The Priest’s Retreat

The next year a retreat for 400 priests was held at Hopwood Hall and two bishops were there plus Archbishops Basil Hume.   It is one of the interesting statistics that the Ampleforth community was the largest group of any religious order at one of these retreats and this has continued right into the middle 1990s.  Jesuits were prominent especially Fr. Michael Simpson.   I have little recollection of this retreat except it was the largest gathering of priests in England and Wales for many years.


1976.  In the summer of this year there was a meeting of leaders of prayer groups according to Diocese.  Some six went from Middlesbrough.  Msgr. Bickerstaffe, Molly Wilkins (wife of John Wilkins and mother of Stanbrook nun), Charles   Jenkinson,   Catherine Amos,  We formed a diocesan service committee and the question came up of a day of Renewal in the diocese.  I suggested perhaps Ampleforth and they supported the idea.   I went back to Ampleforth and asked the Abbot who gave permission.   We began to meet monthly in the Grange to prepare and on the First Sunday of January 1977, we began our first day.  There has been 11 Sundays per year ever since.