Prayer is the foundation of our monastic life and each day in the monastery is centred around times of prayer, together and in private. The backbone of our prayer is the ‘Liturgy of Hours’ – sometimes called the ‘Divine Office’ or the ‘Work of God’ – where the monks gather in the Abbey church at appointed times to chant psalms and sing hymns to God, to listen to the Scriptures and to pray for the needs of the world. This daily round of worship consecrates the course of the day and night as the community gathers in the stillness of the morning, at the setting of the sun, and at the closing of the day.
Saint Benedict reminds monks that they ought ‘to prefer nothing to the Work of God’ (RB 43) and that God is especially near during our communal times of prayer. Praying in the sight of God and the angels, monks should ensure ‘our minds are in harmony with our voices.’ (RB 19)
The high-point of our day is the community celebration of Mass, where we leave our morning’s work and gather together around God’s table at midday. Our common listening to the Word of God and receiving of the Eucharist is the source of our nourishment and unity.
Private prayer is a crucial way for monks to deepen their relationship with God. Away from our common worship in the church, monks devote significant portions of their day to prayer in silence, to meditation or to devotions. An especially important element of monastic life is ‘Lectio Divina’, the slow and prayerful reading of the Scriptures. By reading the Scriptures in this way every day, a monk listens to the voice of God and enters into a conversation which shapes his heart and moulds his life according to the will of God.
Please see the timetable below for the times of our services in the Abbey Church. Visitors are welcome at all our services or to follow online on our webcam livestream. All services except Vespers are chanted in English, with some Latin hymns and antiphons. The Eucharist is celebrated in English but most chants are sung in Latin. Please note that the timetable may change slightly on certain solemnities and feast days. The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) is usually available in the church on Saturdays between 3pm and 4pm. Please inquire at Monastery Reception for more information.