Everyone made it safely to the centre of Ireland in the icy weather for the December outing beginning at 10.00am with Mass. This was followed by an Advent recollection in which Father Ockerse reminded us of the importance of the virtue of hope. Father explained the nature of this virtue, the sins opposed to it and the means of obtaining it. This included the importance of a rule of life and duties faithfully performed with complete confidence that God will give us the means of eternal salvation. The recollection finished with Benediction and rosary. After having this opportunity to pray in silence we made our way to St. Joseph’s house where we were able to warm ourselves at Father Boyle’s cheery fire and enjoy Catherine Hogan’s delicious chilli con carne. The craic was good and we were all in energetic spirits to sing our hearts out! The choir practice was accompanied by a fiddle and flute. The programme was created and finalised with a speedy singing practice. We made our way to the nursing home and were happy to bring some of the joy of Christmas to the nursing home residents with our rendition of the popular carols. The residents sang with us and everyone appreciated Father’s explanation of the carols and their application to the spiritual life.
Returning to the priory, St. Joseph’s house soon became Stirling Hall in the 1920s. With top hats, cloche hats, cigars, pearls, dinner suits and black gloves abounding the scene was set. Beethoven’s Andante Favori sounded through the house, Doctor Macey found arsenic missing from his medical bag (but what do you expect when he was unable to securely fasten it), Walter Eaton lost his discrete demeanour, Lord Westby battled to ensure his daughters were suitably married without scandal to men of adequate station, Eudora-Evvora-Euphoria baffled us with her recount of a fallen chair and Ambrose provided some of the best gossip of the evening as well as all the wonderful food. The murder accusations came flooding in with Walter Eaton accusing himself of the atrocity. This was followed by the popular wink murder game to maintain the theme. After night prayers in the chapel we availed of the comfortable accommodation in Court Devenish.
The following day 10am sung Mass was followed by a plentiful brunch back at the priory - the breakfast theme of providing but not cooking prevailing. This was the first time many had tasted fadge (nicknamed podge by the international community). There appeared to be a varying opinion of whether this was a welcome addition to the spread. This was followed by a bowling tournament won hands down by Father Ockerse despite the elaborate preparation of those who appeared to have mistaken the bowling alley for a long jump sand pit. On return to the priory we finished our weekend with afternoon tea with hot beverages and chocolate provided by Father Boyle and an educational tour of the priory and its heritage.
Many thanks to Father Ockerse for the Advent recollection, Father Boyle for his hospitality, the cooks who did a fantastic job and all those who contributed to the weekend. See you all in Cawrk!