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Requiem Mass in Woodchester

Sunday, November 21, 2010
On 18 November 2010, five brothers from Oxford, including the Prior, fr. John O'Connor OP, visited Woodchester, which is near Stroud in Gloucestershire. Still called Woodchester Priory, from 1853 to 1967 this was home to the novitiate of the English Dominicans, apart from a period during the wars. Many Dominican friars are buried around its church, which is dedicated to the Annunication. Among those buried there is fr. Bede Jarrett OP who founded the Oxford priory. Hence, we had returned to Woodchester to pray for our deceased brethren buried there, and also to offer Mass for all the dead of the parish.

We were warmly welcomed by the parish priest, Fr Bill Watson, and by a group of parishioners. Also present were the Stone sisters from St Rose's School in nearby Stroud. After the Requiem Mass, the Prior blessed the graves as a Litany of Dominican saints was sung, and then after some prayers, we processed to the Lady Chapel singing the Dominican 'Salve Regina'.

Afterwards, we were treated to a delicious meal in the hall of St Dominic's Primary School, looked at old photographs, and listened to stories about the Dominican novitiate. This was a very special evening indeed: we re-established a connection with our past, and prayed for our dead, but we also had the joy of meeting people whose lives had been touched by our brothers in some way, who benefited from our legacy, and who are now part of a still vibrant Catholic parish community in Woodchester.

Lawrence Lew


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