Congratulations, Abbot Hugh!

hugh-allan-oct-2016It is with great joy that we are able to announce that the Rt Revd Hugh Allan o.praem, Prior of our Norbertine Priory of Our Lady of Sorrows and St Philip Benizi, Chelmsford, has been appointed the Apostolic Administrator of the Prefecture of the Falkland Islands and Ecclesiastical Superior of the Mission sui iuris of the islands of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, ad quinquennium (for a period of five years). He was appointed to this post by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation of the Evangelisation of Peoples.

In recognition of this ecclesiastical appointment, Fr Hugh has also been elevated to the title of ‘Titular Abbot of Beeleigh’ by the Abbot General of the Norbertine Order, the Most Revd Thomas Handgrätinger o.praem. Abbot Hugh Allan will continue to head our community in Chelmsford whilst carrying out his new duties. He will also continue to serve as parish priest of the parishes of Our Lady Immaculate and The Holy Name, Chelmsford.

Falklands and the South Atlantic Mission

As the Apostolic Administrator of the Falklands and Superior of the self-governing Mission to the other UK Territories in the South Atlantic, Abbot Hugh replaces Monsignor Michael McPartland SMA, who has headed both the Prefecture and Mission since August 2002. Having reached the canonical age of retirement and having suffered from ill health, Mgr McPartland recently submitted his resignation so that a successor could be appointed.

Abbot Hugh will now have responsibility for the Catholic community on the Falkland Islands and the other territories, and will continue to support Fr John Wisdom o.praem, who ministers as a priest on the Falkland Islands, and who is a member of our Norbertine community. Fr John has been in Stanley since August 2015, during which time he has built good relations with the Islanders and with the military community at RAF Mount Pleasant on East Falkland.

Titular Abbot of Beeleigh

In response to his appointment as Apostolic Administrator and Superior of the sui iuris Mission, the Abbot General of the Norbertines has granted Hugh Allan the titular title of ‘Abbot of Beeleigh’. Beeleigh Abbey, a former Norbertine house, was founded in 1172 near Harlow, Essex, and moved to Beeleigh, in Maldon, Essex, in 1180. It was suppressed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII. Geographically, it is the closest former Premonstratensian house to the Order’s current Priory in Chelmsford.

Since the Reformation, the Abbey has served as a private house, and the current owners, Christopher Folye (Folyes bookshops) and his wife Catherine, are friends of the Norbertines in Chelmsford. They have welcomed the Chelmsford community to their home and, on one such recent visit, the now Abbot Hugh celebrated Mass at the old Abbey.

Upon hearing of his appointment, Abbot Hugh said: “It is with profound trust in the loving mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ that I prepare to take up my appointment as the Apostolic Administrator of the Falkland Island and Superior of the Mission sui juris of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, in succession to the wonderful Monsignor Michael McPartland.

“The day after receiving my letter of appointment, I visited Mgr McPartland in the hospital and he gave me his blessing. He also wanted me to pass on his blessings and his love to the people of the South Atlantic. In November, I will make my first visit to the Ascension Island and then the Falkland Islands. In the New Year, I look forward to making my first visits to Tristan da Cunha and St Helena.”

Reacting to news of Abbot Hugh’s appointment, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said: “We are grateful for the generosity of the Norbertine Community in Chelmsford, and especially Fr Allan who will be supporting Fr Wisdom on the Islands and the other missions in the South Atlantic. We are also indebted to the work that Monsignor McPartland has done over the past 14 years. Mgr McPartland has been in poor health for the past few months and we wish him well as the responsibility of the South Atlantic passes over to the Norbertines.”

Responding to the news that a churchman now holds the title of Abbot of Beeleigh for the first time since 1536, Christopher and Catherine Foyle, owners of Beeleigh Abbey, said: “We are delighted with the appointment and that Fr Hugh Allan is now the titular Abbot of Beeleigh!”

We wish Abbot Hugh every blessing in his new role! Ad multos annos!

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150th Anniversary of the Consecration of the Church of Our Lady Immaculate

On Thursday 20th October, a  Mass of Thanksgiving for the 150th Anniversary of the consecration of the Church of Our Lady Immaculate, Chelmsford, was celebrated by Mgr Canon Kevin Hale, Vicar General of the Diocese of Brentwood. The sermon was preached by Fr Dominic Robinson, SJ, who is based at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street. Both churches were designed by the same architect, Joseph John Scoles. At the end of the Mass, a congratulatory letter from Bishop Alan Williams was read out by Mgr Canon Hale, and Fr Hugh gave a brief address.

The parish of Our Lady Immaculate is one of two parishes that we serve here in Chelmsford, the other being The Holy Name. Photos: Sylvia Shepherd.

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Mass of Thanksgiving

A Mass of Thanksgiving to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Consecration of the Church of Our Lady Immaculate, Chelmsford, will be celebrated by Mgr Canon Kevin Hale, Vicar General of the Diocese of Brentwood, at 7.30pm on Thursday 20th October. The sermon will be preached by Fr Dominic Robinson, SJ. Mass will be followed by refreshments in the parish hall. All welcome!


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Quarant’ Ore 2016

Below are some photos taken during this year’s Quarant’ Ore Devotion, including images of the Solemn Mass of Exposition which opened the Forty Hours as well as photos of Benediction, which brought our devotion to an end. We give thanks to Almighty God for all the many blessings He has showered upon us during this wonderful and holy time in the presence of the Lord. We also thank all the parishioners who helped make this year’s Quarant’ Ore possible, as well as all who came to adore the Lord throughout this special time of prayer.

Adoremus in aeternum Sanctissimum Sacramentum!

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Forty Hours: 5th – 8th October

Come and spend time with the Lord during our annual Forty Hours’ Devotion (Quarant’Ore), which we observe this week. All are most welcome to come to the opening Mass, spend some time before the Blessed Sacrament during Exposition and come together again for Solemn Benediction at the end of this beautiful time of prayer. The Lord is waiting for you – come to Him.40-hours-2016-1

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Norbertine Spirituality

Today, we began our new Norbertine Spirituality venture at the Priory. On the first Saturday of the month, there will be prayers and a talk, followed by some refreshments and an opportunity to socialise for half-an-hour in the Priory library.


Today, Brother Gregory spoke about the early life of St Norbert, and his thirst for the apostolic way of life. Like the life of the apostles and disciples after the Ascension of the Lord, religious life is a representation, here and now, of the society of the new Jerusalem (albeit and imperfect representation). St Norbert’s thing was that that eschatological way of life was to be open to all people, not just those inside the monastery, but by association, those who we encounter on the periphery. At Prémontré, there were not only clerics, but lay men and women that were involved, like as the Apostolic Church, with the life of the community: all of us are on the same journey towards heaven!

Please pray for our new venture. All are welcome to attend. Meetings will be held every first Saturday of the month; please contact Brother Gregory for more information (

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Friends for Lunch

On Friday 30 September, we welcomed three friends for lunch. The first were the Revd John Cox and his wife, Joyce. John has been the minister of the local URC church, Christ Church, for several years. He and Joyce have been good friends of the canonry since we moved here, and both will soon be leaving Chelmsford, as John begins his new ministry in Ohio, USA. We wish them well as they settle into their new life back in the United States.

Our other guest was Sister Jane Louise of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Sister Jane is also a good friend of our community. She is currently based in Walsingham and was recently named one of the 2016 Catholic Women of the Year. We keep her and her work at England’s National Shrine in our prayers.

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