Yesterday we celebrated our patronal feast, St Gregory the Great, a break from the rigours of Lent. It was for this reason that the Roman calendar moved this feast to September when it was reformed, but at Downside we have permission to keep the older feast day, largely so that the pupils of Downside School can also celebrate the feast.

Most such feasts have a similar format: Latin Vespers, a Vigil in the evening (which replaces Matins), late Lauds and Mass and festal meal of some description with talking. It is often a more relaxed day. For the last several years we have invited the Knights and Dames of St Gregory, and the members of the Petre Society to join us for lunch in the monks’ refectory.

The Petre Society is made up of people who have pledged us a legacy in their will. This is, of course, one of the ways in which you can support Downside Abbey. There are all sorts of projects for which funding is needed. We need to install a loop system in the church, renovate the monastery kitchen and parts of our accommodation (which have had little attention, since we have given funds for Downside School), not to mention the work that could be done in the church and library. To find out more about the Petre Society, please click here. To find out about other ways of supporting us, please click here.

We are very fortunate to have so many people who support us in different ways, and be assured that you are remembered in our prayers. Yesterday was a good opportunity to say thank you to some of those people.