above: Clergy, monastics, servers in the borrowed Franciscan church at the Mt. Alvernia Retreat Center, which was the site of the historic conference. Click the image to see more detail.
DAY ONE - Tuesday.
The conference opened with an address by Metropolitan Hilarion of the ROCOR. Vladyka asked the Western rite priests to work towards their integration into the life of the Russian Orthodox Church as a whole, and he encouraged the clergy to learn the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom as a secondary rite.
Vespers and confessions, supper, and Compline rounded out this day 1 of the conference.
DAY TWO - Wednesday.
In the early morning, there was a pontifical Mass in Latin celebrated by Bishop Jerome of Manhattan, with Gregorian chant, Anglican chant, and William Byrd's "Mass for Four Voices," all the priests concelebrating with the bishop.
After breakfast, the day consisted of presentations alternating with Hours of the divine office. Each day the activities were punctuated with the Hours; this is the way the day proceeds in a Western rite monastery. There were talks on the building up of a parish by Fr. Peter Guilianotti, on phyletism by Fr. Irenaeus Watson, on RWRV monastic life and its history and proto-history by Dom James of Christminster, and so forth. Participants were able by this time to meet each other and come to know each other a bit.
Vespers, supper, Compline. You get the drill.
DAY THREE - Thursday.
After a St. Tikhon Mass in English celebrated by Fr. John Connely of the AWRV, and breakfast, there was conference work on various liturgical and paraliturgical questions, a two-part presentation on the Roman Mass by Fr. Nicholas Alford of Washington, D.C. (AWRV), and other features. Sext. Lunch. By this time various participants were able to make good connections with the other men and women participating in the Conference. Part of these days included choir rehearsals for various services. In the evening many of us got pizzas.
Vespers, supper, Compline. There was an evening showing of the movie "The Island" ("Ostrov"), a Russian film about the repentance and salvation of an Orthodox monastic. This film was quite edifying.
DAY FOUR - Friday.
After a Gallican Liturgy celebrated by Fr. Lev Smith of Iowa (RWRV),
we had breakfast.
On this day there was another conference session to work out some details of our WR observances, and the manner in which we conduct our public outreach. Suggestions on next year's conference, which it is thought will include a Sarum Mass to be celebrated by Fr. Hieromonk Aidan (ROCOR) and a Fraternity Liturgy. After this meeting, lunch. Sext. Regretful but mandatory farewells.
above: Clergy, their families, servers, monastics at the Conference. Click the image to see more detail.
This conference was well planned and was remarkably rich and varied in its content. Next year we hope to have some practicums, and we discussed a few minor points for improvement in the execution of the conference. Fr. Abbot David hopes to be able to attend next year's conference, and celebrate the Sarum Mass together with Fr. Aidan, and it is hoped that many of the clergy who had originally planned on attending this year's conference, but in the end were not present, will be present at the 2012 Conference.
Throughout, our Franciscan hosts were kind, gracious, accommodating, and showed a hospitable and irenic spirit. We are grateful to them. And most especially we are grateful to Fr. Anthony (Bondi), RWRV, who was the foremost planner and Force of Nature behind this successful Conference.
Deo Gratias. (Thanks be to God.)
- by a Participant