Buckfast Abbey is offering a rare opportunity for 12 men who are considering a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, to join its Holy Week Vocations Discernment Retreat.

In a first for the historic abbey, the 12 men - reflective of the 12 disciples - will be invited to live with its monastic community and share the Benedictine monks’ journey through the holiest of weeks in the liturgical year.

The free nine-day guided retreat will give the 12 participants the chance to immerse themselves and take part in the sacred ritual of Holy Week.

Those picked to join the retreat from the eve of Palm Sunday on April 9 through to Easter Sunday on April 17 will hear testimonials from the resident monks and others about their faith journeys.

They will also take part in group discussions and receive guided talks from retreat preacher, Father Andrew Robinson Oscott Seminary. 

While staying in the monastery guest house and eating with the monastic community, those on retreat will take part in daily Mass and the Office of Holy Week, and will have access to Buckfast Abbey’s beautiful grounds and gardens for private walks and reflections.

Abbot David Charlesworth said: “As a centre of the Roman Catholic faith, helping those considering their vocation is central to our work.

“Holy Week is an incredibly special time, it is the greatest and holiest of weeks in the liturgical year, and a fitting time to offer a guided retreat to those discerning their vocation in life.

“This will allow the chosen twelve to live within our community and gain a better understanding of the Benedictine life alongside others on a similar path, giving them a quiet place to learn, contemplate and hear God speak.

“For those seeking to discern God’s will, I encourage you to move forward on your journey by joining us this Holy Week.’’

For more information visit www.buckfast.org.uk/vocationsretreat or to apply email [email protected]

Applications for the retreat will be treated on a first-come first-served basis.

Abbot David added: “We hope that by joining us on this guided retreat, you will be inspired and motivated to take the next step – whatever that might be - taking discernment more seriously, applying for the priesthood or adopting the religious life.”