The re-dedication of Pluscarden Abbey took place on November 5th 2015. The Abbey was was founded in 1230, and was presumably dedicated within a few years of then. After considerable destruction at the hands of the Wolf of Badenoch in 1390, the abbey was extensively rebuilt in the mid to late 15th century. It is expected that this would have been followed by a second Dedication.
In the region of 300 religious and guests had what was for many, a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness and partake in this historic and most solemn of all Catholic liturgical services.
The Ceremony was let by Pluscarden’s former Abbot, now Roman Catholic Bishop of Aberdeen Dom Hugh Gilbert. In attendance were Bishops Joseph Toal of Motherwell and William Nolan of Galloway, priests, deacons, representatives of other monastic communities, Religious Sisters, the Lord Lieutenant of Moray, representatives from the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Episcopal Church, including The Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, Mark Strange. The Mass began at 11.00, concluding at 13.45, although it felt so much shorter! A truly memorable occasion, rich in symbolism and ritual, with water and oil, and fire and incense, the solemn dedication of the Altar and the re-anointing of the original dedication crosses. The MC kept things moving seamlessly in his efficient understated way.
A beautiful and informative glossy booklet packed with information on the Abbey, the ceremony, the full Liturgy with texts, chants and full translations, and some wonderful photographs was provided for all. A memorable keepsake for all who attended the service, which will also be available from the shop for those unable to attend.
Following the service, a wonderful lunch was provided in a large marquee on the front lawn, giving everyone the opportunity to mingle, catch up with old friends and discover new.
In the interim, for those who stayed for Vespers, there was an opportunity for quiet prayer and contemplation. With the drawing in of the winter nights, the darkness of the abbey with only the spotlight on the new Tabernacle providing a shaft of light, a deeply atmospheric prayer space was created.