In early October, Abbot James, accompanied by Fr. Daniel, attended the Canonical Western-Rites Conference sponsored by ROCORand held in Wappingers Falls, New York, from 4 to 7 October. About fifty attended, from both ROCOR and the Antiochian western rites, along with several priests’ wives and children, as well as others interested in joining the canonical western rite.
After an opening address by Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR, the conference settled into its round of meetings and worship services. On the first full day of the conference Bishop Jerome, Vicar for ROCOR’s western rite, celebrated a Pontifical Mass. The music – William Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices – was sung by a small but professional choir. On subsequent days, the Liturgy of St. Tikhon and the Gallican Liturgy were celebrated. Bishop Jerome was present for the full time of the conference.
Meetings were either presentations or discussions of mutually agreed-upon topics, and were conducted in a brisk but truly fraternal spirit.
One of the sessions dealt with the issue of monastic oblates. The general consensus was that the present arrangement left much room for greater accountability and responsibility for oblates scattered throughout (mostly) North America. It was decided that in each western-rite mission or parish that opts for oblates, either the priest-in-charge or a resident oblate will be responsible for regular meetings of the local oblates and for maintaining communication with Christminster so that all oblates are regularly accounted for. With the consent of the Very Rev. Father Edward Hughes, Vicar for the Antiochian Vicariate, information on this will be emailed to each western-rite mission or parish in ROCOR and in the Antiochian Vicariate.
The hospitality of the Franciscan friars at Mount Alvernia was warm and comprehensive, from personal greetings to excellent food service, and spacious rooms, each with private bath.
All in all, the conference was deemed a real success , and there is much interest in and enthusiasm for next summer’s conference. Much credit goes to Father Anthony Bondi, monk of Christminster, for organizing the conference and ensuring its smooth operation and good spirit. We are all grateful to him for all the hard work he, with the help of others, poured into making this conference a resounding success. After the conference, in his own chapel, he was formally clothed with the Benedictine habit by Abbot James.
From the conference Dom James rode to Rhode Island with Fr. Deacon David Kinghorn and Matiushka Patricia, where he spent several weeks resolving some financial and legal issues as well as looking in on the refurbishing of our former house in Providence, which is being prepared for rental. In Rhode Island he celebrated Mass each Sunday at the Saint Cuthbert Mission in Pawtucket, assisted by Fr. Deacon David Kinghorn, and with the Kinghorns visited the local OCA parish (Dormition , in Cumberland) for Saturday Vespers. Dom James returned to Christminster on the eve of Fr. Joseph’s sixty-fifth birthday.