48 Hours with the Word in Oxford
The Catholic Chaplaincy at the University of Oxford is offering a 48-hour retreat that combines reflection on Scripture with the Jubilee Year of Mercy – and Nightfever. It will involve a time of prayer and of encountering Christ through the Lectio Divina and will include a mini-pilgrimage to a local Door of Mercy.
48 Hours with the Word is a retreat at the Chaplaincy based around the Lectio Divina, (Latin for "Divine Reading") which is a traditional Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer. By treating Scripture as the Living Word, not just texts to be studied, it aims to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God's Word. Traditionally, it has four separate steps: read, meditate, pray and contemplate. It will start on Friday 4 March after Nightfever, an evening of quiet prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament at which all – including casual passers-by – are welcomed.
Nightfever is described as “open churches with a special atmosphere of music, prayer and candlelight” and usually takes place at times when the churches are normally closed. People are free to come and leave as they want. In addition to Oxford, Nightfever also takes place at Jesuit parishes in Glasgow (St Aloysius) and London (Farm Street Church) as well as at Holy Name Church in Manchester.
Listening and praying in community
“The retreat in Oxford is aimed for those who are volunteering for Nightfever, particularly students, but anyone who wants to volunteer and stay for the retreat is absolutely welcome,” explains one of the organisers, Mary Townsend. “It is going to be run in the way developed by the Benedictine Manquehue community from Chile, with shared Lectio Divina as well as praying the office, having Mass and really spending time together as a community. On Saturday afternoon we're going to do a mini-pilgrimage walk to the Door of Mercy at the Oratory.” It will conclude with lunch on Sunday 6 March.
The Manquehue Apostolic Movement was founded in Chile in 1977 by layman, José Manuel Eguiguren, and is described as a lay Benedictine monastery whose spiritual lung is Lectio Divina. In practical terms, this means setting aside a time each day for listening to the Word: everything begins with a reading from the Gospel, with a time of listening and sharing how the Word speaks personally to each person.
Nightfever, followed by 48 Hours with the Word, is being hosted at the Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy in Rose Place. For those who wish to take part in the retreat, there will be a cost of £20 to cover food etc. To reserve a place and for more information, contact Mary Townsend: [email protected]