being talked about for months. The community had been asked to be available all day to be present for and to the attendees. Little did I know that I would be serving as the chair of the Liturgy for the Fest. Abbot Richard asked me back in April if I could suggest some diocesan priest for confessions for the day of the Fest. After a meeting he ask me to attend a meeting with the directors of the Fest. I was named the chairman of worship and the next few months it was planning and meetings and more of the same. I knew I wasn’t a Novice any longer. I was back into the stuff I thought I had left behind when I entered the Norbertines.
The work and the details for Mass with perhaps two thousand in attendance, time for Confessions and Eucharistic Adoration and a procession. These are the things that I was charged with, timing, environment, servers, readers etc. For all of my forty years of priesthood the Liturgy has been primary for me. I have a deep love for the Liturgy. The history, the celebration and the participation of all.
God was celebrated at the Abbey Fest. God was present at the Abbey Fest. God was shared, adored and very much alive in our Liturgies on Saturday. The Sacrament of Reconciliation was celebrated from noon until early into the evening with so many hearing go in peace your sins are forgiven. The eucharistic celebration of the Holy Mass had almost forty priest concelebrating with Abbot Richard and Prior Steven. We made a joyful noise for our God with music that reached the heavens. More than 1500 folks said Amen and shared the Body and Blood of Christ. The IHM Postulant,and Novices, joined the Formation Community of Daylesford and seminarians from St. Charles Borromeo. The Abbot then invited any young person considering a vocation. There were more than sixty men and women who came forward. I can still hear the applause of the congregation in my ears. It was so very inspiring! The day concluded with Matt Maher performing and leading us into prayerful song and personal reflection on the Eucharist. The Eucharist was processed through the crowd of over 1500 holding lit candles and kneeling in adoration. There was a period of silent adoration and I looked out on the lights and it was so still you could here the crickets. There we were – us looking at Jesus and He looking at us.
The Divine Praises were sung in echo style with Matt Maher leading the prayer.
As we processed the Eucharist back into the Abbey I was so grateful for the day. It certainly am grateful to the Council Fathers of Vatican II. This was how Liturgy is to be celebrated by ALL.